Pressure canning soup

austinb82(USDA 8)October 9, 2013

Hi. I just pressure canned my first soup and I had a question just to make sure I did it correctly for food safety reasons.

It was a mexican tortilla soup (but I will add the tortillas later, I know better than trying to can with them in there). It was mostly tomato based with some chicken broth, shredded chicken, black beans, corn, onions and seasonings. The broth was relatively thin so I don't think there should be any issues with the heat penetrating all the way through as there would with thicker soups.

I processed quarts at 15lbs of pressure for 90 minutes. I'm pretty sure up everything I mentioned above is correct but please let me know if I did anything unsafe.

My next question is that for the first canner load when I opened the canner the lids were already sealed and didn't pop up or down when I pressed on the lid. However, when I opened the canner for the second load the lids were not fully sealed and popped up and down when I pressed on them but they did eventually seal as they cooled. I know it is normal for a water bath canner for them to seal as they cool, is it the same for a pressure canner? I may have waited a little longer before opening it for the first batch so that may explain why they had already sealed. For the second batch, even though the lids had not sealed the contents inside were bubbling as though they were still boiling because they were still above 212 degrees. Also for that batch I noticed the water level was very low, not completely dry but very low when I opened the pressure canner, is there any food safety concerns if it had run completely out, should I reprocess those jars in the off chance that the water level did get too low?

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

For the soup, assuming you followed the half and half rule for soups - half liquids and half solids - it should be fine because it was OVER-processed. The processing time for soup is 60-75 min pints vs. quarts.

I assume you used 15 lbs because of your altitude?

Now for the lids - testing them by pushing/pressing on them isn't really a good idea. It can give you false seals, weak vacuums, and air often remains trapped in the jars. You can test them when they have cooled 12 hours later but the guidelines make it pretty clear.

Let the jars sit undisturbed while they cool, from 12 to 24 hours. Do not tighten ring bands on the lids or push down on the center of the flat metal lid until the jar is completely cooled.

Lids will seal themselves once all the air is out of the jar. Sometimes that is while they are still in the canner, Sometimes not for 10-20 mins sitting on the counter. I find that when you do the 10 min wait that is called for between removing the weight and lifting the lid mos all will have sealed. If you try to rush the removal process they may seal and release, seal and release. Try to avoid that.


Here is a link that might be useful: Canning soups instructions

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 4:52PM
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I was going to reply, but being that I'm a PCing newbie myself, I was waiting to see if someone more experienced did. I saw that NCHFP just has the one page of soup instructions, 75 minutes for quarts, but I looked in my Ball Complete book and most (all except the broth) recipes call for 90 minutes. So I'm confused - Dave, can you think of why this would be?

    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 6:38PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Sure. Other than they are different sources, which is common, and as long as the source is an approved one it is no problem.

The Ball Complete was published in 2006. The revised soup guidelines came out in 2009. Adding the 1/2 and 1/2 rule (not in the Ball book) allows for shorter processing times and so better quality for the vegetables - less mush.

That doesn't mean the Ball recipes are unsafe but they have to be processed for longer times.

The only time it is an issue is if you are making up your own recipe rather than using one of the approved ones.


    Bookmark   October 9, 2013 at 7:40PM
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Thanks for clarifying that - so is any soup (without dairy or thickeners/pasta/rice, and of course NCHFP says seafood needs 100 minutes) safe to PC for 75 minutes as long as it's half solids and half liquid?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 8:35AM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

No, that's way too broad a conclusion to jump to. There are several provisions for preparation of the ingredients that also have to be met.

Procedure: Select, wash, and prepare vegetables, meat and seafoods as described for the specific foods. Cover meat with water and cook until tender. Cool meat and remove bones. Cook vegetables. For each cup of dried beans or peas, add 3 cups of water, boil 2 minutes, remove from heat, soak 1 hour, and heat to boil; drain.

