100% Local: Summer Tomato & Corn Soup

tomato-corn-soupFrom a wonderful trip to San Francisco & wine country for the happiest of reasons, my friend Melissa’s 50th birthday, to an unexpected and bittersweet trip to Boston for the saddest of reasons, August has sped by in a whirlwind of trains, planes and automobiles, good times with old friends and new, many laughs and not a few tears.

I’m well behind on the season’s preserving, but in between trips I did manage to whip up this fabulous light, summery soup, saving a big pile of CSA vegetables from the compost pile and freezing just a bit of summer’s abundance for the winter ahead. I highly recommend you do the same. If you need me, you can find me outside in the sunshine, savoring the last few days of August in New York. Happy Sunday, all.

tomato-corn-soupSummer Tomato & Corn Soup


  • 5 small (or 4 large) ears corn, shucked and rinsed
  • 3 tbsp butter
  • 1 large yellow onion, diced
  • 3 medium carrots, sliced
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed & sliced
  • 1 small patty pan squash, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 1 small 8-ball zucchini, seeds removed, thinly sliced
  • 2 ½ lbs tomatoes, diced
  • about ¼ cup packed fresh oregano leaves
  • 1 tbsp sea salt, or to taste
  • freshly ground black pepper


  1. Make corn cob stock. In a large stockpot, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Using a sharp knife, cut the kernels away from the cobs. Set aside kernels. Add corn cobs to pot: cover and bring back to the boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer while you prep the remaining ingredients. After approximately 30 – 45 minutes, taste: the stock should be light, lovely and corn-flavored. If not, let it go another 15 minutes. Strain through a fine sieve before using; store any extra stock.
  2. Sauté vegetables. In a large soup pot over medium-high heat, melt butter until foam subsides. Add onion, carrots and celery: stir to coat in butter, sprinkle in 1 teaspoon of salt, then reduce heat and sauté until softened, about 5 – 10 minutes. Add pattypan and zucchini: sauté 2 to 3 minutes until just barely soft.
  3. Simmer & serve. Add 2 quarts corn cob stock, tomatoes and another teaspoon of salt to pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer gently, covered, until flavors combine and tomatoes soften, about 10 minutes. Add corn and freshly ground black pepper, bring up to a simmer, then simmer covered for 5 minutes. Stir in oregano and remove from heat. Taste, adjust seasonings, and serve hot, warm, or chilled, as you like.

Serves 8 – 10.


  1. I used butter as the fat here because it goes so well with corn, tomatoes and summer squash. But the soup could easily be made vegan by substituting olive oil.
  2. This soup is very light, albeit packed with flavor, the vegetables very soft. I really like it this way, but for a heartier meal, you might want to add cooled brown rice, quinoa or tiny pasta.
  3. I think corn cob stock is key here, for the light & fresh flavors of the vegetables to shine through. If you opt for chicken stock, I’d try half stock:half water to keep the flavor light & fresh.


Refrigerated for up to 5 days. Frozen for 6 months.




  1. If you’d just added a bit of beef and some sliced okra, that would look just like my Southern grandmother’s vegetable soup. (And that’s high praise. I’ve tried many times, but never succeeded in replicating it.)

  2. Looks delicious! I am so happy to see the recipe uses the corn cobs for stock. A secret, delicious ingredient that most people let go to waste. Thanks so much. I look forward to making this one!

  3. Jane Steinberg

    The only thing wrong with this soup is that it leaves out scraping the cobs for the germ and all that sweet creamy stuff that you get after the kernels are cut off, when you scrape hard with the knife perpendicular to the cob.

  4. Jan

    Delicious and great. I added tiny little chicken meatballs that I browned in olive oil and added at the same time as the corn. A family member has salt restrictions so I left out the salt, but the corn broth was outstanding without it.

  5. Marge

    This is amazingly delicious. I happened to have all the ingredients (all fresh) and made it. It is light, the veggies are perfect. I did have to use dried oregano. Next time, I’ll try fresh. Usually the first time I try a recipe, it doesn’t always live up to my expectation. This one was perfect. Thanks

  6. MAM

    This was delicious–made last night from garden and local-farm findings. I just re-blogged your entry on onwardcuriosity.com. Thanks so much for sharing. I’ll be following you from now on–so great to find a locavore in a similar climate!

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