This month's notes: March 2014: Spring is just around the corner. Strawberries are here in Florida, Texas and California, next in late March and April for much of the South, then in May for most of the country and June in cooler northern areas. See how easy it is to make strawberry jam or strawberry-rhubarb jam! See this page for hundreds of easy canning and freezing instructions/recipes, canning equipment guide! Also make your own ice cream - see How to make ice cream and ice cream making equipment and manuals. Then see each state's crop availability calendar for more specific dates of upcoming crops. Organic farms are identified in green! See our guide to local fruit and vegetable festivals!. Please tell the farms you found them here - and ask them to update their information!!
How to Make Home-canned Soups -With Vegetable or Meat - Easily! With Step-by-step Photos, Recipe, Directions, Ingredients and Costs
Canning Homemade Vegetable Soups, Stocks and Broths - Easily!
Click here for a PDF print version (coming soon!)Making and canning your own vegetable soup or stock is also quite easy. Just scroll down this page to see how to do it, in easy steps and completely illustrated. These directions work equally well for a variety of types of soups: vegetable, dried bean or pea, meat broths, poultry broth, or seafood broth soups can all be canned. 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 soups. And if dried beans or peas are used, they must be fully rehydrated first. If you want to can stews and other soups 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
- meats and/or vegetables
- Vegetable broth, tomato juice or water
- Caution: Do not add noodles or other pasta, rice, flour, cream, milk or other thickening agents to home canned soups. And if dried beans or peas are used, they must be fully rehydrated first.
- Jar funnel ($2 at Target, other big box stores, and often grocery stores; and available online - see this page) or order it as part of the kit with the jar grabber.
- Jar grabber (to pick up the hot jars)-
Big box stores and grocery stores sometimes carry them; and it is
available online - see this page. It's a tremendously useful to
put jars in the canner and take the hot jars out (without scalding
yourself!). The kit sold below has everything you need, and at a pretty
- At least 1 large pot; I prefer 16 to 20 quart Teflon lined pots for easy cleanup.
- Large spoons and ladles
- 1 Pressure Canner (a large pressure pot with a lifting rack to sanitize the jars after filling (about $75 to $200 at mall kitchen stores and "big box" stores, but it is cheaper online; see this page for more information). For low acid foods (meats and most vegetables, you can't use an open water bath canner, it has to be a pressure canner to get the high temperatures to kill the bacteria. If you plan on canning every year, they're worth the investment.- and it helps support this web site!
- Ball jars (Grocery stores, like Publix, Kroger, Safeway carry them, as do some big box stores - about $7 per dozen 8 ounce jars including the lids and rings)
- Lids - thin, flat, round metal lids with a gum binder that seals them against the top of the jar. They may only be used once.
- Rings - metal bands that secure the lids to the jars. They may be reused many times.
- Lid lifter (has a magnet to pick the lids out of the boiling water where you sanitize them. ($2 at big box stores or it comes in the kit at left)
Directions to Can Soups
Step 1 - Collect and wash your ingredients
Select, wash, and prepare vegetables, meat and seafoods as appropriate for each type; generally just washing under running cool water.
Step 2 - Wash the jars and lids
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 unsanitized jars are used, the product should be processed for 5 more minutes. However, since this additional processing can result in a poor set (runny jam), it’s better to sanitize the jars.
Put the lids into a pan of hot, but not quite boiling water (that's what the manufacturer's recommend) for 5 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.
Step 3 - Cook meats (if you are including meat)
Cover meat with water and cook until tender.
Step 4 - Cool and remove bones, ligaments, etc. (if you are including meat)
Cool the meat and remove any bones or inedible pieces.
Step 5 - Cook the vegetables
Cook the vegetables (simmer until soft in boiling water, or steam). 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.
Step 6 - Combine
Combine the solid ingredients (meat and vegetables) with meat broth, tomato juice, tomatoes, or water to cover.
Step 7 - Get the lids warming in hot (but not boiling) water
Lids: put the lids into a pan of hot water for at least several minutes; to soften up the gummed surface and clean the lids.
Need lids, rings and replacement jars?
Get them all here, delivered direct to your home, at the best prices on the internet!
Step 8 - Boil for 5 minutes
Boil the combined mix for 5 minutes. Caution: Do not thicken with any starch, flour or other thickeners.
Salt to taste, if desired.
Step 9 - Fill the jars and put the lid and rings on
Fill jars halfway with the solid mixture (the bottom of the pan). Add remaining liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace. . Then put them into the boiling water canner!
This is where the jar tongs come in really handy!
Step 10 - Let the canner vent steam for 10 minutes
Put the heat on high and let the steam escape through the vent for 10 minutes to purge the airspace inside the canner.
Step 11 - Put the weight on and let the pressure build
After 10 minutes of venting, put the weight on and close any openings to allow the pressure to build to 11 pounds.
Step 12 - Process the jars in the pressure canner (NOT a standard water bath canner)
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 soups or soups with vegetables and meat broth 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 soup contains seafoods.|
Recommended process time for vegetable soups or soups with vegetables and meat broth 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 soup contains seafoods.|
Note: This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009 and Reviewed November 2009. The Ball Blue Book uses longer processing times, but this is the most recent recipe from the USDA National Center for Home Food Preservation, while the Ball Blue Book appears not to have been recently updated.
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.
Step 13 - Turn off the heat and let it cool down
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!
Step 14 - Remove 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.