Combine solid ingredients with meat broth, tomatoes, or water to cover. Boil 5 minutes.
Caution: Do not thicken. Salt to taste, if desired. Fill jars halfway with solid mixture. Add remaining liquid, leaving 1-inch headspace.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 10:17AM
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A question about soup: What is the normal amount of loss of liquid in the jar when you pressure can soup? I pressure canned chicken soup for the first time and was thoroughly disappointed on the amount of loss of broth/stock. I must have lost anywhere from 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 inches of broth in the process. I canned 10 lbs of pressure for 90 minutes but admittedly it took a good 20 minutes before the weight started to jiggle.

I may just stick to canning stock which requires less processing time.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 11:57AM
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I was wondering since I couldn't find a soup recipe with beans (I'm assuming OP used fully rehydrated or canned beans), corn (same thing - raw might not be a problem if it was a very small amount?), tomatoes, chicken and broth and the NCHFP "recipe" seemed very broad. So what "recipe" should (s)he have followed? Meat and vegetable (so cook the corn, drain canned beans) as you posted above? Do tomatoes count as solids or liquids?

I'm also wondering what instructions I could follow to can my chili made with canned beans (I could try dried beans but I can never seem to get them to cook thoroughly) and chunks (app. 1" cubes) instead of ground meat. Would that be considered a "soup" if the stewed tomatoes and salsa that I use when I make this in a slow cooker are considered "liquids"? OF course I would cook the meat to only rare as described for soups. I realize it's more versatile to can the meat, tomatoes, salsa separately and combine upon reheating but it would be nice to have some quarts of chili for when the power goes out (which it does about once a year - sometimes winter, sometimes summer, never can tell).

I'd also like to can chicken soup but I make mine with onions and carrots - strain the onions out of the broth before canning, and just add the carrots the last 5 minutes so they don't get overcooked (I don't care about bits of onion, want the flavor in the broth but don't want cloudy onion mush in the jars)?

Sorry for the hijack - maybe it's easier just to stick to the Ball Complete recipes (process for 75 min or 90?) or just can meat and broth and add vegetables upon opening.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 12:12PM
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readinglady(z8 OR)

What is the normal amount of loss of liquid in the jar when you pressure can soup?

None. If you're losing liquid from the soup that's a siphoning issue due to overpacked jars, excessive fluctuations in PC pressure or perhaps other causes. Due to the longer processing time there's a somewhat greater likelihood of siphoning with soup if you're having difficulty maintaining a consistent temperature/pressure.

Other than that, soup should be no more prone to liquid loss than stock.

I would consider chili akin to a stew, not a soup, as it's more dense. I would not consider tomatoes (except for any juice) or salsa as liquids.

You might take a look at the Ball and NCHFP recipes to see what the proportions are and determine if slight adjustments of ingredients might put your recipe into the tested range. Dried seasonings can be adjusted however you wish.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 1:25PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Agree that chili is not soup. Chili has its own canning instructions. And I can't see how tomatoes or salsa could be considered liquid. They are a mixture of solids and liquids so the solid in them are treated as solids and any liquids they contribute to the broth are liquids.

I couldn't find a soup recipe with beans

The NCHFP instructions allow the use of beans. But I know of no canning recipe called Mexican Tortilla Soup and the OP didn't tell us what recipe he used so I assume the OP made up his own recipe. Which as I said, is fine as long as it meets all the soup canning guidelines - properly sized, rehydrated as needed, and lightly cooked vegetables mixed with cooked chicken and broth.

So what "recipe" should (s)he have followed?

Any recipe he wishes as long as it meets the canning soup guidelines. Although I don't see why anyone would used previously canned foods to make fresh soup for canning. Still that is their choice.

Sorry but I don't see what all the confusion is about. The soup guidelines are pretty straight forward in my opinion.

If you want to can chicken soup with carrots and onions then you cook the chicken until tender in water or broth, cool it, debone it, chop it and set it aside. Briefly cook the diced/sliced carrots and chopped onions in the broth with your seasonings until vegetables are well heated, add the chicken pieces back in, boil it all for 5 mins. Use a slotted spoon to fill the jars 1/2 full with solids and fill the rest of the jar with the cooking broth or with fresh hot broth if you prefer and process it.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 1:53PM
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I was saying that I couldn't find a recipe with beans, corn, etc. that OP listed as being in the Mexican soup. Of course there are bean soups.

