I love soups of all kinds. They are a one pot meal. Fewer dishes, for one thing – gotta love that. Soups can stretch your food budget. A little meat goes a long way. And you can use leftovers in delicious combinations. If you start soup early and let it simmer slowly it will make your house smell wonderful!
Crock pot soups are the best. No last minute rush to get dinner on the table. Soup is a great excuse to make my homemade bread. I’m such a bread person!
Prepare ahead of time by canning your own homemade soup. It is easy to do, but there are a few safety tips to remember. Soup always needs to be pressure canned. Remember, any vegetable or meat will be a low acid food and all low acid foods must be processed in a pressure canner for safety. Do not add noodles, rice, flour, cream or any milk or any thickeners. All these can be added when you heat the soup to serve it. If you are using beans or peas they must be cooked prior to canning.
Directions for canning soup are pretty simple:
1. Cook any meats and vegetables. If you are using dried beans in your soup, cook them before canning. Cover the beans with water by a couple of inches. Bring to a boil and simmer for 2 minutes. Remove from the heat and let soak for at least 1 hour and drain.
2. Combine all soup ingredients and add whatever broth you may be using (chicken broth, beef broth, canned tomatoes or water). Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes. Remember, no thickeners, pasta or rice. These can be added later when you serve the soup.
3. Fill your jars, leaving a 1 inch head space. The best way to do this is to fill each jar about halfway full with the solid ingredients. Then add your liquid to fill the jar. This method allows you more control over how much solid soup ingredients make it into each jar. You won’t end up with some jars being mostly broth and others having too many solid ingredients. In addition, you want to be sure to have enough liquid in your jars so that the heat will penetrate fully. So don’t overstuff the jars with solid ingredients.
4. Place your lids on the jars and follow pressure canning instructions. Process pints 60 minutes, quarts 75 minutes. Be sure to adjust your pressure according to your altitude. If your soup has seafood in it, you will need process either pints or quarts for 100 minutes!
Canned Soups are a great quick meal, healthy and convenient. See this page at SimplyCanning.com for more detailed instructions on pressure canning.
Editor’s Note: This post first published in January 2011.