Self-Sufficiency Series

Monday, March 19, 2012

Canning split pea soup

Since canning has been on my brain lately, I decided to make and can a batch of split pea soup, a particular favorite of Older Daughter.

I started with two pounds of split peas and four quarts water, which is as much as my Crockpot will hold. If it held more, I'd have made more.


Older Daughter is something of a purist when it comes to split pea soup. She doesn't care for any other veggies in it, such as onions (which make her gag) or carrots. So, I just added some spices -- onion powder (which doesn't make her gag, go figure), garlic powder, cumin, salt, and pepper.


The recipe called for ham, but we didn't have any. We did have some bacon though, so I cut that up...


...fried it...


...and added that to the soup. It doesn't stay crispy, but it tastes good.


I let the soup simmer all day and we had some for dinner, then I put the crockpot in the refrigerator overnight because it was too late to can it.

The next day I re-heated the soup to boiling.


Meanwhile I washed some jars. I wasn't quite certain how many I'd need, so I washed sixteen, which turned out to be way too many.


Filling the jars.


I like to leave about an inch of headroom in each jar.


I ended up with nine pints.


Scalding my Tattler lids and gaskets.


By the way, a note on rings: discard them when they get too rusty. I just threw out the ring on the right. When a ring gets rusty like this, for some reason it doesn't do as well keeping the lids in place while canning.


A pressure canner needs about two or three inches of water in it to create steam. Never can in a dry canner -- you'll ruin it.


I got all nine pints on one layer.


Once the lid is on, I heat the canner until the water inside is boiling and begins to produce steam. The canner must vent for about ten minutes -- and this means the steam is screaming out for ten minutes. (Bad photo, sorry.)


After that I flip the petcock closed and let the pressure start to build. It takes my canner about 15 minutes to build to twelve pounds of pressure, which is the pressure I need for our elevation. I need to keep a close eye on the gauge during this time so I don't overshoot and build the pressure too high.


Only when it reaches this pressure do I start timing the processing time. Because the soup has meat in it, and because it's in pint jars, it needs to be canned for 75 minutes. And here, in my humble opinion, is the secret to successful pressure canning: kitchen timers. I keep one set for the full processing time (left), and one I keep clipped to my collar to beep in five-minute intervals, to remind me to check the pressure.


After the soup was processed, I pulled them out of the canner and put them on a towel to cool. I let them cool overnight before removing the rings to make sure they sealed.


The "morning after" aftermath of an evening spent canning -- canning stuff all over.


The building of a nice pantry-ful of home-canned goodies is by doing this kind of thing once a week or so -- adding a few more jars here and there.

37 comments:

  1. Hi Patrice, I was just wondering if you could use a brillo pad or steel wool to remove the rust from your ring? I've never tried it, but it might save you a few bucks. Blessings,
    Paul

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    1. Actually, I wash my rings after every use with a green scratch pad, otherwise they get a sticky build-up. It doesn't remove the rust, however. But rings are cheap, and they multiply in the dead of night when you're not looking. I have hundreds of the durn things.

      - Patrice

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  2. Hi Patrice! I'm sure you didn't mean to say that you removed the LIDS to see if they'd sealed; did you mean that you removed the rings after you had checked the seals?

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    1. ROFLOL -- yikes, glad you caught that Melody! I've corrected it.

      - Patrice

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  3. I laughed out loud when I read that your daughter gagged eating onions! Me too when I was her age. I was often still sitting at the table with my food in front of me late unto the evening as we were not allowed to waste food and had to eat what was put in front of us. I like them now but sure didn't then.

    New Farmer
    Southeast Missouri

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  4. Patrice, I canned split pea soup last week for the first time ( split pea soup that is )I had a50% failure to seal rate using the Tattler lids, 100 % seal with the metal lids.. I left 1 inch of head room on all the jars... I am preplexed as why the jars did not seal... any ideas or suggestions ?

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    1. You'd have to contact the Tattler people to be certain, but let me run something by you. The Tattler directions call for finger-tightening the rings, then loosening them by 1/4". I've learned both through trial and error, as well as consulting with the Tattler folks, that the reason they recommend loosening the rings by 1/4" is because some people tighten the rings too much to begin with.

