More Canning & Soup

I’ve collected some various links and results from my efforts to make home-canned soups. This is a place to collect them so I don’t have a half dozen tabs sitting open. It will be a bit disordered as there isn’t an obvious way to organize the bits. The only real “theme” is food and canning.

The Philippines Grocer

Yesterday I went to a nearby Philippines grocery store. Talk about your pleasant experience! They have a variety of interesting fruits and vegetables, all in fresh and attractive condition. They also have a fish section that is to die for. Not all that surprising, really, since their name is Seafood City Supermarket. The top page for their site has an annoying popup ad to get your Personal Identifying Information in exchange for a customer loyalty card, so here’s a N. California Locations landing site instead:

They have locations in other States as well ( I don’t know about other countries ).

So back at the fish: In addition to several long cases of various frozen fish and prepared fish products (breaded, sauced, etc.) they had about 60 linear feet (as a rough guess) or 20 meters of iced fish of all sorts of kinds. Mostly focused on the species found in the Pacific, as you would expect from a store selling nostalgia for ‘home cooking’ from the Philippines. Prices were about $4 / lb for most types for whole fish (so expect to remove heads, scales, etc. yourself and make fish stock…) That’s cheaper than most meats and all fish at the local American brand name grocery stores, and the fish looked great. Clear eyes, no smell. One downside: I need to learn what to do with a half dozen species of fish I’ve never seen or prepared before. Some, like Pompano, I’ve heard the name and seen in Florida. Others, no clue. They even had “Baby Albacore” that looked to be about 9 inches long (20 cm). I suspect you could make an interesting sushi from them.

Much of the rest of the store concentrated on things and brands not available elsewhere. From canned Mangoes (that we had for desert last night) to the “Banana Sauce” that is a ketchup substitute (why I went in the first place) to more kinds of packaged snack food than I could expect, that I’ve never seen before, made from all sorts of fruits and vegetables not common here. Interspersed were a few traditionally American brands that have made it into the Filipino consciousness, or at least their diet. A whole store full of new tastes to explore!

Background music was Tagalog {something} singing… At first a bit of a shock, but after 5 or 10 minutes I found it enjoyable. Hints and overtones of Japan / Asia, mixed with what I suspect was the universal theme of love and loss and love again. At the checkout, a Tagalog conversation between clerk and the lady in front of me, with odd bits in English, like the changes as “x Dollars and y Cents” with English numbers. The clerk shifted seamlessly to somewhat accented English with me, I asked about the Tagalog vs Spanish in the Philippines and she said they were about equal… and was surprised when I shifted to Spanish ;-) Tri-lingual clerks, nice.

I’ll be back, often. I have a whole fish section to work through and a half dozen fruits I’ve never seen before (Dragon Fruit?) to sort out. Not to mention the dozen and one kinds of fish sauce and stock…

The canning hook? As I go through a lot of kippers and sardines, on my todo list is to try making my own… and that means starting with a good source of fresh fish cheap.

Banana Sauce

OK, I got two different kinds. At $1.30 / bottle, not a big deal. First off, I like it. Second, it isn’t ketchup. It looks mostly like ketchup, but has a glossy gelatinous finish. Then there’s the chili. I read ‘chili’ on the bottle, but didn’t expect as much as was in it. One brand was more hot sauce than ketchup. A vaguely ketchup like spicy thing that might go well on tacos or on bland beans instead of ketchup, but unless you put chili sauce on your burgers, not going to be a big hit on them. (IF you DO like burgers with Chilis, go for it!) That was the Jufran brand. The UFC brand “Tamis Anchang” over “Banana Sauce”; was also spiced, but less strongly. A mild pepper bite mostly noticed in the afterglow. I’d be happy with it on beans, french fries, whatever – the spouse would not as she avoids peppers…

My main takeaway from this is that it is well worth it for me to try making my own “Banana Ketchup” but with lower levels of chili in it. The spices make most of the ketchup flavor, and I suspect that using Plantains would make for a very close approximation. The Jufran brand lists “banana flavor” as one of the ingredients (just after titanium dioxide to make it less gelatinous looking and more ketchup like opaque) so leaving that out makes the UFC brand a bit more ketchupy and less sweet / fruit. All of which implies plantains for even less banana flavor, loose the chilis, and with the right spice mix, it could be a decent ketchup replacer. I’ll be trying the UFC brand in a meatloaf (and lowering the pepper in the recipe) and report back later. Not having meatloaf due to both the beef and the tomatoes has been a real bother. Now I’m happy to try turkey or lamb meatloaf using banana ketchup… (The spicy one reserved for use with BBQ, pulled pork, and as a base for BBQ sauce…) In short: I’ve got a nice potential work around for many of the limitations of avoiding tomatoes, especially in the realm of spicy things like BBQ and baked beans and such. Ought to go well as pizza sauce too ( I’m getting tired of pesto, ranch dressing, and Alfredo pizzas…)

BTW, having found directions for canning meatloaf, I’ll be trying that with this sauce meat combo too. It is easier to deal with a cup serving size of meatloaf than with a 5 lb loaf and no freezer space left!

