Delicious Ham and Bean Soup Recipe for Your Stockpile
Ham and bean soup is hearty, nutritious and perfect for warming the belly during those long, winter nights. Preparing a delicious batch for long-term storage involves following a few basic steps and using some common ingredients. This is a great way to give your stockpile some variety while putting some of the items that you have on hand to good use as well.
2½ lbs of dried beans of your choice
2 cups of fresh ham, cubed
2 cups of water
2 quarts of ham or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon of diced garlic
1 chopped onion
1 tablespoon of lemon juice
Salt to taste
The first step is to sort, rinse and soak the beans overnight or for at least 8 hours. Expect to use about 10 cups of water for this particular recipe. Strain the soften beans through a colander and rinse with fresh water before placing them in a large stockpot. Add in the stock and water, making sure the beans are covered, and simmer with the lid on the pot for about 2 ½ hours. You can always add in a little more stock or water to taste if too much evaporates or you want a thinner finished product.
Next, add in the ham, tomatoes, garlic, onion and lemon juice, and stir until the ingredients are evenly mixed. Cover and simmer for an additional 30-45 minutes. Add in the salt once the simmering is complete.
The next step is use a slotted spoon and ladle the solid ingredients into preheated and sanitized canning jars. Use a regular ladle or small cup to add the stock, and fill each jar until the ingredients are completely covered and 1 inch of headspace remains. Give the jars a good jiggle in order to remove any excess air bubbles, and add more stock as necessary. Wipe down the rims with a damp cloth or towel before attaching and tightening the lid assemblies.
Processing and Storing
Place the jars into a preheated pressure canner and attach the lid. Let the canner vent for 10 minutes before plugging the valves, attaching the gauge and starting the processing time. Expect to process quart jars for 1½ hours and pints for about 1 hour and 15 minutes, but make sure to adjust for altitude.
Once finished, remove the canner from heat and allow it to depressurize completely before removing the lid.
Take the jars and place them on a towel-lined surface or rack and allow to cool overnight. Check the integrity of the seals, along with any other defects, and set these aside. Label and date the jars that you will store and consume the soup from any of the defective jars. You can store the soup for at least a few days in a refrigerator, or you can eat it on the same day without refrigeration. The shelf life for properly-sealed jars can be up to a year, but try to eat the product sooner in order to enjoy maximizing freshness while minimizing waste.
Try this out for yourself, and feel free to improvise with different seasonings to your liking. This is a great soup to add to your stockpile, and it’s also the perfect choice when you’re looking for something hearty and filling during the long winter season.