Canning (Tomato Based Vegetable Soup)
At this point in the summer, the garden is producing quite a bit more than we can eat fresh, so we are starting to preserve for the winter. One of the ways Denise and I like to use our tomatoes and some of our other vegetables is to make a tomato based vegetable soup, and can it. If you would like to see how we make the vegetable soup, refer back to the article titled, “Recipe (Tomato Based Vegetable Soup)”.
Canning is not my favorite method of preservation. It is energy and labor intensive. I much prefer freezing and dehydration. However we invariably break out the water bath canner a couple of times a season. One thing to know about canning, is if you are using a water bath canner for soup, it must be tomato based, and you must add lemon juice to your soup, preferably at least a ¼ cup per pot. This gives you enough acidity to ward off botulism. If you are canning a water based soup, it would be better to freeze or use a pressure canner.
Canning equipment (Ball makes a nice water bath canning set that has everything you need)
A large canning pot with top
Canning Jars (Make sure there are no nicks on the tops of the jars)
Tattler lids and rings
Apparatus to lift jars in and out of hot water
Funnel to put soup in jars
1. Wash your jars in the dishwasher, or boil them. Boil your lids, ring, funnel, and bands in a pot for 30 seconds. It is really important that everything is really clean, as botulism is pretty scary. Granted there are only about 25 cases per year in the US related to home canning. However, you can die from it, so please be impeccably clean.
2. You should already have prepared your tomato based vegetable soup and fully cooked it. Make sure that you also added at least a ¼ cup of lemon juice to your large pot of soup.
3. Use your funnel to add your soup to the jars. Leave 1 inch of headspace at the top of the jars to allow for sufficient vacuum. Wipe off the top of the jars with a clean towel or paper towel, so there will be nothing to interfere with the lid sealing.
4. Bring your canning pot to a rolling boil. It helps to keep the lid on.
5. Put your jars submerged completely into the canning pot. The pot will stop boiling. When it starts to boil again, keep your jars boiling for 40 minutes.
6. Lift out your jars carefully. If you are using ball lids, then you will NOT be able to press in the lid and make that popping sound, if it sealed properly. They can then be stored safely in your pantry. If you can press the center of the lid in, then it is best to refrigerate this jar and use within the next few days, as it will not store safely. If you are using tattler lids, it is not as cut and dry. They tell you to wait for the jars to cool, then remove the metal band and determine by feel if the lids are secure. They can be stored without the metal bands on.