Sunday, July 26, 2015

Convenience food

I did up a batch of bean and veggie soup yesterday, with a couple of smoked ham hocks simmered in the chicken broth for flavor.

Canned bean soup

The broth was 8 cups of homemade, frozen chicken stock that needed to be used up since it was almost a year old, plus 8 cups of water.  This had the added benefit of freeing up some space in my freezer!

The great northern white beans were soaked for a couple hours, drained, then simmered with the ham hocks and three bay leaves for half an hour. The goal was to at least partially rehydrate the beans so the jars would keep some free liquid.  I chopped up the small amount of meat off the ham hocks and divided it between the jars, along with the beans and some raw carrots, celery, onion (home grown!), parsley (home grown!), and garlic. 

The soup was pressure canned for 90 minutes, as required for beans and meat in quart jars.  In the future, I think I might can the veggies separately, since processing them that long took away some color and it's likely that they're quite soft.  I'll decide after we try this batch.

Emma and I like soup a lot, especially when it's chilly out, but we don't like commercially canned soup- it's just too salty for us.  Making soup from dehydrated ingredients is good, but does take a little time, especially if we want meat in it.  I'm hoping that having this on hand will be an easy way to have a quick and healthy soup dinner when we're tired and hungry after work/school/swim practice this fall.  Just open a jar, dump it in a pot, heat, and serve.

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