I was wondering about 1" cubes instead of ground meat in chili recipe - same processing time as soup though chili is denser, but cubes would make it denser still so you're right it's more like stew. I use canned beans since I can never get dried beans to cook thoroughly but if they would be mush I'll try dried - would be nice to have a few quarts ready for when power goes out. Though I see the chili is only canned in pints so maybe it IS easier to just can ingredients separately since we'll be opening just as many jars.

Also, I use canned tomatoes and salsa in my chili b/c they're available in the winter and I've got the recipe down so I know seasonings are right when I add the salsa, I don't have to add chili powder, peppers, onions. It's a convenience thing, I wouldn't use canned tomatoes and canned salsa when making chili for canning, I'd use fresh but it sounds like I'm better off just canning separate ingredients and if the power goes out I'm going to have to open a couple cans of beans a can or jar of tomatoes, a jar of salsa and a jar of meat cubes anyway and mix them when I heat it up on the grill or the microwave in town hall shelter.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 4:25PM
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Oh, and I was asking if tomatoes (or salsa) were considered liquid b/c NCHFP says "Combine solid ingredients with meat broth, tomatoes, or water to cover".

As far as chicken soup, I usually slow-cook the chicken carcass with the onions and carrots so the flavor is in the broth - the onions don't have much flavor by the time the soup is ready so I would discard before canning, but we do like the carrots.

Sounds again like I'm better off making "stock" (which NCHFP says can have meat trimmings in it - I make with carcass but simmer longer than they say, all day instead of 3-4 hours) and then adding carrots when I'm reheating to boil the noodles. Is there a problem using onions, bay lead, dry seasonings to make the stock as long as the onions and bay leaf are removed before canning?

Actually my kids really like stock made with the preseasoned chickens sold in the bags in the fresh meat case - is there any problem using those for canned stock?

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 4:42PM
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Ball Complete has a chicken stock recipe with onions and seasonings, and a chicken soup recipe using that stock and carrots, etc.

Still don't know if Jim P might have added something to his seasoned roasters that might not be suitable for canning - but olive oil or anything is OK, esp. if skimming fat, right? No thickeners that I know of but I'll check the label. Probably MSG...

No Ball recipes for any kind of beef chunks with beans but they're doing a demo on chili at the end of the month, I can ask then about cubes instead of ground meat. Or can ingredients separately as I said above.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 5:21PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

All you have to do is look at the processing time for chili. Now look at the processing time for the same size jar of beef - strips cubes, or chunks. The processing times are exactly the same. So yes, clearly you can use cubes of meat in your chili if you wish.

Have no idea who or what Jim P is and have no way of knowing anything about pre-seasoned chickens sold in bags and what they may or may not contain.

As for the tomatoes. It in no way implies that they are a liquid. The statement on NCHFP about adding broth, tomatoes, water, etc. is referring to optional ingredients you may choose to add at this time. It has nothing to do with the 1/2 and 1/2 rule that the contents of the jar must be half liquid and half solids.

You would not add tomatoes until near the end of the cooking process in most recipes as they would be reduced to mush. You may choose to add additional broth at that time or you may choose to add water at that time in the cooking process too since soup by its very nature is primarily liquid, not solids.

This thread has been dragged way off course so I think if you will wait until you are actually making and canning these things rather than trying to anticipate every conceivable question in advance you'll find the process is much more clear to you. It has a way of making the steps really obvious as it is being done.


    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 5:48PM
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I don't know rules about mentioning brand names here but it's a big chicken farm on the East coast, I believe they ship nationwide, Jim took over the business from his father Frank if that helps?

Thanks for clearing that up about tomatoes - I thought it was strange that it wasn't included with the "solids" but seemed to be considered in the same class as broth and water. They're just added at the same time.

Sorry for getting OT but I was really wondering about the apparently loose guidelines when the OP brought up processing soups and I started looking at them. It will probably be a year until I do chili, chicken soup will be soon but if I have any questions with that I'll start a new thread.

Thanks Dave and austin for your patience!

    Bookmark   October 10, 2013 at 7:05PM
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