So, the moral: Find your local ‘ethnic’ markets and give them a visit. There’s a whole world of flavors out there just waiting for you!

Walmart Where With What?

So having toured several local Walmart stores, I find I have to go to three of them to get the various things I want. Sigh.

One, in Milpitas, has Tortillas without hydrogenated oil. The Olé La Banderita brand. I’ve also found tortillas without hydrogenated oils at Sprouts (who seem to always be out of stock when I’m there) and at Trader Joe’s (who’s house brand is fine, but I’m not always at Joe’s). This one also has a nice large canning section (off near the rugs, and soft goods, go figure) where I got more pint jars and come Citric Acid to raise the acid level of some of my soups. I made a vegetable barley that was OK, but a bit ‘muddy’, where adding a tsp ( 5 ml ) of lemon juice after warming ‘brightened’ it nicely. Note to self: Add acid to canned barley soups ;-)

Another, in San Jose, has the Naan Bread that I use as a base for pizzas. Works great. The size is about 9 x 8 inches (size of spread large hand plus a bit) and just about right for a pizza-for-one. Spread a Tbs or two of sauce, top, bake in a 400 F (Hot) oven for 10 to 12 minutes, cut and serve. I make two at the same time so the spouse and I each have our own favorites. She likes ranch dressing (not too much… just a thin layer of about 1 Tbs to 25 ml) sausage, pepperoni, olives and shredded cheese mix. Occasionally mushrooms and / or chicken bits too. Me? I really want traditional marinara base, so I’ll be working with that banana sauce to make an analog. For now, I just accept that 1 – 2 Tbs ( 15 – 30 ml) of tomato sauce is not likely to make the arthritic joints act up… at least not for long… Then pepperoni and olives and cheeses and I’m set. I’m looking to add some mushrooms and sliced onions for variety at some point, but only when the ‘left overs’ can go into canned soup the next day. (Oh, and this store also has the sunflower seeds the birds and squirrels like ;-)

Yet a third is nearer to me and has most of what I need most of the time. So I’m in a cycle of going to 3 different Walmarts over the course of about 2 weeks to keep various things stocked. (Or hitting Joe’s for the tortillas and a few other odds ‘n ends, and Sprouts for the better vegetables and variety Walmart just doesn’t have… Oh, and they have nice refried beans in cans, including one with Jalapeños. I’ve got one of those things that lets you bake a tortilla into a taco salad shell (10 min at 400 F), so add some heated refritos, some sauted onions and chorizo or chips of a polish sausage, spice to taste, top with butter lettuce and shredded cheese mix, and put a few olives on it; yum!)

Then as needed I’ll go to other markets. Safeway has lamb at a decent price with good selection (cheaper than Walmart! that is packaged somewhere else and shipped who knows how far). The local Bargain Market has ‘whatever is overstocked’ and not moving somewhere else, yet has chicken at decent prices, even got a frozen whole chicken for $3.99 or so. Since I like to keep one in the freezer, that’s ideal. It was tasty too, and specifically does NOT contain all those strange chemical brews being injected into turkeys and chickens these days. (Feet and feather soup? No thanks!… frankly, to my nose, the ‘broth’ does smell of wet feathers… I had a bad experience ‘wet plucking’ a pheasant one long Saturday and that smell sticks with you… so I refuse to buy any bird with the micro-type ‘broth x%’ on it..)

Oh Well… Since the Milpitas one is near the Filipino market, it will be a weekly or alternate weeks stop anyway. I also got a dozen “Anchorglass” brand pint canning jars for $1 less than the Ball / Kerr brand. Since Ball tried to make a semi-monopoly by buying out Kerr, I’ve gone out of my way to buy alternative makers products. Harvest Brand, Mainstays lids (all have worked fine, BTW). This was the first I’d seen Anchor in this area, so needing more pints for more soups, bought them. They don’t have the brand embossed on them like Ball / Kerr or even “Better Homes and Gardens” that I found at Target in Florida IIRC. (Nice fat jars and pretty, but they have a bottom too big to stack… so my BH&G jars go on the bottom layer of any stack in the shelf…) The lack of embossing makes them smooth (so a bit more slippery when wet) but also displays the product better.

So, the point: IF you shop Walmart, shop various Walmarts. Each has a different product mix. Especially if you have ‘ethnic’ neighborhoods, the particular products can vary a lot.

