Whether it’s putting away summer produce, or a winter canning project to make your own convenience food, learning how to can vegetable soup is a skill every homestead mom needs.
But I don’t mean to exclude anybody of course. Canning isn’t exclusive to homestead moms, and you can be a hobby canner no regardless of lifestyle choices.
With that said, my story is one of homestead life. I’ve mentioned many times on this blog growing up in a small Amish community in middle Tennessee.
One of my favorite memories from that time was the summer when I was fourteen. We combined our gardening efforts with a neighbor family. I learned so much that year about gardening, cooking, and canning.
We canned so much produce that year, including a boat load of canned dill pickles, as well as pickled beets (for the first time for me!), and so much more. We even went blackberry picking together – even though blackberries were wild and not something we grew together – and make lots of blackberry jam.
But one of the best things we did together was can about 200 quarts of vegetable soup.
We did everything in a single day, starting early with picking the corn, then purple hull peas, and taking those up to the house for some of the others to start husking/shelling while we continued to pick produce – tomatoes, peas, okra, carrots, potatoes, green beans, lima beans, and more.
We used a huge variety of produce in that batch, and I remember objecting to the okra, but it turned out to be surprisingly good, and now I like to add a little okra to my own vegetable soup whenever I make it.
That soup was so good!
For a long time, I thought it might be just my bias from having worked so hard to make it – after all, it was seasoned only with salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning blend, but years later, I now realize that pressure canning soup works like nothing else to permeate flavors throughout.
Plus of course, the freshest produce possible didn’t hurt anything.
But I’m hear to tell you that using frozen produce from the store can result in soup that is just as satisfactory – I did that just last week!
Because while I may not live in an Amish community anymore, I still have those values ingrained I suppose.
Why Make Home-Canned Soup
A few weeks ago when I was frustrated with how busy Sunday mornings were, trying to get everybody out the door to church on time, and then coming home hungry and not having anything prepared to put on the table, I decided to make my own convenience food and can some vegetable soup.
Obviously, I could have planned ahead the night before church and put something in the slow cooker, or grabbed a freezer meal, or any other thing, but like I said, I guess I still have some of that Amishness left in me. And it’s nice to have food in storage that doesn’t depend on electricity to stay good.
So yes, I spent a day making vegetable soup, and yes, I opened some jars of home-canned diced tomatoes to do it, but now I have jars and jars on my shelf so we can come home after church, heat up some delicious homemade soup, and have a hot dinner within minutes of walking in the door.
The big upside of canning your own vegetable soup is that you know exactly what you’re getting. Not only do you have the convenience of opening up a jar and having dinner on the table instantly that you get form buying canned soup, but you get only the flavors and veggie types that you want – not an unknown recipe that may or may not have miscellaneous preservatives or seasonings that you care to feed your family.
How to can vegetable soup
Canning soup is pretty easy – it’s just a big batch of soup in a pressure canner – but there are a few things to know before you start:
- Cleanliness is next to godliness. No, that’s not in the bible, but it’s no less true when it comes to canning. Start with less bacteria, and you have less bacteria to worry about killing in the canning process. This also goes for keeping your jar lids and rims free from any sort of debris that might keep your jars from sealing.
- Jars should be arranged in a canner so that they do not touch. They can be very close, but they shouldn’t touch. This greatly reduces chances of jars breaking during the canning process.
- Use your vegetable preference. I have measurements in the recipe card below, but think of them as a guideline rather than a hard and fast rule. If you don’t want to use a particular vegetable, replace it with something else.
- Use your kitchen tools. If you’ll be doing a lot of chopping, get your food processor out. This will cut down your time significantly – even if you only use it to chop the onions.
- To make vegetarian vegetable soup, use vegetable stock instead of beef broth, and replace each pound of ground beef with about 3 cups of additional vegetables. This is to replace the volume so that your recipe still comes out to 7 quarts even.
- Canning vegetable soup does require a pressure canner. Technically you could waterbath can – goodness knows plenty of Amish folks still waterbath can everything – but unlike when we talked about how to can applesauce, vegetable soup is a lower acid recipe similar to home canned chili beans, and harbors more potentially harmful bacteria. The higher temperature of the pressure canner makes it much safer to consume.
- Most stores like Walmart carry general canning supplies like jars and lids, but you may need to order a pressure canner if you don’t already have one. Pressure canners can be pricey, but I have this inexpensive one, and it works very well. (long term, a higher end model is still a great investment though!
How to Can Vegetable Soup
- 8 cups diced tomatoes – or pureed if you family doesn’t care for tomato chunks
- 8 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed
- 6 cups carrots, chopped
- 1 cup lima beans
- 3 cups chopped green beans
- 2 cups corn kernels
- 1 cup chopped celery
- 1 cup green peas
- 6 cups beef broth, vegetable broth, or water
- 2 cups onions
- 3 lbs ground beef
- 3 Tablespoons Italian seasoning
- brown ground beef with onions
- Drain and pour into a large (at least 8 quart) pot
- Add remaining vegetables, beef broth, and italian seasoning
- Season with salt and pepper
- Heat over medium heat and simmer until vegetables are just tender
- Ladle hot soup into hot jars leaving 1 inch of headspace
- Wipe rim and fit with flats and lids, screwing down firmly
- Place jars in prepared, hot canner
- Lock canner lid and heat until steam begins to escape
- Vent steam for 10 minutes, then close vent
- Continue heating to 10lbs of pressure
- Process quart jars for 85 minutes, and pint jars for 55 minutes (according to Ball canning standards)
- Turn off heat and let pressure return to zero naturally before opening vent and removing jars
- That’s it!
Enjoy your home-canned vegetable soup.
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