How to Make and Store Delicious Vegetable Soup for the Long Term
Vegetable soup is one of those rare meals that can round out our nutritional needs in one sitting, depending on the ingredients used. Meals like this are an integral component of any survival stockpile, and we will all be better off by including more of them. Let’s take a look at a simple vegetable soup recipe that’s optimized for canning and long term storage.
6 cups of water
8 cups of chopped or diced tomatoes
6 cups of carrots that are cut into ½ – ¾ inch chunks
4 cups of whole corn kernels
2 cups of chopped celery
4 cups of lima beans
6 cups of diced potatoes (peeled)
2 cups of chopped onions
Salt, pepper or seasonings to taste
The first step is to prepare and heat up the pressure canner. You also want to heat the canning jars and lids. This recipe should yield about 6-7 quart canning jars. It’s important to get everything ready as this recipe moves along pretty quickly. Once everything is heating up, start peeling, rinsing and cutting up the vegetables.
Add them to a stockpot, fill with the 6 cups of water and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes. You don’t need to fully-cook the soup ahead of time, but the ingredients should be softened just enough to start the process of infusing the soup with flavor. The processing will take care of the rest, and the veggies will also soften during storage. Under-cooking them is far better than overcooking, and you will be much happier with the finished product as the veggies won’t be so mushy when consumed later on.
Add your seasonings after you reduce the heat to a simmer, and give the soup a few good stirs to make sure that everything is combined evenly. Remove from heat and immediately ladle the soup into each canning jar. Fill until an inch of headspace remains, and make sure that the water level is above the vegetables. Take the handle of a spoon, chopsticks or spatula and gently remove as many air bubbles as you can, and add more liquid or vegetables as necessary to maintain that inch of headspace.
Processing the Soup
Wipe down the rims of each jar and attach the lids and bands. Place in the pressure canner and attach the lid. Let the canner vent steam for 10 minutes before starting the processing time. Close the vents, attach the gauge if necessary and start the clock. Process at 10PSI. Quart jars should be processed for 1½ hours whereas pints should be processed for an hour. Make sure that you adjust processing times based on your altitude.
When finished, remove the canner from heat and vent it until the pressure reaches zero. Carefully remove the cover before placing the jars on the counter, lined with some towels or on a rack. Allow the jars to cool overnight until they reach room temperature before checking the seals. Label, date and store the properly-sealed jars in a dark and cool place, and make sure to rotate out supplies within a year of processing. Soup from jars that did not properly seal should be consumed right away, or refrigerated and eaten within a week.
You can never have too much vegetable soup, and this is a great way to make and store your own. Feel free to improvise on the recipe, and test different variations in order to create a delicious supply that lacks the additives and preservatives of store-bought products.