Rice & Thick Stuff

So I’m canning some soups with a little added rice. About a TBS ( 15 ml ) per pint. If you look on the Purdue web site, or the USDA, you will be admonished to never ever think of canning rice (or really any thickener like wheat in sauces or gravies). Yet folks have been doing this for decades. Looking into ‘why’, it comes down to two worries and no testing. The worries are that it might shift the pH away from acid and it might change the thermal flow such that the time would be too short. Then the fact that the USDA hasn’t worked out and tested a zero risk ever process means you are not supposed to use your brain, being dependent on Government for all permission to do anything… (This, from the people who banned prosciutto ham as ‘risky’ despite millennia of use in Italy…)

OK, my approach is pretty simple. We have “approved” recipes for neutral pH foods, like meat, that come in solid chunks. Heat flow through a solid chunk is far far worse than in a soupy liquid with a few rice grains floating in it. So “when in doubt” I start with the times and pressures for solid pH neutral bacteria loaded meat, birds, and fish… Seems to work fine for me, and for the thousands of others doing it on the internet. Buy you must decide for yourself what’s safe and what isn’t based on your foods and processes and trust in the USDA.

With that, I decided to look into canning rice a bit more. I found some folks canning rice AS rice. Golly. I tried it, and it does work, but the rice is gummy and not fluffy. OK for doing a rice pudding, I’d expect, and tasty with milk and sugar on it, but not something I’d want under Turkey Tetrazzini unless it was an emergency, fuel was scarce, or I just could not wait 20 minutes for the rice steamer to finish.

The good thing: I found a forum where someone actually did an instrumented test, by way of proving another poster was ‘not safe’, that indirectly does find what is safe:

CAUTION, Elizabeth’s recipe for canning rice may NOT kill C. botulinum.

Commercial canning use a point system (F-values) for heat treatment to assure the contents of a can are sterile. The minimum points are 4.0 for storage below 25c/77f and 12.0 for storage up to 40c/104f.
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Following Elizabeth’s recipe exactly, except with my pressure canner set to 122c/251.6f, about 16 psi. I took temperature readings from the center of the pint jar, in the cold spot, during cooking and got the following results.

It took 35 minutes cooking at 122c/252f for the center of jar of rice to reach 121c/250f Note Results summarized, actual times where taken of each 1 degree change. c.o.j = Center of jar

Vent 7 minutes, c.o.j = 87c/188.6f
Reach 122c/251.6f , c.o.j = 106c/222.8f
10 minutes at 122c, c.o.j = 111c/231.8f
15 minutes at 122c , c.o.j = 113c/235.4f
17 minutes at 122c, c.o.j = 115c/239f
Cool down 2 minutes, c.o.j = 114c/237.2f
3 minutes , c.o.j = 112c/233.6f
5 minutes , c.o.j = 109c/228.2f
7 minutes, c.o.j = 106c/222.8f
9 minutes, c.o.j = 104c/219.2f
11 minutes, c.o.j = 102c/215.6f

The total points (F-values ) from my test where approximately 2.5 which is far less than required to reach minimal safety in sterilization.

Read more: Pressure canning rice

I’v bolded the bit where he gives the time to actually get the center of the rice to 250 F. 35 minutes.

OK, so the poster had too short a cook. Make it 35, you reach the botulinum kill temps. Got it…

Somehow I’m not going to worry about it for a liquid soup that does NOT set up to a rice brick so continues to convect, and is cooked for 1 hour 15 minutes…

The Soups

First off, I made a very nice Scotch Broth. I used 2 TBS each ( about 30 ml ) of chopped Carrots, Celery, and Onion, and added 2 TBS of raw chopped lamb from a shoulder chop. Then put 1 TBS ( 15 ml, maybe 20 mounded ) of pearled barley. Add one “not-beef” bullion cube from Edward & Sons that I got at Sprouts grocers, and filled to the inch & 1/4 head space line with water (just about the middle of the shoulder curve and 1/4 inch below the lower thread ring). Processed at sea level at 10 to 12 lbs (gauge wandered up a bit when I was out of the room for a while…) for 1 hour 15 minutes for pints.

Nice tasty soup. In the future I intend to try it with 1/4 tsp of lemon juice, then 1/2 tsp (about 2 and 3 ml) and see if that ‘brightens’ the flavor. Eventually I’ll find out how much citric acid crystals to add for the same effect if the lemon flavor is too pronounced. Being made with tomatoes in the mix would do the same, but I’m avoiding tomatoes due to it making my fingers creaky with arthritic effects (takes a nearly daily consumption and about a tomato a day on average, but…)

Then I made a very nice Turkey Rice soup. Here I made two variations. One with white rice and one with brown. White rice does tend to break up into mushy little bits. The soup is still fine, but just not so much ‘grains of rice’ as ‘cloud of rice bits’. The brown rice worked much better as the hull holds it together more. At one TBS carrots, onions, celery per pint jar, it’s a bit thin. At two, a bit chunky and the broth a bit strong. I suspect 1.5 (or about 20 to 25 ml ) would be ideal. Again, one tsp ( 5 ml ) of rice. I used several bouillon cubes for the broth, and I’m still finding out which works best. The Edward & Son’s Not-Chicken worked nicely (gives a vaguely bird flavor without putting chicken flavor all over your turkey soup…) while Knorr Chicken did work, in a sort of unclear what bird flavor way. I’ve also made some with a vegetarian vegetable bouillon, but not tasted it yet. I may also try 1/2 or 2/3 of a cube per pint in a future batch. This batch, with so much solids in the jar, is a bit strong on the broth flavor. Then again, with the rice being a bit thick, I cut it with a bit of water in the warming and that worked nicely. A very similar soup made with Knorr chicken and chicken thigh meat was also very nice. IMHO, just use brown rice… unless you only have white available and don’t mind a cloudy mushy soup.

