Friday, September 18, 2009

Soup Starter

I don't know if you are like me, but there are days (some days more than others) that I really don't want to cook dinner. However, I do like food, and I love soups during the winter months. This recipe is a pressure canned soup starter. I believe I got this from either our Grandma J. or Aunt Gayle--either way, same side of the family.

Soup Starter

Layer in 1 qt. jar

1/2 tsp. Salt
1 tsp. Beef bouillon (or 1 cube)
2 Tbs. Pearled barley **See note below
Handful of chopped celery
Handful of peeled, diced carrots (I just cut mine into 1/4" thick disks)Peeled, cubed potatoes (fill to w/in 1 inch of rim of jar)

Pour hot water over top of all ingredients to w/in 1" of rim of jar.
Remove air bubbles.
Clean lip of jar.
Adjust 2 piece lid and canning ring.
Pressure can (not hot water bath!) for 75 minutes at 11# pressure.
THIS IS AN UPDATED time from the latest info at the National Center for Home Preservation: Originally this recipe was for 40 minutes at 10# pressure.

You can get 7 quart jars in a pressure canner at once. I usually do 2 batches of soup starter (14 total quarts) and this is what I buy for the veggies.
  • 10# of potatoes (it all gets used up)
  • 5# bag of carrots (mostly use all the bag)
  • 2 bunches of celery (I use about 1 1/2)
Once canned and sitting pretty in your pantry, the only thing you need to do to eat it is warm it up. We usually add chunked stew meat (also pressure canned so I just dump that in too), but you could brown a pound of hamburger and add to it, or some cooked chicken chunks. If you like, add some diced tomatoes to it. My family loves this soup and it is great to eat with yummy homemade bread. It tastes like I've been slaving away all day long....just genius! That then leaves me more time to play in my sewing room!

UPDATE:  Barley is not a recommended item to be canned.  Eliminate this and just add already cooked when opening the soup to reheat.


  1. This is such a wonderful idea!!! I've been busy canning peaches and pears and I've got applesauce to do soon. After that I think I will can some of these. Thank you!

  2. Wahoo girl! It looks so pretty in the jars.
    Canning is great!!

  3. I wish you could magically send some my way. :)
    I'm not feeling ambitious (canning) right now, but lots needs to get done. It looks so good.

  4. I just canned some myself & have given the recipe to several friends. I call canning making your own convenience foods.

  5. Ive got quite a few pints of this that needs to get eaten. I love adding tomatoes and beef to it and having a good stew for winter with some homemade bread.

  6. Way to go Em! I'm feeling like the Ant in "The Ant and the Grasshopper." It's time to get ready for winter and can, can, can! I'm a bit like Aimee at the moment, stuck in fruit. I'll have to wait a few more weeks before I start the winter stuff. Besides it was 95 degrees today. I won't be eating soup for another month at least. Tiffany

  7. I love this!!! Thanks for sharing!

  8. the thought of this really appeals to me! i don't have a pressure canner yet, but i may have to look into getting one. i love soup and it would be so handy to have it (nearly) done ahead of time. thanks for sharing this!

  9. I canned this soup and the barley is a solid mass at the bottom of the jar and the liquid is now cloudy, I assume from the starch. Is this how your jars turn out? I will try some later this week.

  10. Yes, it does at times end up being a bit cloudy. And when you go to open the jar and use the barley will be "stuck" in the bottom of the jar. After scraping it out I usually put about an inch of water in the jar and swish it around and then add it to the soup pot.

    If you still have big clumps of barley just break them up with the back of your spoon.

  11. Hmmm.... have you tried canning the soup starter in chicken or turkey stock? I'm curious as to whether that would eliminate another step of the soup process... at least in my house. :)

  12. I haven't ever done canned it with turkey or chicken broth. I have however canned it using chicken bouillon instead of beef and didn't like it as well.

    I don't see that using broth would eliminate a step as all it is replacing in the canning process is the bouillon and water.