      Apparently some canners are in the habit of really CRANKING the rings SO TIGHT that they practically need a wrench to get them off. Tattler lids need to vent during processing, hence the directions to loosen the rings. But if your rings are not that tight to begin with, you can skip the instructions to back them down by 1/4".

      So I stopped backing off the rings and just tighten them a bit more than finger-snug, and my success rate is much much higher. Just a thought.

      - Patrice

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    2. Thank you Patrice, That very may well be the problem. I will try that the next time I make the split pea soup.

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  5. Hello Patrice, I have been reading your blog for a few months and enjoy it very much. This is the first time I have commented I believe. I love split pea soup but no one else in my family does, I will have to give canning it a try!

    I also have a daughter who gags at onions, but onion powder is fine:)

    I have a question for you, have you ever canned butternut squash? I tried canning some chunks last fall because I didn't really have a proper place to store them as is. They are ok, but seem to have a bit of a "burned" taste, not the wonderful sweet fresh flavor. Have you ever had that happen? I canned in plain water. I am thinking maybe a bit of sugar in it would have helped.

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    1. I've never grown or canned squash, but here is my understanding of how it's done: cube the squash, put the cubes in a pot of boiling water for about two minutes, then pack your jars. Add the cookwater to the jars (I suppose you could use fresh water too). Pressure can at 12 lbs (adjusted for your elevation) for 55 minutes (for pints) or 90 minutes (for quarts). You might try adding a bit of sugar to one or two of the jars to see if it helps (and compare it to the jars without sugar); oddly enough, a half-teaspoon of salt may help enhance the flavor without making it salty.

      Good luck, let us know what happens.

      - Patrice

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    2. Oh, I forgot to add... don't EVER puree the squash -- pureed squash is too dense and cannot be safely home-canned. But canning it in chunks is fine.

      - Patrice

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    3. Thanks Patrice, that is the way I canned the squash chunks. I usually don't add salt to my jars of veggies, but maybe that would make the difference. I haven't missed it in other things and like to keep a low salt diet. Just wasn't happy with the taste of the squash.

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  6. I don't know if you can use this in your e-books but I bought a pressure cooker thinking It was a canner. I know better now:<

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    1. LOL -- yes, I warn about that very thing.

      - Patrice

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  7. You have inspired me to be brave and finally use my pressure canner. I'm going to attempt black beans. I figure they are cheap so if I mess up, its won't be a huge lose. This is my first year attempting some serious canning. Hoping to have a nice closet full of yummy foods by fall.

    PS - My hubby doesn't eat onion either, its a texture thing, he likes the flavor but not the actual onion. I use onion powder and he is fine with it.

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    1. Dried beans should be soaked and softened in advance, then canned for the same length of time as meat: 75 minutes for pints, 90 minutes for quarts. Just carefully follow the manufacturer's directions for your particular canner and you'll do fine!

      - Patrice

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    2. Thanks for the tips. :-) I've used it as a hot water bath canner, I just have to put the little gadgets on it for the pressure canning part.

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  8. split pea soup is so good..think i will make some too. i dont like onions in my pea soup either but i do like carrots in it.

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  9. Pressure canning. Boy. It scares the daylights out of me. I gotta get over that.

    Funny thing about onions...hubby and I love them so much, we almost eat them like apples. A favorite joke around our house is that I put onions on everything except ice cream.

    Then one day, I accidentally had some ice cream right after a heavily-"onioned" salad. The two tastes in my mouth, the ice cream on top of the onion, was actually delightful!

    Sorry if I grossed out all the fresh onion haters....

    Just Me

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  10. I have never soaked dried pinto beans before canning. What is the purpose, since you are basically cooking them and softening them anyways?

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  11. LOL -- I don't know if there's a "purpose" -- I've just never canned them any other way.

    - Patrice

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    1. I've always heard that soaking dry, hard beans reduces their "gas producing" properties. Not sure if there is any science to that, or that it would even be an issue with split peas. It does significantly reduce active cooking time though. Anyway, you got me curious - here's a link I found on the subject...

      http://missvickie.com/howto/beans/howtosoak.html

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  12. Here's today's canning effort, by my wife, that you may like with the recipe. Hope you like it as me and the dawgs think its delish. http://gardenforyourlife.blogspot.com/2012/03/loris-bbq-chicken-or-meatballs.html

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  13. I know this post is old but I looked it up as I'm in the mood for some split pea soup. I can guesstimate the spices, but just to check against yours what amounts do you use for the onion powder, garlic powder, cumin, salt, pepper and bacon? We're sort of big on all those spices in our house so I tend to use a lot. Your pics looked so good, I decided to try your version.

