Sunday, May 9, 2010

Greens Under Pressure

I jumped into the canning season in kind of an odd way.  I pressure canned soup.  Not usually what one might be inspired to do in May when the local herbs, radishes and asparagus are just starting to roll in.  But it's cold!  And the mustard greens at the co-op looked AMAZING.

This is just my Mustard Green Soup with red lentils and lots of ginger added.  I simmered the heck out of the soup until the lentils were falling apart and then added the mustard greens and turned off the heat.  When pressure canning soup, you usually have to can quart jars for 75 minutes or so.  That means it gets quite a bit of extra cooking in the canner, so I only the cook the greens minimally beforehand.

In case you've never canned soup before, please know that the ONLY safe way to do this is with a pressure canner (not a pressure cooker).  Because soups are not usually acidic enough to prevent the growth of clostridium botulinum, the only way to kill any stray spores (that might kill you once they grow) is to zap them with 240 degree temperatures.  And since water (and soup) normally boil at about 180 degrees, you have to put them under high pressure to get the temperature up to 240.  And you should follow a recipe from a trusted source or at least find one similar in ingredients and texture to the soup you want to can.  Got it?

I'm a huge fan of home-canned soups, despite the pain in the ass that they can be to can.  Because when I'm sick or tired or sick and tired, all I want is homemade soup.  I save these jars for a day when I really can't make soup for myself and then I'm so thankful I spent a hour and 15 minutes watching the pressure canner to make sure it never dropped below 10 pounds of pressure.

Plus, I have a stash of this soup in the fridge for lunch- Hooray!


Catherine said...

Someday I will learn how to work a pressure canner. :) Color me jealous!

Stephanie said...

love it! I pressure canned some ham and bean soup this winter. It was a great gift for my Grandma. She loves ham and bean soup, but can never seem to eat the huge pot she makes. A quart jar was just the right amount for her.

Homemade convience food, think about how easy it would be to have a couple of cans in a desk at work to eat up in the microwave.