For the future, I’m also going to try ‘brightening’ with a bit of lemon juice, citric acid, or even vinegar.

Some links:

Starts off with the obligatory warnings that you will surely die a horrible death if you do ANYTHING that isn’t approved by The Government first and this is committing suicide to even think about it… Then proceeds to say:

I can hear you screaming now “You cannot can rice in your soup!” Well, yes you can, it is just not recommended by the USDA. In fact, there are a lot of things that you can preserve via canning that the USDA does not approve of. Primarily, because the risk of food poisoning is higher if you do not follow proper sanitary procedures and or techniques. So heed my warnings, if you decide to can soup with rice, you do so at your own risk however minimal it might be.

Having said that, people have been canning rice in soups for many years without any problems, you just have to be careful. I always can my soups with dry uncooked long grain rice. Something you have to be aware of is that dried rice, generally absorbs 2 to 3 times it’s volume of liquid when cooked. The container (pint or glass jar) has a limited amount of room for the expansion of dried foods such as rice, and beans when they cook. Therefore it is important to measure the amount of dried rice you put into each pint or glass jar before adding the liquid. In my recipes, I use 2 tablespoons of dried long grain rice for a pint jar, and 4 tablespoons per quart jar. You can put less rice in the jar, but never more or you run the risk of having jars that overflow or not to seal properly.

I know when you look at this amounts of rice used in these recipes they appear insufficient, but I promise you that these amounts are accurate for safe and reliable canning of rice in soups. Rice like many grains, will continue to absorb liquid after it has cooked, and in most cases the rice will absorb almost all the liquid in the jar if you use the recommended amounts of dried rice (2 tablespoons per pint, 4 per quart) in each of these recipes.

I cut that back to 1 TBS per pint and like the result as a ‘ready to eat’ soup. 2 is a nice upper bound for a more ‘condensed’ soup style.

They also have some very nice pictures of the ingredients ‘layered’ in the jars. I, too, put the vegetables on the bottom, meat and rice on top, where they can more easily NOT clump together in cooking.

Chicken and Rice Soup (Pint Jars)

1/3 cup chicken, cooked, and diced
¼ cup onion, diced
½ a carrot or 3 baby carrots, chopped
2 tablespoons long grain rice
1 tablespoon celery, diced
¼ teaspoon minced garlic

Layer all ingredients into pint jars, then fill with hot chicken stock leaving 1 to 1 ¼ inch of head space. Add lids and rings then place in pressure canner and process for 75 minutes on 10lbs of pressure.

This is significantly more chicken and rice in each jar, and I found the 1/2 a carrot a bit vague, so standardized on 2 TBS (sometimes heaped) of each vegetable dice. The garlic looks like a good idea ;-) Clearly the exact ratio of ingredients is not critical…

There’s a LOT of folks who can soups and make youtubes. Looks like I’m not alone in looking to prior practice more than the Government ;-)

I like this video:

that adds some parsley and makes quarts. They also use real broth, made separately. Quarts take 15 minutes more to heat through, so 1 hour 30 minutes, or 90 minutes. They fill to the bottom glass ring on the threads, but also are not dealing with rice or other grain in them. Note that the water in the canner is up to near the top of the food line. That’s something I learned as a way to help prevent boiling in the jars splattering chicken fat onto the seal…

I have two methods of tightening the rings before canning. One is just to turn it tight, then back off about 1/8 turn. The other is to turn the ring just until is starts to touch and slip in a loose finger grip. Both seem to work. “Snug” is a vague term that is usually used to describe the process of ‘snugging’ the rings. Remember that air must get out of the jar during cooking, so the lid must NOT be cranked down. The gasket material softens, so a tiny gap forms during heating and the air can leave, then on cooling when damp and touching the glass, a vacuum forms that pulls the lid down (with a ping! sometimes) and makes a seal. Some folks “tighten the rings” after removal from the canner to assure that air can’t get back in before the headspace cools to condensing water temps. I’ve got a technique of pushing the top down with an icecube that seems to work fine too.

