This soup is best if using vegetables fresh from the garden. If fresh vegetables are not available, use canned or frozen. Most people eat this soup with cornbread, but my favorite way to eat "red" soup is with cold biscuits. Brings back many childhood memories.
Fill large saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add whole unpeeled tomatoes and boil approximately 2 minutes. Place tomatoes in large sink full of cold water. Let cool in sink. When cooled, remove skin from tomatoes and place in saucepan with onions and water.
Boil until onions are tender; about 20 minutes. Add salt and pepper.
Brown ground beef. Drain and rinse with water. Add to the tomato mixture.
Add remaining ingredients. Simmer on low for about one hour. Stir occasionally to keep from sticking.
To make vegetable soup mix, follow all steps above except the ground beef. When cool, place into containers or bags and freeze. When you get ready to serve, brown the ground beef and drain (rinse). Add the soup mix and simmer until potatoes are tender.