Some foods are better suited to home canning than others. Soups and prepared meals are especially difficult to preserve safely, and there are several restrictions on the ingredients that can be used. Forbidden ingredients include noodles, rice, flour and other thickeners, milk and cream. To can a cauliflower soup, for example, it could only be thickened by the pureed cauliflower. To make cream of cauliflower, the cream and thickener would have to be added after the jars of soup are opened and reheated.
Things You'll Need
- Canning jars
- Canning funnel
- Canning jar lids, new and unused
- Ring bands for canning jar lids
- Pressure canner
- Canning tongs (optional)
Inspect the canning jars carefully, ensuring that none of the jars have nicks, cracks or abrasions that will prevent them from making a good seal. Clean and sanitize the jars, lids and all utensils before beginning.
Prepare the cauliflower soup. If your recipe calls for dairy products or starch-based thickeners, omit them, as they would make the soup unsafe for canning.
Ladle the hot soup into your sterile jars, leaving about one inch of space at the top. If your soup is not pureed, divide the cauliflower evenly between the jars and pour the broth over top, to ensure that each jar contains the same ratio of solids to liquid. This will be important when you reheat and finish the soup.
Place the lids on your canning jars, and screw the threaded ring bands over them. Do not tighten the rings, they only need to keep the lids from moving during the canning process. Air must be able to escape from the jars, or the canning process will not work.
Prepare your pressure canner according to the manufacturer's instructions, checking the gasket for signs of wear and ensuring that any vents are clear of obstructions and food debris. Run three inches of water into the bottom of the canner, and insert the rack.
Heat the canner to a near-boil, then fill the rack with your jars of cauliflower soup. Fasten the lid securely, with the petcock open or the weight removed from the valve, depending which type of canner you have. Bring to a boil, and let the steam vent freely for 10 minutes.
Close the petcock or place the rocker, according to which type of canner you own. Pressurize the canner until it reaches the correct pressure, usually three to 10 minutes. Process pints of cauliflower soup for one hour at 10 psi, if you live at sea level. Quarts require 75 minutes. If you live more than 1000 feet above sea level, increase the canning pressure to 15 psi. Begin timing once the canner has arrived at the correct pressure.
Turn off the heat, once the processing time is completed. Move the canner to a heatproof surface to cool for up to an hour, until it has depressurized. Open the lid, observing the manufacturer's safety recommendations. Remove the jars, using canning tongs if you have them.
Inspect the jars after 12 hours of cooling time, to ensure they have made a good seal. The lids should be visibly concave, and should make a ringing sound when struck with a spoon rather than a dull thud. If a jar is properly sealed, the lid will not push down and spring back when you press it with a finger. If any jars have not sealed properly, refrigerate them and use them up within a few days.
Store your soup in a cool, dark place where it will not be subjected to direct heat, or significant fluctuations in temperature. Once opened and reheated, the soup may be finished with cream, milk or starch thickeners as desired.
Tips & Warnings
- The same process can be followed for any other vegetable soup.
- Pressure canners can cause significant injury if the manufacturer's safety instructions are not followed. If you have lost the manual that came with your canner, instructions can usually be found on the Internet or by contacting the manufacturer. General instructions for using pressure canners are available from the National Center for Home Food Preservation and various university extensions, and are included in the USDA's canning guide.
- Photo Credit Eising/Photodisc/Getty Images
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