French Onion Soup

12 Large onions
4 tbs butter
24 cups beef broth (your own, homemade broth… or store bought will do)
1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
4 tsp. steak sauce (any kind, I used A1)
2 tsp. salt (I used canning salt)
Saute onions in melted butter in fry pan or pot.
In a separate pot, make the broth starting with your water/beef base or beef broth.
Add all ingredients, stir and bring to boil.
Add onions to broth OR can your soup by adding 2 scoops of onions to the bottoms of each canning jar and ladling your broth over it.
Process quarts at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes. Enjoy!
By The Kneady Homesteader

Now this one is interesting to me since I’m avoiding beef (due, again, to that arthritic creaky fingers issues) and I have some vegetarian family members. I can easily see using that Edwards & Son not-beef bouillon for the stock, keeping the butter for me, or using a vegetarian butter alternative for the vegan folks, and having a nice French Onion Soup ready to go in a jar. Just add toasted french bread, top with cheese (or cheese like stuff for the vegans…) and go…

They have a video showing a fancy All American type canner with the ‘dogs’ to toggle the top on, as opposed to the cheaper Presto I use with the rubber gasket and turn-lid. They have a bit of background noise (fridge or A/C or vent fan?) at the start but it is tolerable and drops off about the 4 minute mark, later you get kids and a dog in the background; just love it!. You also get to see the plate that goes under the jars so they don’t get rattled / vacuum sucked to the bottom during the boil and cool process. This is a longer video at 45 minutes, but gives you a better sense of the real process (including washing the lids and all!) unlike the ones that cut / splice past such ‘boring parts’… FWIW, I used to use the dishwasher on lids and bands too, but they don’t hold up well to the strong cleaner.. so wash them by hand.

Interesting to note she has water over the top of the jars in the pressure canner. That would make it even less likely to have sputter during the cooldown and / or failed seals… I’ll have to try that on some particularly difficult things…

Original here:

Note that both these folks do the ‘sterilize the jars’ thing (either in the oven for the first one or in boiling water for the Canning Granny). That is a good idea for water bath canning, but not needed at all when you pressure can for 75 minutes… I usually use cool jars from the dishwasher and apply cold lids, often filling with cold ingredients and hot water from the tap, then can. The very long times kill everything anyway, which is sort of the point of it all… For very short low temp canning, where you depend on acid levels in fruit to prevent spoilage, you can get a spoil from a particular bacteria (not health threatening just makes the food poor) and in those cases sterilizing the jars matters.

Again, their site has nice photos of the process.

What could be better than a rich, hot bowl of French Onion Soup on a chilly winter evening…

Here’s how I made a batch to have on hand…

I sauteed…

7 medium onions, sliced


2 Tbsp. butter

until softened and caramelized.

I divided the sauteed onions evenly among 5 quart canning jars I had previously washed well and sterilized by boiling in water.

For the soup part…

In my large stainless steel saucepan, I mixed together…

12 cups beef broth (your own, homemade broth… or storebought will do)
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
2 tsp. steak sauce (any kind)
2 tsp. salt (I used canning salt)

Bring the mixture to a boil, stirring occasionally.

Now for my soups, I typically don’t bother with a pre-cook step. It does make it easier to measure into the jars, as the stuff is all cooked together, but solids tend to sink out and it is a bit of an art to get the solids / stock mix right with a ladle from a large pot. Here it is just making a liquid stock, so works better as measuring little bits of steak sauce into each jar would be a PITA.

All we need to do when we want French Onion Soup for dinner, is open a jar, heat it up… add a baguette or some croutons and some good mozzarella and Yumminess in a jar!

Oh yeah! You can bet French Onion Soup is on my To Do List for this winter. I’ll be making pints though, since it is ‘just for two’, and cutting the time a bit in proportion. ( 15 minutes less for pints than quarts, or 15 minutes more for quarts than pints.)

Oh, one other thing I do differently. All these folks use large bowls for their chopped goods. I put them in quart or half gallon wide mouthy jars. They fit easier in the fridge if I need a break or have leftovers, and especially with chopped onions, having a lid on them keeps the fumes down and the eyes clear ;-) I can chop and fill jars, then put them in the fridge, and if needed do the canning later that day or even the next day. Since I’m a canning guy anyway, I have a bunch of jars just sitting around anyway…

I’d also do the caramelizing in smaller batches in a larger flat frying pan…

Can of Cream Soup? Is it really needed?

This whole canned soup thing started as a way to find an alternative to paying $1 or $2 for a can of ‘cream of something’ soup for the slow cooker chicken and such. Back years and years ago, the idea was that it was a cheap way to make a gravy with some stock flavor in it. Now, with soup prices gone crazy, it isn’t particularly a low cost item. Like chicken wings that were the cheapest part of the bird led to ‘spiced wings’ and ‘buffalo wings’ as ways to use a cheap meat, and now in football season wings can go for $2.50 / lb while the whole chicken is still about $1 / pound. Folsk lost the original intent.

These folks had a similar idea but use the fridge:

What do you do when you revisit a childhood recipe, hoping to recreate that memory of taste from the pages of Betty Crocker or your mother’s church cookbook, and find, to your chagrin, that it calls for a can of condensed cream of whatever soup? You don’t want the salt, or the mysterious chemical ingredients. But you don’t want to give up on that recipe!

