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Click here for a PDF print version (coming soon!)Making and canning your own vegetable stock is easy; even vegan, organic, gluten-free and fat-free, salt-free and sugar free! This is about as healthy as a vegetable stock can be, and certainly all natural. Just scroll down this page to see how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. The only special equipment you need is a pressure canner and canning jars with new lids. Caution: Do not add noodles or other pasta, rice, flour, cream, milk or other thickening agents to home canned stocks. And if dried beans or peas are used, they must be fully rehydrated first. If you want to can stews and other stocks that contain chunks of meat, rather than just the broth, see this page. Also see this page for how to can tomato soup or tomato-basil soup
Select, wash, and prepare vegetables as appropriate for each type; generally just washing under running cool water, peeling, cutting off stems, bruises, leafy tops, roots, etc. Anything you wouldn't ordinarily eat. Chop into 1/2 inch (1 cm) sized pieces.
Now's a good time to get the jars ready, so you won't be rushed later. The dishwasher is fine for the jars; especially if it has a "sanitize" cycle, the water bath processing will sanitize them as well as the contents! If you don't have a dishwasher with a sanitize cycle, you can wash the containers in hot, soapy water and rinse, then sanitize the jars by boiling them 10 minutes, and keep the jars in hot water until they are used.
NOTE: If a canning recipe calls for 10 minutes or more of process time in the canner (as this one does), then the jars do not need to be "sanitized" before filling them. But really, sanitizing them first is just good hygiene and common sense! See this page for more detail about cleaning and sanitizing jars and lids.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 10 minutes, and use the magnetic "lid lifter wand" to pull them out. Leave the jars in the dishwasher on "heated dry" until you are ready to use them. Keeping them hot will prevent the jars from breaking when you fill them with the hot jam.
Cover the pot and cook the all of the vegetables and the water (or broth or
tomato juice) by simmering until soft. Simmering means to heat, but below
boiling, around 180 F for about 2 hours.
Note: If you are adding any dried legumes, 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; before adding to the mix above)
After 2 hours of simmering, uncover the pot, and leaving the lid off, simmer for 2 more hours.
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Put the heat on high and let the steam escape through the vent for 10 minutes to purge the airspace inside the canner.
Stocks are generally run through a sieve (a Foley food mill works great) to produce a uniform consistency, but this not absolutely necessary.
Fill jars halfway with the solid mixture (the bottom of the pan). Add remaining liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace. . Then put the filled jars into the canner!
This is where the jar tongs come in really handy!
After 10 minutes of venting, put the weight on and close any openings to allow the pressure to build to 11 pounds.
Once the gauge hits 10 pounds, start your timer going - for the time in the charts below, generally 60 or 75 minutes. Adjust the heat, as needed, to maintain 10 - 14 pounds of pressure, again, as appropriate for your type of canner
Note: the charts below will help you determine the right processing time and pressure, if you have a different type of canner, or are above sea level.
Adjust lids and process following the recommendations below according to the method of pressure canner you have.
Recommended process time for vegetable stocks or stocks with vegetables in a weighted-gauge pressure canner
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 1,000 ft||Above 1,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||60* min||10 lb||15 lb|
|* Caution: Process 100 minutes if stock contains seafoods.|
Recommended process time for vegetable stocks or stocks with vegetables in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 2,000 ft||2,001 - 4,000 ft||4,001 - 6,000 ft||6,001 - 8,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||60* min||11 lb||12 lb||13 lb||14 lb|
|* Caution: Process 100 minutes if stock contains seafoods.|
Note: The Ball Blue Book calls for 35 minutes of processing, but more recent guidance from NCHFP calls for the times above.
It is important to learn how to operate your pressure canner by reading the owner's manual that came with your particular canner. If you cannot find your owner's manual, you can obtain find one online: Here is where to find some common manufacturer's manuals:
or by contacting the company that made your canner. Give the model number to the manufacturer, and they will send you the right manual. Click here for more information about pressure canners and a variety of models you can order.
When the processing time from the chart above is up, turn off the heat, and allow the pressure canner to cool and the pressure to drop to zero before opening the canner. Let the jars cool without being jostled. After the pressure drops to zero (usually, you can tell but the "click" sound of the safety release vents opening, as well as but the gauge. Let the pressure in the canner drop to zero by itself. This may take 45 minutes in a 16-quart canner filled with jars and almost an hour in a 22-quart canner. If the vent is opened before the pressure drops to zero OR if the cooling is rushed by running cold water over the canner, liquid will be lost from the jars. Too rapid cooling causes loss of liquid in the jars!
Lift the jars out of the water and let them cool on a wooden cutting board or a towel, without touching or bumping them in a draft-free place (usually takes overnight), here they won't be bumped. You can then remove the rings if you like, but if you leave them on, at least loosen them quite a bit, so they don't rust in place due to trapped moisture. Once the jars are cool, you can check that they are sealed verifying that the lid has been sucked down. Just press in the center, gently, with your finger. If it pops up and down (often making a popping sound), it is not sealed. If you put the jar in the refrigerator right away, you can still use it. Some people replace the lid and reprocess the jar, then that's a bit iffy. If you heat the contents back up, re-jar them (with a new lid) and the full time in the canner, it's usually ok. You're done!
Once cooled, they're ready to store. I find they last up to 12 months. But after about 6 to 8 months, they get darker in color and start to get runny. They still are safe to eat, but the flavor and texture aren't as good. So eat them in the first 6 months after you prepare them!
This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 1994.
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