Monday, September 8, 2008

Canning Meals for the Pantry

Autumn is nearly here so the season of homemade soups and stews is fast approaching. Each year, I make large batches of soups & stews, then can the extra up into quart and pint sized jars for stocking the pantry. Nearly any soup or stew is able to be canned. The only ingredients that you don't want to include are: rice, pasta, dairy and eggs. Rice and pasta will be overcooked and mushy after they have been pressure canned in the soups. Dairy and eggs are tricky. Some people home can using them without any problem, but the research has shown that including dairy & eggs in your home canning puts you at risk for food spoilage and the health issues that comes with it.

When canning a soup or stew, I fully cook the meal. Placing the hot soup/stew into hot jars will help in insuring a good seal. I also prefer canning this way as I know that the meat is thoroughly cooked and less likely to spoil. Some of the soups & stews that I home can are:

Vegetable soup
Chicken vegetable soup (add the noodles or rice later when cooking for a meal)
Bean & Lentil
Potato soup
Taco Soup
Tomato soup
Potato & Cabbage
Beef stew

The homemade soups and stews are wonderful for the quick meals. Add a salad and some fresh baked rolls and you have a wonderful easy dinner.

Other meals that I love to can whenever possible are the simple ones that can easily be made ahead in bulk batches.

Beef pot pie filling
Chicken pot pie filling
Stuffed Cabbage rolls with sauce
Shepherd's Pie filling (pour into a dish and add some potatoes on top before baking)
Pot Roast & veggies in broth
Tamale pie filling (add cornmeal topping before baking)

The dinner pie fillings are good to have on hand. I keep some of the refrigerated pie crust mix on hand anduse it to make the pie shell for these pies. You can also pour the fillings into a casserole dish and top with potaotes or biscuits instead of using a pie crust.

When filling the jars, I leave at least a 1/2 inch of headspace but often as much as 1 inch. Always put hot food into hot jars. The flat lids should also be hot to help insure a good seal. For most all of these meals, I process the jars in the pressure canner according to the canner instructions.

When making the chicken pot pie filling, of any chicken recipe where some chicken broth is left over in the pan, strain the broth well and pour into a hot canning jar. Process in a pressure canner according to maufacturer's instructions. This broth is then stored until I am needingit for other recipes. You can flavor the broth beofre processing by adding some diced celery and other vegetables to it if desired.


Anonymous said...

You have such wonderful ideas that I feel I should already know. I want to try and can some main dishes, as I don't have a freezer. Thank you for sharing what you do, you are truly an inspiration.


Jen said...

I see that you don't recommend canning soups with rice. I am wondering if you think barley would hold up well?

Thanks for all the information you've posted!


woodducksys said...

Could you provide the recipe for the Beef Pot Pie Filling, and Shepards pie Filling that you use for canning