The good news is that it’s not difficult to recreate those cream of… soups in your own kitchen. In fact, it takes little more than some flour, butter, and broth. And it seriously will not take much more time than opening up a can. That perfect retro casserole is on its way – just a little lighter and more in step with the times.
Cream of Chicken Condensed Soup

makes a little over a cup, equivalent to one can of soup

3 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons white flour
1/2 cup chicken stock
1/2 cup milk
Salt and pepper

Melt the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat then add the flour. Cook, stirring rapidly, until the mixture is thick.

Add the chicken stock and whisk until smooth, then add the milk. Bring to a simmer and cook, stirring, until thickened. Remove from the heat and add salt and pepper to taste.

This will keep for a couple days in the fridge, but it’s best to use it the day you make it.

All well and good. BUT, I’m not putting cream of chicken soup in the slow cooker, I’m putting in a can of condensed stuff that says to add milk to it… and I don’t add the milk. Campbell’s Cream of Mushroom lists milk under the ‘less than 2%’ items as does ‘cream of mushroom with roasted garlic’. So is the milk really why you add it to chicken and vegetables in the crock pot? Looks to me like that can be left out. Now salt and pepper is ‘adjusted to taste’ in the cooker, so leaving it out here does little. That leaves us with a butter / flour roux and chicken stock. Since I cook the chicken with the skin on, there’s plenty of fat in the dish already, so the butter is optional too. (Cream of Mushroom lists ‘vegetable oil’ as an ingredient, so clearly ‘butter flavor’ isn’t required in ‘cream of whatever’ canned stuff).

At this point, we have stock and flour… So it looks to me like the really minimal ‘can of creamed whatzit’ thickener shortcut really reduces to “put 3 Tbs or 1.5 ounces of flour in a jar with about 8 ounces of water, add a tsp or two of bullion powder or crumble in a large boullion cube (or 2 of those small hard salty ones) shake and pour into the crock pot.

Since it simmers anyway, the wheat ought to cook and form a gravy without external cooking.

Yeah, I know, stone soup in reverse and you are left with nothing but a rock… Still, I’m going to give it a try. Worse case is I add a couple of spoons of butter and a half cup of milk and stir at the end of the cook…

But man, that would make things a lot easier and cheap again.

In Conclusion

Well, there you have it. Lots and lots of ideas for soups and canning and that whole winter is coming thing ;-)

I’m especially looking forward to trying a pseudo-french onion soup with not-beef bouillon… I miss French Onion Soup!

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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20 Responses to More Canning & Soup

  1. Larry Ledwick says:

    While reading you comments on canning rice included in soups and poor heat conduction there are a couple strategies that would lower the cooking time. I do some “poor lazy bachelor” canning to make stuff keep longer in the fridge. I buy the plastic tops that fit mason jars and put the spaghetti sauce or chili or what ever I want to keep in the jar, put the plastic top on loosely so it can breath and nuke it in the microwave. I use an infrared thermometer to take the temperature of the bottle and a couple times during the microwave cycle I pull the jar out with oven mitts, tighten the top and slosh the contents around to mix them (eliminating the conduction cold spot). Then loosen the top and return to the microwave. Takes just a few minutes to raise a jar of “stuff” to 165-180 deg F.

    The pasteurization temperatures used for milk is about 165 deg F so they are not sterile but pasteurized and they keep much longer in the fridge that way. Good way to handle things like too big a batch of chili when you don’t want to eat it for a week but don’t plan on keeping it on a room temperature shelf for months.

    The other is that all the canning times assume there is no effort to stir the contents occasionally to speed the heat transfer in thick mixtures which do not convect well (like chili).

  2. E.M.Smith says:


    But but BUT!! you are not being subservient to the narrow minded idiots in government jobs!!!

    I like the out of the box thinking, btw. FWIW, back when eating tomato stuff ( a lot… ) I’d heat the whole jug of marinara and make spaghetti then put the rest, hot, in a jar in the fridge. It would often keep for months… only the odd fuzxy spot from a stray mold spore would cause a fail…

    Now that I have a canner ( fairly cheap, btw), I’m happy to just put it in pint jars and can it…

    The simple fact is that most of the time you can preserve things for a long time by a combination of pasturization and cold. Hard to standardize it, but it works well… I’ve “moved on” to canning, salting, and drying; but mostly from a desire to explore… I still put a lot of “hot stuff in jars in the fridge” as a daily behaviour… and things keep for weeks…

  3. Zeke says:

    Electric Universe Canning (:

    33.1 Introduction
    There are many different ways of applying electric energy for food pasteurization. These include ohmic heating [1–3], microwave heating [4–6], low electric field stimulation [7,8], high-voltage arc discharge [9–12], and high-intensity pulsed electric field (PEF) application [13–15]. Ohmic heating is one of the earliest forms of electricity applied to food pasteurization [1].

