It's Soup Season! Quick Soup for your Shelf
It's soup season!
This cold weather definitely makes me want to curl up with a hot cup of soup. I have a few soup recipes that I make on a regular rotation. Having soups like these on the shelf makes for easy grab-and-go lunches or quick dinners- paired with a sandwich or salad. Making it myself allows me to control the flavors and salt content, and all the ingredients are fresh. It is also super convenient in times like this week when the weather was intense and power outages were widespread in areas. Fortunately, we did not lose power this time, but we would be able to heat these up pretty easily even if we did.
When making recipes like this, a low acid food, they MUST be pressure canned to be safe. It may seem daunting and scary to use a pressure canner at first, but once you get a few runs under your belt you'll realize how easy it is, all it takes is time. Most recipes that contain meat are pressure canned for 75 minutes (for pints) or 90 minutes (for quarts). That does not include time for the canner to vent and come to pressure, but most of the time is hands off and just watching canner from a distance to make sure it stays within your pressure range.
The recipe used from the Ball Cookbook calls for a "cold pack" in which the pork shoulder is cut up and roasted for 20 minutes until it starts to brown. In the meantime a liquid filler is made (can be broth or water, in this case it is a spicy broth) and heated up so it is boiling when ready to jar the soup. Once the meat is ready, it is split into jars so each one is 1/2 full of meat. It is important to make sure each jar is not packed too densely with meat/solids so the liquid around can easily heat up and penetrate the meat.
Most pressure canned recipes will call for 1 inch head space, to allow for enough steam to escape and create a vacuum seal as it cools. Too much headspace can prevent the proper vacuum seal from being created, and too little head space can lead to liquid from inside the jar being siphoned out, which can lead to a faulty seal. Measuring sticks like the one in the picture helps make measuring headspace quick and easy but any type of ruler will work.
Once the jars are filled, each jar rim should be wiped with a clean damp rag or towel. The surface needs to be clean of any debris and grease before you apply your lid. Once clean I usually run my finger around the rim one more time to make sure the ridge is clean and I didn't miss any chips earlier.
I did a double layer on this batch and was short a jar on the top row, so I filled the jar with water and used an old lid so I didn't waste a good one. It is important to have the canner full anytime you run it, so the jars do not flop over and leak out. Plus side of adding a water jar to your canner- if you use filtered water you will have a sealed jar of water to keep on the shelf for an emergency.
This recipe can be eaten as it is in soup form, but is versatile enough that it can also be drained a bit, browned/crisped up in the broiler and used as carnitas or pulled pork sandwiches
A double duty recipe like this should be kept on the shelf for quick dinners!