Saturday, August 31, 2013

Canning Homemade Bean Soup

September begins tomorrow...and September around here is when canning reaches it's zenith. Everything is ripening at once it seems, and with the days getting noticeably shorter, the urge to put food up for the winter kicks into high gear. I've been canning the obvious food: fruits, vegetables, tomatoes, and pickles. But this morning I decided to can a load of white bean soup. We were raised on this soup, and in our house we called it Senate Bean Soup. You can get fancy with the ingredients, but here's what I do--and the recipe that follows will be the canning version--enough to make 7 quarts with enough left over for lunch for two or three people.

First, though, I'll share two photos of the tasty results:

And here's the recipe:

Senate Bean Soup

8 cups dry white beans, small white (Navy) or Great Northern
lots of fresh water
1 large onion, chopped
1 lb. ham, chunked (today I used a 1-lb. canned ham, but I usually use leftovers from ham dinners)
2-3 tsp. salt
1 tsp. pepper
1 1/2 tsp. parsley
1 tsp. summer savory

First off, you want to rinse your beans to remove any dirt or other debris; while you're rinsing, look for anything that's not a bean, such a small stones, and throw those out.

Place the beans in a very large pot and add cold water to cover the beans by 2 inches. Bring the mixture to a boil and boil for 2 minutes. Remove the pot from the heat source, cover the pot, and let it sit for 1 hour. Drain. Again, add water to the beans to cover by 2 inches. Add the remaining ingredients and bring the soup to a boil. Turn the heat down so it simmers, cover the pot, and cook for 1 hour, stirring occasionally. Add water if necessary; you want the liquid to cover the beans so you have enough broth when you can them. Note that the beans won't be quite done, but they'll finish cooking during the canning process.

I go to the trouble to count how many chunks of ham I put into the pot so I have an idea of how many chunks go in each jar. I also go to the effort of dividing my beans equally between the jars also. I like to have plenty of broth, so I usually ladle in enough beans to leave about 3 inches of headspace, with the broth filling up the top.

Hot pack only: Pack the hot bean soup into your sterilized, hot quart jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. Process quarts for 90 minutes at 10 psi, adjusting the psi as necessary for your altitude.

If you don't have an up-to-date canning book, consider purchasing my canning cookbook, The Amish Canning Cookbook.

Also, check back on Tuesday because I'm going to be giving away five of these canning cookbooks as well as two homemade aprons that are perfect for canning!


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