Vegetable soup. I like to think of this one as a fun way to ensure my family is eating enough veggies, however, there is one main reason I like to have this vegetable soup on hand. In Michigan, typically from October through December we experience the majority of our cold and flu bugs which stem from the changing of the seasons. Until it gets cold enough and stays cold enough, bacteria and germs run rampant. Even though I pride myself on eating healthy, we are not impervious to all germs. I even wound up catching a nasty bug this season – and I am one of those that’ll tell ya, I don’t get sick often, but when I do, I get really sick!
Between kids being in school all day and my husband and I interacting with the public, we are bound to pick up something. When we do, we head straight for our home-canned soup supplies. After this season’s battle, we need to restock our vegetable and chicken soup. Although I do not have any pictures to share, I wanted everyone to have my recipe on hand. It is not only delicious, but healthy. And, if your health is fine but you’d just like to ensure your family is eating enough veggies, this makes a great meal when served with homemade bread right from the oven!
8 cups tomatoes, peeled, cored and chopped
6 cups potatoes, peeled and cubed (if you stored frozen from your garden you may use those)
6 cups carrots, sliced thick – about ½” to 1” round chunks
4 cups Lima beans, cooked ( I pre-soak dried Lima beans then boil for 5 minutes and drain before adding them to the soup)
4 cups corn kernels, fresh or frozen – I use whichever I have on hand
2 cups green beans, frozen – be sure they are cut into bite size pieces and not whole
2 cups celery, sliced thick – about ½” to 1” chunks
2 cups onions, chopped
1 cup green beans, cut to bite size pieces – either fresh or frozen
2 Tbsp parsley, dried – if you want to use fresh, use 4 Tbsp finely chopped
2 Tbsp garlic, minced
1 bay leaf – use only during the cooking process, remove before canning the soup!
6 ½ cups of water
Add salt and pepper to taste – salt is optional especially if you are on a low sodium diet
In a large stainless steel stock pot combine all of the ingredients – less the salt and pepper – and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Lower heat and gently boil for 15 minutes – being sure to stir the soup from time to time. Do not scorch the soup! After 10 minutes have passed, taste your soup and add salt and pepper “to taste”. IF you would rather not add salt and pepper until you are serving your soup as a meal, feel free to hold off adding these two seasonings. IF you are on a low sodium diet – skip the salt altogether.
Stop boiling after 15 minutes and remove the bay leaf. Have hot, clean jars on the ready!
Now – depending on how many you are feeding will depend on how you would like to can this soup. If you want pint-sized jars on hand for a one person meal or to have handy for sickness, this recipe makes approximately 15 pints. If you would rather have quarts on hand, this makes about 8 quarts. If you would like a mixture, feel free to do so, just be sure to note there is a drastic difference in processing time so you will have to process like-sized jars together.
Fill your hot jars using a 1” head space. Remove any air bubbles prior to wiping rims and placing your lid and rings. Hand tighten your rings until fingertip tight.
Following the rules of your particular pressure canner, pressure can your like-sized jars at 10 pounds of pressure. Pints process for 55 minutes while Quarts process for 85 minutes.
The Canning Diva
Image credit: Marco Mayer