Canning is a technique that's used to preserve food items for a long period of time, so that they can be consumed at a later date without any significant loss of nutrients. This technique can safely be used at home to maintain food products in an edible condition without costing too much. The cost of canning food at home is far less than buying commercial canned products. Canning gives you and your family the opportunity to enjoy favorite soups at any time without spending time in cooking. Canned soups also come to the rescue when you are in a hurry and need to quickly sip in an appetizer.
Soups spoil over a period of time because of high level of moisture content in them. Moisture triggers growth of microorganisms, enzyme activity, and reactions with atmospheric oxygen making the food perishable. Canning prevents the growth of bacteria, molds and yeast, enzyme activity due to the destruction of enzymes, removes oxygen, and creates a vacuum seal in the jar so that the contents do not come in contact with atmospheric oxygen and microorganisms. For all those who wonder how soups can be canned at home using a pressure canner, given below is the step by step procedure to accomplish this moderately challenging task.
Instructions to Can Soup at Home
- Glass jars with lids
- Pressure canner
- Soup ingredients
- Wax pencil
Steps to Follow
- Select a soup recipe and collect the required ingredients like vegetables, meat, seafood, herbs, seasoning, etc. The key to healthy canned food is the use of fresh, good quality ingredients. Wash and cut the vegetables, meat, or seafood properly and set them aside.
- Do not include ingredients that cause thickening like rice, noodles, pasta, flour, milk, starch, or cream in the canned soup. If you wish to add beans, rehydrate them with sufficient water to prevent them from soaking the liquid in the soup.
- Cook the meat and vegetables in water, in separate containers till they are nice and tender. Collect the broth obtained by cooking meat.
- Combine the vegetables and meat with the broth and boil for five minutes. Add seasoning and herbs as mentioned in the recipe to finish with the soup.
- Wash glass jars that will be required to store the soup and place them in boiling water for 10 minutes. You can keep jar lids in a small container of boiling water or simply place them along with the jars. After 10 minutes, remove the jars and lids from water and set them aside.
- Fill the jars with soup, leaving about 1 inch space on the top. Fill half the jar with solid contents and the remaining portion with the liquid content. Seal the jars properly using lids.
- Prepare the pressure canner by rinsing it with water and place it on the stove. Fill it to a depth of 4 inches with water. Set the stove on low heat without placing the lid on top so that water becomes hot.
- Now close the pressure canner with the lid and put the stove on high flame to generate steam, and allow it to escape through the vent for ten minutes. Close the vent by putting on the weight and let the pressure rise to 11 pounds.
- If you are using a dial-gauge pressure canner and jars measuring in quarts, set the pressure at 11 pounds, if your house is within 2000 feet above the sea level. For every 2000 feet rise in altitude, add one pound of pressure to the initial level. For a weighted-gauge pressure canner, set the pressure at 10 pounds for the first 1000 feet above the sea level and fifteen pounds above 1000 feet.
- Place soup-filled jars in the canner and leave them undisturbed for 75 minutes. After 75 minutes, turn off the flame and let the canner cool on its own. The pressure in the canner will gradually decrease. Wait till the pressure drops to zero.
- Open the lid and remove the jars from the pressure canner and place them on a wooden surface. Let them cool completely before storing them in the refrigerator.
- To keep a check on the canned soup shelf life, you can write the date of canning on the jar lid using a wax pencil so that you know when it is too old to be consumed.