Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Home Canned Vegetable Soup

I set a "provident living" goal for myself every year. It is something I started doing quite a few years ago. One year, I decided I was going to figure out powdered milk. Another year, my focus was on 100% whole wheat bread making. And another year, it was cooking and using dry beans. You get the picture. This year my goal is to overcome my fear of pressure canning. My mom never did it so I haven't had a chance to build up confidence in doing it. I have canned thousands upon thousands of quarts of fruits and tomatoes in a water bath canner, but until this year, I had never pressure canned. I started out easy and did green beans - 5 batches of them! After completing those successfully, my confidence is growing and I decided to tackle vegetable beef soup.

I started reading and searching for recipes. There are quite a few recipes floating around on the internet, but many of them suggested a different amount of time for cooking them under pressure. It was hard for me to be confident that the recipes came from a trusted source and had been tested in a lab kitchen. (Something about killing my family off with my experiment did not appeal to me.) I decided to seek guidance from the Extension Office. Here is what I learned.

NDSU Extension Service
Ask Extension
for answers to commonly asked questions.

Canning Mixed Vegetables and Soup

Date: April 1989 (Reviewed June 1996)Source: NDSU Extension Service Nutrition Specialist
You can use a mixture of vegetables, dried beans or peas, meat, poultry or seafood for soups. The blend depends on family tastes.
Select, wash, and prepare vegetables, meat and seafoods as appropriate for the specific foods. Cover meat with water and cook until tender. Cool meat and remove bones. Cook vegetables. For each cup of dried beans or peas, add 3 cups of water, boil 2 minutes, remove from heat, soak 1 hour, and heat to boil. Drain and combine with meat broth, tomatoes, or water to cover. Boil 5 minutes. Add other vegetables and heat to boiling. Caution: DO NOT THICKEN BEFORE CANNING. Salt to taste, if desired. Fill jars halfway with solid mixture. Add remaining liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace. Adjust lids and process in a pressure canner.
Process soups in a dial gauge pressure canner at 11 to 13 pounds pressure or at 10 or 15 pounds pressure in a weighted gauge canner. Process hot packed pints for 60 minutes and quarts for 75 minutes. If the soup contains seafood, process for 100 minutes. Correct pressure is determind by the altitude.
There are two classes of soups: (1) Those made with stock and (2) Those made without stock such as the vegetable mixture.
The basis for stock can be beef, lamb, veal, fish, poultry or game; either separately or in combination.
When you make soups, use the bony part of the meat. Trim off all extra fat, add water and simmer. Soup stock should never come to a full rolling boil. Skim off any extra fat, or coagulated albumen (al-BYOO-mun), as it rises to the surface of the liquid. If you add salt, put it in after you remove the bones. When soup is almost done, you may add different vegetables and spice to improve flavor.
If you have further questions, contact your county office of the NDSU Extension Service for additional information on canning soups.

After all my reading, I determined that the exact kind or amount of vegetables didn't really matter. You just fill half the jar with the combination of vegetables and meat that you choose and then fill the jar with liquid (broth or seasoned tomato juice.)

I decided to use this Roasted Tomato Garlic Soup recipe for my broth. You can bottle it up all by itself if you'd like. I could tell after I made a batch of it, that my family would love it as the base for a vegetable soup.

Roasted Tomato Garlic Soup
Recipe By :Katie
12 tomatoes -- *see Note
2 carrots -- cut in 1" pieces
1 large onion -- quartered
2 whole heads garlic -- peeled (or more, to taste)
olive oil
2 cups chicken broth -- (or 3)
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil -- (or 1 Tbsp. dried)
Core tomatoes and cut in half. Place, cut side up, on foil covered cookie sheet with carrots, onion and garlic. Brush with olive oil. Bake at 400F for about an hour, or until veggies are roasted and a little blackened. Place in a large saucepan with the chicken broth and basil and simmer for about 10 minutes. Blend with a stick blender (or in small batches in a blender) until almost smooth. To can: Process in a pressure canner, pints for 60 min. and quarts for 70 min.For dial gauge canners use 11 pounds pressure at 0-2000 ft., 12 lbs. at 2001-4000 ft., 13 lbs. at 4001-6000 ft. and 14 lbs. above 6000 ft. For weighted gauge canners use 10 lbs. pressure at 0-1000 ft., and 15 lbs. over 1000 ft.
*Note: These measurements are approximate...I use whatever it takes to cover the cookie sheet. This makes 1 1/2 to 2 quarts of soup. Cream may be added to taste when the soup is served.

I added some celery to my baking sheets before roasting. I made 3 batches.

Here is my pan after roasting.

I pureed everything up in my food processor. 

Here are my jars 1/2 full of my veggie mix. I used carrots, celery, zucchini, cabbage, green beans, and onions. I also cooked up some beef stew meat to add to the mix. I filled them to the top with the tomato soup broth and then processed for 1 1/2 hours at 12 pounds of pressure. I had to do it for 1 1/2 hours since I added the meat. If I had only used vegetables then the 75 minutes would have been sufficient.

I now have 21 quarts of delicious vegetable soup just ready to heat and eat for a quick dinner. We'll go through a couple of quarts at a meal so it gives me about 10 meals. Not too bad for a days work. Most everything came right from our garden also so it was very inexpensive to make - the cost of some celery and a few carrots - not too bad at all.

If you are someone that really feels a need to follow a recipe, you'll find one here that follows the current guidelines.

9/5/2013 Note: After eating this through the winter, we have learned that we love it when I heat 2 quarts of soup and stir in 6 oz of tomato paste. It adds a little more rich tomato flavor and makes it the perfect consistency for our family's tastes. Hope you enjoy it as well!


  1. That soup sounds amazing Tammy! Do you think the tomato soup would freeze well? I don't have a pressure canner or canning supplies so I was thinking if I froze a few batches of the tomato base then I'd just have to add the veggies and meat for a sort of quick meal for my family. I love that it is packed full of veggies! Elisa

  2. The tomato soup would freeze just fine. You could also freeze the finished soup if you'd like to make an even faster meal.

  3. If I'm freezing this, should I cook the vegetables to slightly tender and then freeze or add raw veggies to the tomato mixture? Could I do it either way?

  4. I would cook the vegetables until slightly tender knowing they will finish cooking in the reheating process. I would also not use potatoes because they do not hold up well in the freezer. Going with a mix of carrots, peas, green beans, cabbage, and/or corn would make a good soup. You could precook a few potatoes and add them to the thawed soup if you want potatoes in the mix.

  5. Thanks! Roasting the veggies now...yum so excited :)