From left to right:
You can get all of the tools in a kit here:
Home Canning Kits
* All the tools you need for hot waterbath canning - in one comprehensive set!
* Complete with 21 1/2 qt. enameled waterbath canner and "Ball Blue Book" of canning.
* Also includes canning rack, funnel, jar lifter, jar wrencher, bubble freer, tongs and lid lifter.
* A Kitchen Krafts exclusive collection.
This is the same type of standard canner that my grandmother used to
make everything from applesauce to jams and jellies to tomato and
spaghetti sauce. This complete kit includes everything you need and
lasts for years: the canner, jar rack, jar grabber tongs, lid lifting
wand, a plastic funnel, labels, bubble freer, and the bible of canning,
the Ball Blue Book. It's much cheaper than buying the items separately.
You'll never need anything else except jars & lids (and the jars are
reusable)! There is also s simple kit with just the canner and rack, and
a pressure canner, if your want to do vegetables (other than tomatoes).
To see more canners, of
different styles, makes and prices, click here!
Average Customer Review:
Preserving for Dummies
The Ball Blue Book of Preserving
This is THE book on canning! My grandmother used this book when I was a child. It tells you in simple instructions how to can almost anything; complete with recipes for jam, jellies, pickles, sauces, canning vegetables, meats, etc. If it can be canned, this book likely tells you how! Click on the link below for more information and / or to buy (no obligation to buy)
Summary - Typical Cost of Making Homemade Jam - makes 8 jars, 8 oz each**
|Item||Quantity||Cost in 2006||Source||Subtotal|
|Berries (strawberries)||1 gallon||$8.00/gallon||Pick your own||$8.00|
|Canning jars (8 oz size), includes lids and rings||18 jars||$7.00/dozen||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$10.00|
|Sugar||4 cups||$2.00||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$2.00|
|Pectin (low sugar, dry)||1 and a third boxes *||$2.00 per box||Grocery stores, like Public, Kroger, Safeway and sometimes, Big Lots, local hardware stores and big box stores||$2.70|
or about $1.25 per jar
* pectin use varies - blackberry jam needs very little, raspberry a
little more, strawberry the most. |
** - This assumes you already have the pots, pans, ladles, and reusable equipment. Note that you can reuse the jars and reduce the cost further; just buy new lids (the rings are reusable, but the flat lids are not)!
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FAQs - Answers to Common Questions
As my jars are cooling after i take them out of the canner, they sometimes make a popping or hissing noise. Is this normal and safe?
Yes, the lids are designed to flex and that's actually a key selling point. You can tell if a jar hasn't sealed properly (after it has cooled completely) if the lid flexes and makes a popping sound when you press the center of the lid with your finger. The popping sounds while it is cooling is the lid being sucked down by the vacuum that is forming inside the jar - which a normal part of the sealing process. Hissing sounds are usually just escaping steam or hot water evaporating on hot surfaces, also normal!
- Why should cooked jelly be made in small batches?
If a larger quantity of juice is used, it will be necessary to boil it longer thus causing loss of flavor, darkening of jelly, and toughening of jelly. It really doesn't work. Trust me; I've tried many times!
- Can I use
frozen berries instead of fresh?
Yep! Raspberries can be particularly hard to find fresh and are expensive! Frozen berries work just fine, and measure the same. Just be sure to get the loose, frozen whole fruit; not those that have been mushed up or frozen in a sugar syrup!
- Should jelly be boiled slowly or
It should be boiled rapidly since long, slow boiling destroys the pectin in the fruit juice.
What do I do if there's mold on my jam, jelly or preserves?
Discard jams and jellies with mold on them. The mold could be producing a mycotoxin (poisonous substance that can make you sick). USDA and microbiologists recommend against scooping out the mold and using the remaining jam or jelly. See this page from the US Food Safety and Inspection Service for more information. (and this page for a pdf version)
did my jellied fruit product ferment, and what do I do?
Jellied fruit products may ferment because of yeast growth. This can occur if the product is improperly processed and sealed, or if the sugar content is low. Fermented fruit products have a disagreeable taste. Discard them.
- What happens if my jam
or jelly doesn't gel?
Remaking cooked runny jam or jelly instructions can be found on this page
- What is the best way to deseed berries for jam? I heard a few different
ways. A food mill, a ricer, and cheese cloth.
For large seeds (blackberries, apples, and larger) I find a Foley Food Mill works best - it's certainly faster and easier than the other methods. Raspberry and smaller seeds are a real pain. They get stuck in (and clog) or pass through a food mill. The Villaware mill has a smaller screen that works great for them! See this page for more information about both strainers. Cheesecloth and jelly strainers are messy, take forever and you lose most of the pulp. For these, I find a metal sieve or colander (with small enough holes) and a spatula to help mush them and push the pulp through, is best. Also, heating the mushed up berries almost to boiling really helps to separate the seeds and pulp.
- Click here to see our complete list of frequently asked questions on this page!
[General picking tips and a guide to each fruit and vegetable] [How much do I need to pick? (Yields - how much raw makes how much cooked or frozen)] [Selecting the right varieties to pick] [All about apple varieties - which to pick and why!] [Picking tips for Vegetables] [ Strawberry picking tips] [ Blueberries picking tips]
Illustrated Canning, Freezing, Jam Instructions and Recipes
[ All About Home Canning, Freezing and Making Jams, Pickles, Sauces, etc. ] [FAQs - Answers to common questions and problems] [Recommended books about home canning, jam making, drying and preserving!] [Free canning publications to download and print]