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  14. I honestly never measure the spices -- I just add to taste. Sorry to be so vague!

    - Patrice

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  15. Patrice, I love your blog. Actually found it looking for information on canning refried beans. lol Yesterday, I canned 16 pts of split pea soup (I added onions, celery & carrots plus some homemade chicken stock) and today I canned 19 half pts of "refried" beans. I just added the spices, left the beans whole and used a bit of cooking water. They look delicious and I will just mash them before using them. I probably would have used pint jars but they are all full.

    Thank you for all this great information and the comments made on each post. Teri

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  16. My wife and I canned split-pea soup in a pressure cooker yesterday. Some of it was fresh and some of it had been in our freezer for a couple of months. We mixed it together. We were very careful to follow the directions closely. We cooked it at 15 pounds pressure for 90 min. When we took it out, we could see a black ring on the soup inside the canned jars. The lids were sealed. When we opened one the next day, there was black mold at the top of every jar. Has anyone had this happen to them or does anyone have an idea what we did wrong?

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    1. Might have been the mixture of old/new split pea soups. Did you sterilize the lids and jars?

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  17. I see you used bacon, which obviously creates oil aka grease. (And I feel like I can see a layer of the grease on the top of the finished soup?)

    What is your opinion on using a small amount of oil in canning? Such as to cook the veggies in before adding to the soup? I have read conflicting opinions. Thanks!

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    1. A small amount of oil in canning (such as sautéing vegetables) is absolutely fine. In this case, I coked the bacon and drained the fat before adding it to the soup, and the soup-to-bacon ratio is pretty high so it was fine.

      Excellent question!

      - Patrice

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  18. Am I the only person who uses cabbage in their split pea soup? How will having cabbage in it change the canning? Thanks!

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  19. I love canning my own split pea soup! The only problem I seem to be having, is I have a slightly greenish tint to the water in the canner after the process is complete. I ALWAYS leave an inch of headspace, but this seems to bubble up. What's going on? That tells me that my seals.....have a film even though sealed. What do you think?

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    1. The greenish water is the perfectly normal result of "venting" during the canning process. As long as you've processed the soup correctly (as in, correct pressure and time) and as long as the jars have sealed, your canned soup is perfectly fine.

      - Patrice

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  20. Hi Patrice! I just found your site and I'm loving it! I've been wanting to can my own split pea soup for awhile. I usually use barley in my soup, but I've read conflicting reports on whether barley is okay to can. Do you have experience or thoughts on this? Thanks so much!

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  21. Hi Patrice! I just found your site and I'm loving it! I've been wanting to can my own split pea soup for awhile. I usually use barley in my soup, but I've read conflicting reports on whether barley is okay to can. Do you have experience or thoughts on this? Thanks so much!

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    1. I didn't find any reference to canning barley in my beloved "Puttying Food By" book, which by itself is an indicator that it probably isn't wise. Then I found a reference on this website:

      http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/379508/pressure-canning-help-please/10#post_4595685

      Here's what they wrote:
      _______________

      It seems that the majority says you can't pressure can barley.

      It isn't that you can't pressure can it. The guideline is that you can't add it to anything home canned regardless of processing type.

      Thickeners such as rice, flour, barley, pasta, cornstarch, etc. can't be used because they change the density of the product and so make it more difficult for the heat to penetrate. Cooler pockets are created where bacteria can remain untouched by the heat and the soup (or whatever) is at risk. If you alter the density the processing time is no longer valid.

      (But, I use a vegetable soup recipe that has been used by my family with great success for 50 years.)

      Answer-- Yes, many have old family recipes, but that doesn't make them safe. Some can be modified to meet current safety standards, some cannot. It is your choice to do so of course as long as you recognize the risks. But you need to know that it isn't generally accepted nor recommended to others.
      ______________

      The rule of thumb with canning an untested recipe is to can the food in accordance with the ingredient requiring the longest processing time. However there are also foods which are not safe to can in a home canner (commercial canneries are different). Based on the above information, I would conclude that it is NOT safe to can soup with barley. My recommendation is to make the soup and add the barley separately just before eating.

      - Patrice

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