    When I open it and heat it up all I do is add just a little more water to it--and you can do that or not depending on what consistency you like for your stews.

    Usually I also add a jar of stew meat--liquid and all, so it never tastes watered down.

  13. Renae,

    In my last post I mentioned that my soup starter is cloudy, probably from the starch in the potatoes. But I have noticed some small light peachy-orange patches at the top of some jars, or in the middle of the jar. Just 1-3, so not a lot. Any ideas what this is?

  14. For the cloudiness issue:

    I looked in the troubleshooter section of the Ball Blue Book and cloudy with potatoes does indicate starch--unless it didn't seal and then it could be spoilage.

    I have done a little experimenting with different varieties of potatoes within the last year using this recipe and some potatoes are less cloudy (i.e. less starchy) than others.

    I couldn't find anything about your mystery orange patches. If they are the same orange as the carrots I would assume it to be the same.

    If you can capture it email us. I also have a contact with a food science guy at Gen. Mills that I bounce questions off on occasion. He might be able to help.

    When I pressure can meats there can be a bit of "fatty" residue that develops on the top. So I guess from your bouillon, or if you used stock, you could have a little bit of fat build-up, which wouldn't be a problem.

    At this point I wouldn't assume it is bad, unless your jars really haven't sealed. You can test that by trying to just push it up and off with your thumb.

    If the lid comes off then pitch the entire contents.

  15. If you can capture it on a picture, email us. That is what I meant from that weird sentence above--not capture it like it is running around. :)

  16. Hello I had some questions... I canned this today but in pints, Dh husband thought he should shake them so the barley wouldnt "clump" and now it looks awful in the jar thick and cloudy should I dump it and start over or do you think it will be ok? I canned them for 60 min. weighted gauge 10lb pressure. Any help would be greatful Ii would so like to do more of this for the pantry

  17. I don't think the shaking would have done anything to it to wreck it. But I can imagine it would look cloudy and somewhat yuck. Open a jar here today or tomorrow and eat it--as stew. Hubby may have just made the barley a little more mushy than normal, but the taste, etc. shouldn't be affected.

    As far as the timing I don't know for sure how long you would need to can it. I used to can quarts for 40 minutes until I read some updated info. Based on other recipes that pressure can--meat is 90 min. for quarts and 75 for pints--that is only 15 minutes difference between the qts and pts. So it sounds like 60 min. on pints would be fine.

  18. Thank you for getting back to me, I will do just that.. taste it but it will have to wait as I have a Awful cold and cant taste It has cleared a little in the jar but not much, when it was cooling it looked like your picture pretty layers etc not now LOL

    I will do a follow up when I taste it Thanks again
    Merry Christmas

  19. I made you soup starter last night. I vented the steam for 10 minutes and then pressured it for 75 minutes at 10# pressure. My jars were greasy all over the outside and I'm wondering if this affects the seal at all. They seem to be sealed tight; I cannot remove them with my fingernails. I am new to pressure canning and I worry about botulism so any reassurance would be welcome.

    1. Greasy jars on the outside is normal. If you can't get the lid off with your finger then they have sealed. And you are good.

      What I do is once my jars are all cooled down--usually after a number of hours--then I will rinse off the jar with warm water and a cloth to get the greasy feeling off before I put them in the pantry. I don't want anyone to accidentally drop the jar because it is a little slick.

  20. Thank you! Feeling much better about the whole thing. We had it for lunch and everyone loved it!

  21. This is a great idea! I definitely will give it a try! Pinned! Looks super easy and cheap too.

  22. I made this delicious recipe this fact I doubled the amounts and made a large batch! Now my problem is that I read that you should never can barley because it does not get hot enough to kill the bacteria...I then contacted and they confirmed this now I am stuck with all of these jars that I am going to have to dispose of...we've used 2 of the jars and the recipe IS delicious BUT I'm afraid to tempt fate. PLEASE PUT A NOTE ABOUT THIS ON THIS RECIPE!



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