    Click to access C33.PEF.pdf

    “Low electric field stimulation has been explored as a method of bacterial control of meat. In
    electrical stimulation of meat, an electric field of 5–10V/cm is applied as alternating current (ac)
    pulses to the sample through electrodes fixed at opposite ends of the long axis of the muscle [7].
    Recently, a very low field (0.4V/cm) has been applied in a 6-L treatment medium in search of an easy,
    safe, and practical method to eliminate bacteria for food processing purposes. Several species of
    bacteria in saline solution were inactivated [8]. Salt solutions and their concentrations play a very
    important role in this method [48].
    Inactivation of microorganisms and enzymes contained in food products by electric discharge began
    in the 1920s with the Electropure process for milk…”

  4. Jeff says:

    For Mexican ingredients (tortillas, spices, etc.) and also prepared food, the Mexico Tortilla Factory at 7015 Thornton Ave up in Newark is great. (Sadly across the pond from me, sniff). They have all manner of ingredients, and have rave reviews from the usual places, so others have also had a good experience with them. They also speak Spanish :)

    They’re not far from 880 and 101 and the Dumbarton bridge. Well worth the trip.

  5. Jeff says:

    Here’s a short video with one of the co-owners and making tamales, plus a tour:

    (Darn, now I’m hungry… and no Masa in sight)…

  6. Ian W says:

    Looks like ‘friendly Philippines’ is now a non-starter as US State department didn’t like their approach to drug dealers. So now the Philippines are courting China. This could become a major problem, but of course the Democrats do not see that.

  7. John F. Hultquist says:

    OT but Venezuela is ready, now, to explode.

  8. Larry Ledwick says:

    EM got to poking around on Amazon and found these vegetarian bullion cubes by Herb-Ox
    Note in comments that they are gluten free. I think I will give them a try for a quick Terriaki sauce dish I do using a vegetable stock for the start of the sauce. The Swanson product I normally use has disappeared from store shelves for some reason.

    Swanson “Flavor-Boost” TM vegetable concentrate one packet
    1/2 cup water
    1/4 cup soysauce
    4 heaping tablespoons brown sugar
    1 1/2 Tbls cornstarct (to thicken)
    couple shakes of ginger
    2-3 shakes of garlic powder
    a couple shakes of dry onion bits
    (adjust spices Soysauce and sugar to taste)

  9. PaulID says:

    EM this might be something you would be interested she has a large book that works great lots of DIY recipes including a recipe for “cream of anything” soup her blog has some of those and you can get her book too

  10. PaulID says:

    as a continuation of the above the confetti pepperoni soup is amazing, the Ethiopian recipes come from her adopted kids as do the Korean recipes.

  11. E.M.Smith says:

    Adding 1/8 tsp to 1/4 tsp of lemon juice per pint to the Scotch Broth really brightened the flavor. I’ll be adding that from now on, and may try it in the chicken rice soup too. A similar amount of vinegar or other acid ought to do the same.


    Oh Boy, I can see a new recipe already: “Lightning Chicken”! ;-)

    Or maybe KiloVolt BBQ…


    Thanks for the pointer. I go up there sometimes so I’ll look it up.

    @Ian W:

    Yeah, Obummer seems to have managed to piss off all sorts of leaders in other countries. The Philippines where once our greatest gem and ally in the area, now not so much.

    @John F.:

    Yup. Just a question of how long the fuse. The “leadership” isn’t leaving nor interested in listening to the people, and is incompetent to fix things (as they have swallowed Socialist and Progressive doctrine whole and can’t make the shift to realizing it always fails…)

    Only questions left are:

    How soon?
    How violent?
    How deadly?
    How long?
    How exit from the horrors of collapse comes? (war, invasion, internal riot / massacre, external force, UN invasion, etc.)


    Nice recipe!

    I’ve gotten very fond of the better bullion cubes. Especially some of the ones at Sprouts and Whole Foods. Expensive, at about $1/2 a cube, but very very good… Not at all like the little salt rocks that were my first introduction to bullion cubes…


    Looks good! Anyone who does Ethiopian AND Korean along with standard American has to have something good going on! And the idea of pepperoni soup already has me hooked! It’s my favorite pizza, so why not soup? ;-)


    Today I made a test batch of the “glazed carrots” from the Ball canning book. I’m liking the result. MUCH better than any other canned carrots I’ve ever had. I know, I know, carrots are perpetually in the stores fresh, so why can them? Because sometimes I want “dump heat and eat” in a hurry and sometimes I don’t want the mess in the sink from scraping carrots… Yes, most of the time I’ll just roast them next to the chicken or whatever for that deep rich flavor, but… when in a big rush…

    So it’s something like 1 cup brown sugar, 1 cup orange juice, 2 cups water, heat and dissolve. Load carrots in jars, fill with sauce, can for 30 minutes at 10 psi at sea level. Makes a nice sweet and tart effect carrot that isn’t soggy or having that ‘canned soapy taste’ the get in the usual salt water canning.

