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Canning: Yummy Vegetable Soup

As promised, I’m delivering to you, my recipe for Vegetable Soup. Its Soup-er yummy and really easy to make. Following the recipe, I’m also going to show you, step by step, how to can it safely.

 Ingredients:

5 1/2 Quarts cold water

28oz can diced tomatoes

2 medium chopped onions

4 tbsp beef bullion

2 tbsp Season All

3 tbsp worcestershire sauce

1 tsp celery salt

1 heaping tsp garlic powder

1 bunch sliced carrots

1/2 bunch diced celery

green beans (probably about 4-6 cups, I just buy a whole bunch and throw them all in)

3 ears corn taken off the cob (you can also use canned or frozen)

2 large diced potatoes

Of course, all of these ingredients are subject to taste and preference. Other types of beans and vegetables would also be a welcome addition to this soup. Short ribs are also tasty and can either be added prior to canning or when you’re ready to eat it. The great thing about vegetable soup is that, as long as you have a good base and some seasoning, whatever else you can think of to toss in there depending on what your family likes will probably turn out just as wonderful as anything else. I personally just love this recipe, so it’s what I go with every time. This particular recipe makes 12 pints of soup with about 1 quart of additional leftover liquid that I dump through a strainer and use as a nice hearty vegetable stock. You can always halve or quarter the recipe for a regular meal if you don’t feel like canning it.

As for the directions to cooking it, I first chop and dice up all my veggies and throw them in the pot. Next I put the water in, followed by all the spices and other ingredients and give it a good stir. Finally, I cover it and let it simmer for about an hour and a half, stirring occasionally.

Voila!! You have soup! You can now either enjoy it, or proceed on to the next steps and can it.

If you’re going to can your soup, you’re going to need some basic items including, but not limited to, canning jars, lids and rims, grabbers, a funnel and since vegetables are a low acid food, you’ll need a pressure canner. Water bath canning is not a safe method of processing for this recipe.

Once you have your soup in the jars, be sure to wipe the rims with a clean damp cloth in order to ensure a proper seal. Any food or gunk left on the rim could lead to a failure of the seal and you would either have to use a new lid and reprocess the jar within 24 hours, eat it (though I fail to see a problem with that option) or stick it in the fridge where it should keep nicely for up to a week. You will also want to heat your lids and rims until you see those little pre-boiling bubbles forming in the water (until it’s nice and hot) but not actually to the point of simmering or boiling.

Jars that are processed using pressure canning methods do not need to be pre-sterilized, though it never hurts. If I’m doing a large batch of things or multiple cannings in one day, I’ll run just my jars through the dishwasher and hit the sanitize setting rather than doing them a few at a time in boiling water. This step is key for the water bath canning method, but since pressure canning processes the jars at higher temperatures, it’s not necessary.

To process the jars, place them in your pressure canner making sure the wire or metal rack is at the bottom to keep the jars from directly coming in contact with the bottom of the canner. Jars that are in contact with the bottom of the canner are more likely to break. Moving on, as all canners are different, you will want to follow the processing instructions of your particular canner however, for this recipe, in my Presto 23 Quart pressure canner, I processed my jars at 10 pounds for 1 hour and 15 minutes for pints and 1 hour and 30 minutes for quarts.

When finished, ALWAYS allow the canner to depressurize in its own time. Never open it before the gage has returned to 0 AND the steam valve has come back down. Otherwise, you risk leaking, failure to seal and jars cracking. It’s my own personal opinion that canned goods never taste good with a side of glass shards! Make sure to place your jars on a towel on the counter, give them some space in between so they’re not clanking against each other and keep them out of cold drafts.

That’s really all there is to it. While you’re waiting (and I suggest keeping an diligent eye on your canner until you’re familiar with it’s M.O.) grab a chair and a book, maybe your laptop, or do as I did this time, play the endless game of un-sticking the suction cup Nerf bullets from the ceiling that your four year-old is shooting up there while laughing hysterically. Ceiling fans beware…you could also be in for a game of Nerf gun ceiling fan baseball. Oh joy!

Enjoy your canning and remember almost any soup recipe can be multiplied to save for later. A few good tips that you’ll want to remember though:

– Dairy products are not recommended for safe home processing no matter what the method as they do not reliably heat evenly to the recommended temperatures. Fats and oils can interfere with even heating and botulism is just never fun! I learned that the hard way the first time I was all excited about canning a chicken corn chowder. I ended up freezing what I had room for and giving the rest away. All I would had to have done was to leave the milk and butter out, and add them when I went to reheat and eat it. Big time bummer!

– Thickening agents (flour, cornstarch, etc.) as well as noodles should be left out until you are ready to make and eat the soup for best results. They get very mushy otherwise.

– Spices only get stronger when you process something, so when in doubt, err on the side of lightly seasoning whatever it is that you’re making. You can always add more later.

– The above times and pounds of pressure for canning are specific to this recipe, only because I know from experience what works best to safely preserve this combination of foods. A good rule of thumb when making your own recipe for canning, if you’re not making a canning specific recipe, is to look up the ingredients processing times individually. When you find the ingredient that takes the longest time and highest pressure to process, use that as a guide to process safely. Remember the old saying, a chain is only as strong as its weakest link? In a roundabout way, the same things applies here.

 

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