There is only so much freezer space. There is also the portability factor–it’s far simpler to take canned goods than frozen ones on a camping trip. Don’t forget the ability to gift nourishing meals to others–a jar gives the recipient flexibility to use it on a bad day. Enter stage right: Canning Chicken Noodle Soup.
I’m going to teach you how to pressure can your very own Top Secret Family Recipe and how to do it safely.
First, let’s cover the ground rules of canning chicken noodle soup:
Pressure can only! Water bath canning (the process of boiling jars) only works for highly acidic foods. Pressure canning brings the jars to a greater heat, killing botulism spores like a superhero.
Rehydrate beans or peas before canning. Okay, so my Top Secret Family Recipe doesn’t call for them, but if yours does, be sure to give adequate soaking time prior to canning. They will consume too much of the jar fluids, leaving your food exposed above the water line.
You cannot can the following items safely:
- Any pasta of any type
- Flour (any type)
- Thickening agents
- Dairy of any kind
Why? Because those foods are too dense for the proper canning procedures to adequately penetrate the food. Any of those ingredients are very simple to add at time of serving though, so please don’t get hung up on this.
Use cooked chicken but raw veggies. This will eliminate an potential cross contamination from the raw chicken itself and you’ll be happy with the end product. The raw vegetables will cook during the canning process, but if you start by making the soup and cooking them, they’ll get too mushy. You’ll pack the chicken cooked but the rest of the soup will be “raw.”
You can use your own recipe. Once you’ve removed the items that need to be added at time of re-heating (the list above), your recipe is just dandy. But just in case you don’t have one, I’ll share mine.
A photo posted by PantryParatus (@pantryparatus) on
You will need homemade chicken broth; just roast a whole chicken and the boil the bones in water for a day. Strain out the bones and whallah! Oh, and the leftover chicken meat from dinner is ready to go for this soup! If you do it this way (as I do), then your prep time for this recipe is next to nothing…it is only as long as it takes to chop vegetables. Really.
Canning Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe
Makes 5 quart-sized jars. Using half-quart jars will yield just under 1 quart of soup at serving.
- 1 whole onion, chopped
- 10-12 Carrots, chopped
- 10-12 Celery Stalks, chopped
- 4-5 cups chopped or shredded chicken, cooked
- Approximately 10 cups homemade chicken broth (1 batch from medium-large chicken)
- 1/4 tsp basil per jar
- 1/4 tsp parsley per jar
- 1 bay leaf per jar
- 5 quart sized jars, lids & rings
- Optional: Fresh fennel, fresh peas, small diced potato or turnip
Setup: Prepare (sanitize) and line up jars, lids, and rings. Pre-cook chicken and the broth. Check your canner valves for safety, make sure you have proper canning tools.
Step 1: Put the herbs (basil, parsley, bay leaf, and fennel if desired) into the bottom of every empty jar. Sprinkle salt and pepper now or wait until re-heating for serving. If using half-quart jars, cut all ingredients in half per jar.
Step 2: Add approximately 2 cups chopped vegetables to each jar, and about 1 cup chopped chicken. Do not fill jar more than 1/2 full of chicken and vegetables.
Step 3: Add 2 cups broth to each jar, maintaining head space of 1 inch per jar (space between lid and liquid).
Step 4: Double check glass jar rim and wipe it down (no cracks or chips, no food particles). Then put the lid and ring onto the jar.
Step 5: Follow your canner’s written instruction guide for gauge weight and time. For my altitude of just over 3,000 feet, I have to can with 15 lbs of weight and for 45 minutes (timer starts after canner is at full pressure). Check your own guidelines.
Step 6: After you have released the canner’s pressure by removing the valve and have waited for zero pressure, remove lid. Set all jars onto a towel on your counter.
Step 7: Find excuses to walk past your cooling jars all morning, and know that you did something good for your family.
To Make Chicken Noodle Soup
Open the jar and dump. Fill the same jar with water & dump (1:1 ratio soup/water). Add salt & pepper if desired. Add broken noodles, and boil until noodles are cooked!