    That was my impetus to put a bit of lemon juice in some of my canned soups… that really improves them. (They were already good, this makes them better… especially things with barley in them that can be a bit muddy alkaline flavor. )

    The Thai have a notion of 4 flavors. Salty, sweet, sour (acid) and hot. You balance all 4 for maximum enjoyment. I think I’m learning to balance the acid bit and extend my styles… I’ll be playing with a bit of lemon juice or similar acid in more foods (not just the ones where it is in the traditional recipe, like lemon pepper chicken or sauerkraut and wieners…)

  12. Zeke says:

    Right chief, it may prove to be the very next phase…(:

  13. E.M.Smith says:


    Or maybe ‘slow cooker amps chicken’ where you only use 200 volts ;-)

    FWIW, there have been ads running lately for a home freeze drier. Finally looked it up. About $2500 to $3000 depending on size…. As I would only need to preserve small amounts of stuff at a time, it would likely be far cheaper to get a $100 small freezer, a nice lab bell vacuum jar, and run a hose out the wall to a vacuum pump…

    Or maybe I’ll just keep canning.

  14. p.g.sharrow says:

    Use a large pressure cooker/canner as the vacuum pot. Vacuum pumps are not all that expensive
    I also was looking at freeze dryers this last week. :-) my OLD chest freezer makes icecream hard as a rock,-30F ? guess this is one more thing to try an experiment on/in…pg

  15. E.M.Smith says:

    Hmmm…. And due to having bought one for some canning in Florida, I have 2 pressure canners at the moment…. and they have that nice little hole where one could apply the vacuum line… One wonders at what vacuum the flat bottom caves in… Might be fun to know ;-)

  16. p.g.sharrow says:

    30 inches of vacuum equal 15 psi, about. plus engineering safety margin, I doubt a cheap vacuum pump could cause collapse of a pressure cooker, even my old 20 quart aluminium one. Havent tried it yet but I am due to buy a new one anyway. Have used it as a pot still a time or two. ;-) guess I need a real vacuum pump first…pg

  17. Zeke says:

    EM says, “…it would likely be far cheaper to get a $100 small freezer, a nice lab bell vacuum jar, and run a hose out the wall to a vacuum pump…”

    It could be a great excuse to get a vacuum pump! I love that! :D

  18. Zeke says:

    I have to tell you, the simple idea I posted under Electric Universe Canning has led to some very unexpected paths of inquiry and I am still way out in orbit with this pulsed electromagnetic field technology.

    The idea that a electromagnetic field pulse can kill pathogens without harming the cells in the food is actually extraordinary. This led me to read about Royal Raymond Rife, who had discovered that under certain oscillatory rates (pulsed em field), viruses and bacteria go into convulsions and then explode. He found that it did not harm the structures of the cells of living animals or plants.

    I think this principle is exactly what is at work when pathogens are killed with a rapid field pulse in this kind of food preservation.

    So this has some serious medical applications. Yet I think it is not appreciated at all for this purpose.


  19. Zeke says:

    I realize that Rife has a huge new age mythology that has grown up around him, and it is partly fueled by the fact that his notes were destroyed, along with his machine — along with his reputation.

    But from what I have read, he was working on curing cancer, and he was able to make the tumors shrink. The tumor cells were not destroyed by his machine, though; he found that there was a virus present causing the tumor cells to grow, which was destroyed using the right oscillatory rate.

    I have some familiarity with the idea that viruses cause cancer. This is the case in some domestic animals. (I will provide the ref if needed or if I get time to pull the book down later.) Chickens, for example.

    I also recently had a horrible experience with the doctors trying to give my kids shots for a virus, a venereal disease virus — and calling it an “anti-cancer vaccine.” The reason it was an aweful experience is that I warned everyone before they left for the appointment not to take any other vaccine than the list we printed up. And everyone got upset at me because I was so untrusting and paranoid, and yet the doctors did try to give them extra shots — the exact shots I warned them against. My kids thought I was being way overprotective, and were actually being mean to me about it. I also wanted to know what the doctors asked them, because they have questionaires now about whether you own a gun, etc. etc.

    And now they are claiming that this virus causes cancer! And giving shots to teenagers!
    The whole point is, if I went around claiming that cancer is caused by viruses, I would be ran out of town. So it just goes to show how selectively people admit the truth, or use it as a cover when they want stupid parents to inject their latest pet vaccine.

    Anyways, enough of that. The key to what Rife did was the power of the microscope that he developed, to be able to see living bacteria and viruses without dyes, and without killing them. So he could witness the destruction of these microbes in real time.

  20. Jeff says:

    @Zeke, I wonder how the good doctors would react if the answer to the question about owning a gun was along the lines of “yes, we have them in case doctors ask questions they shouldn’t”…

    The HPV “innoculation” causes as much, if not more, harm than good. I’ve always been a fan of look (and wait) before ye leap. Not a popular tactic nowadays, but despite my younger days’ desire to see how loud things go boom when you try to blow them up, the best things in life are worth waiting for. Works with people, too…

    (Nothing like an M80 under an Alpo dog food can to add some spice to the fourth of July…..).

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