January 31, 2021

Vegetable soup ala the Ball Book

Vegetable soup is a staple in the country pantry. In my grandmother's house, leftover veggies were never discarded. Dropped into the massive chest freezer in the "old kitchen" and forgotten, yes. But tossed out - never. Every fall Mam would dig all the leftover bits of vegetables out of the freezer and make a huge vat of vegetable soup to can. I can't speak for other family members, but I always thought it was pretty cool to come from work and open my mailbox to find a quart of home-canned soup waiting for me. 

I've made a lot of vegetable soup in my life but I've always frozen it. Until recently, I didn't own a pressure canner. Having worked outside the home since I was sixteen, I needed to take the quick route to get food into the pantry and that's freezing it. My time is spent differently now and my priorities have settled more on a home-based lifestyle. 

The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and Canning is an invaluable resource. I do wish I'd gotten the spiral-bound version, though. I'm not in the affiliate program so don't be afraid to click the link to Amazon and check it out. It has recipes and canning times for a lot of foods. If one is going to can, one should READ the book and learn. 

Yesterday was the day I decided to make vegetable soup. I used the Ball Book recipe as my guide, but I did add a few extras. I had a beef shoulder that I cooked in the Instant Pot and shredded to add to the soup. I also dumped in a twelve-ounce can of V8 juice to pump up the flavor. Same with the four cubes of beef bouillon I tossed into the mix. The soup was a great way to use up quite a few little baggies of leftover veggies. 

The soup made and into the jars, the canning process took a couple of hours. The canner has to come up to pressure in a particular order, then process at the correct pressure for ninety minutes (for this soup), and then bleed off pressure slowly. I ended up with seven quarts of soup, which is what my canner holds for one processing. I used one wide-mouth jar with a Tattler lid and six regular jars with the standard Ball lids. All six of the Ball lids have sealed and I'll find out about the Tattler lid after twenty-four hours are up and I can remove the ring. The was no siphoning from any of the jars so I'm pretty sure the Tattler sealed, too. 

It was a good day's work. I had time to take Deuce on a walk while the soup simmered. I also finished the powdered spinach and tossed a load of laundry in the washer, not to mention composing three blogs. Yes, there is always something to do here at the manor, and I love it. 

The Lady of Holly Tree Manor

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