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Canning Stocks and Soups

We’re recently had a few issues raised in our children in that one is very sensitive to highly processed foods and plastic containers.  So I’m trying very hard to stay away from all that stuff.  I’m trying my hand at jarring/canning, well I have yet to do it.  Can I can chicken/beef stock/soups and sauces in the glass jars and then process them as per usual?


You can definitely can beef and chicken stocks.  Most current reference materials have recipes for canning stock.  Essentially the method is to make the stock by placing the meat bones or chicken carcases in a large enough stockpot, covering them with water and bringing to a boil. Always use fresh ingredients.  Place a cover on the pot and simmer meat bones for 3 to four hours, or chicken carcases for 30-45 minutes.  Strain and cool the broth until the fat can be easily removed (see Removing Fat from Stocks and Soups).  My favorite method is to cool the stock until the fat solidifies and can be easily lifted off with a slotted spoon.  Reheat the broth to boiling, fill sterile canning jars, leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) headspace, and process using a pressure canner, remembering to adjust processing times for altitude.

Meat removed from the bones or carcasses can be added back to the broth before boiling, but be sure to remove as much fat as possible before doing so.  Also, if you are using the meat, keep it refrigerated until you are ready to add it back.

Canning soup is a little more difficult.  Noodles or other pasta may overcook and turn to mush or dissolve completely during processing and so many sources recommend not using them.  Fresh or leftover pasta can always be added during reheating.   The same applies to rice.  Flour, cream, milk or other thickening agents should not be added to home canned soups.  

To make and can soups, make broth as for canning above, and wash, peel and cook the vegetables as you would if you were canning them.   Consult the canning recipes for the individual vegetables for instructions and cooking times. 

If dried beans or peas are used, they need to be fully rehydrated first.  This can be done using the quick soak method (see Soaking Beans).  After quick soaking, they should be returned to the boil, drained, added to the liquid ingredients and boiled for a further 5 minutes. 

To process, fill sterilized canning jars no more than half full of solids, and then cover with with the liquids, leaving a 1 inch (2.5 cm) headspace.  Process using a pressure canner, again remembering to adjust for altitude.

More tender vegetables like some varieties of peas that may not can well can be added from frozen when the soup is heated for serving.

Some recipes can be found for spaghetti and other sauces.  Since these contain both high and low acid foods, they must be treated as if they were low acid using pressure canning techniques.

A good resource for information on canning is theUSDA Complete Guide to Home Canning.  You can find an electronic copy here or order it from here.  Canning times for stocks and soups with altitude instructions can be found there.  Note that some older references on canning may not reflect newer methods and may not be safe to follow.  Always take care in canning to have clean, sterile surfaces and utensils and follow instructions carefully.

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