Saturday, August 4, 2012
Canning Mama's Vegetable Soup, aka Tomatoes, Corn and Okra
When I was growing up, Mama's canning goal every year was 100 quarts of green beans, 100 quarts of peaches, and 100 quarts of vegetable soup... she canned other things as they came in, but these three remained constant... and vegetable soup, Mama style, was a staple at our house... She would pop open a jar or two of this summery mixture of tomatoes, corn and okra, add some other ingredients, like potatoes, carrots, onions, maybe some ground beef or stew meat or chicken and let it simmer while a pone of cornbread baked in the oven in her cast iron frying pan reserved ONLY for cornbread... and in just a little while it was supper on a cold winter evening... nothing better!
Tomatoes, corn, and okra usually come in from the garden about the same time so it's only natural to mix this trio of goodness together in a delicious soup base. Tomatoes, corn, and okra are coming in in our garden now so I mixed up a little batch... I won't have 100 quarts, as a matter of fact the soup I mixed up last night only made 3 quarts, but with every bite, I'll be eating deliciousness and remember all those winter evenings eating Mama's soup while my brothers and sister shared our day along with Mama and Daddy... this soup means family to me.
Here's what I did...
There's no real "recipe" for this soup... you basically use whatever amounts of each ingredient that you have on hand... I had about 8-10 pounds of tomatoes, peeled and cored... (I poured boiling water over my whole tomatoes, left them for a minute or two, the put them in cold water and the peels slip right off)
8 ears of white field corn (you could use sweet corn), cut off
1-2 pounds of okra, sliced
I mixed the three ingredients together in my large stainless steel saucepan...
I brought the mixture to a boil over medium heat, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for a few minutes (maybe 10-15 minutes) until everything was heated through.
I washed, rinsed and sterilized my quart jars and put my lids in hot water to simmer... keeping everything hot until I was ready to use them.
I filled the jars, leaving a half-inch headspace. I added a teaspoon of canning salt to each quart (this is optional).
I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth, then tightened the lids on to fingertip tightness.
I then processed my jars of soup at 10 pounds pressure for 85 minutes (using the time and psi for corn).
After processing and allowing the pressure in my pressure canner to drop to zero... then waiting an additional 10 minutes to allow the jars to adjust to the lowered pressure (reducing the risk of jar breakage), I removed the jars from my canner and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool...
And to listen for the PING! of each successfully sealed jar! Live for the PING!