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Home Canned Bean Soup

I’ve been canning this recipe from the "Better Homes and Gardens Home Canning Cookbook" since 1973.  The optional ingredients are not in the original recipe; in 38 years, any recipe is bound to get modified a little.  If you use the optional ingredients, it makes 6 pints, if not, it makes 4 pints.  I usually make 3 times this recipe and can it in 2 canners.  
That’s how much we like bean soup.  I do can it in pints; when we have drop-in company, I just use more jars.  This old recipe makes delicious soup of just the right consistency; no "bean bricks" or mushy soup.
The biggest advantage to canning bean soup, besides the obvious one of having it ready in 10 minutes, is that we don’t have to eat bean soup for days.  I can serve it whenever we want and it tastes like the best homemade soup with no fuss and no leftovers.  That gives me plenty of time to make corn bread to go with (our favorite).
I often can this in the “off-season”; after the garden canning is completed or perhaps after the New Year.  We like ham shank; I have to ask for this at our grocery meat counter; they keep it in the back.  If you use ham, you may want a ½ teaspoon of salt per pint.  I usually chop my vegetables the day before to reduce the stress on canning day.
Ham Bean Soup
  1            pound  Dried Navy Beans -- or mixed soup beans or Great Northern beans or red beans
  1 ½       quarts  Water -- or chicken broth
  1           tablespoon  Garlic – minced (optional)
     ½       pound  Onion -- chopped
  5           stalks  Celery -- sliced (optional)
  6           ounces  Carrots -- 1/4" slice (optional)
1 ½ -2#   ham shank or a meaty ham bone or ½ pound ham
  1           each  Bay Leaves, Whole
              Parsley, chopped - to taste
  6           whole black peppercorns.
  • Soak beans 8-12 hours.  Drain and rinse.  (Or rinse beans, add to 2 quarts water.  Bring to boiling; reduce heat and simmer 2 minutes.  Remove from heat; cover and let stand 1 hour.)
  • Cover with water or chicken broth; add shank, peppercorns and bay leaves (in a spice bag or tea ball), parsley and garlic.  Simmer; covered, 1 hour, adding carrots, celery and onions last 15 minutes.  Remove spice bag and ham bone, cut off meat and dice in 1" pieces. 
  • Wash jars; keep warm until filling. Prepare lids according to manufacturers instructions.
  • Divide ham among jars.  Using a slotted spoon, ladle hot solids into hot jars, about 3/4 full.  Fill with liquid, leaving 1" headspace.  Use hot water to fill if necessary.  Remove bubbles with plastic knife and wipe jar rim carefully before sealing.  
  • Cover and seal, place in pressure canner (with 3 quarts simmering water), exhaust steam 10 minutes, process in pints 1 hour and 15 minutes at 10# pressure (for up to 1000’ elevation), quarts for 1 1/2 hours.  
  • Let pressure drop of own accord ( about 30 minutes), open canner, remove jars to clean towel and let cool and seal, setting apart to allow air to circulate. Remove rings and wash jars carefully.

Yield:  6 pints if using carrots and celery, 4 pints without.
Equipment:  Stock pot or Dutch oven, chopping board, pressure canner, 13 x 9" pan with paper towel for jar filling, jars, lids and rings, funnel, lid magnet, jar lifter, plastic knife, small saucepan for lids, 4 quart measure for water, clean towels, stock pot to keep jars warm if necessary.
TO SERVE:  Add water to the top of the jar, pour into a saucepan and heat 10 minutes.  1 pint makes 2 cups of soup.
2011 cost:  56¢ per jar with carrots and celery.  Sale bulk beans – 4# for $2.39 and sale ham $1.68 per pound.  

46 comments:

  1. In your ingredient list you list 3 each. 3 each of what ingredient? Its right next to the Bay Leaves. Also, how much parsley? Its listed in the directions, but not in the ingredient list? Thanks, can't wait to try.

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  2. Sorry - the 3 bay leaves were for 3X the recipe! which is what I often make. I just add fresh parsley, if I have it, to taste.
    Thanks for catching those errors!
    I think you'll like the convenience of home canned bean soup.

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  3. Okay, thanks for the quick update. I made a double batch. It was really easy to make. I also did the prep work last night, which also made it a lot easier.

    I do have one more question. In the batch I made this morning I had left over beans. Is this normal? I have some ham in the fridge I was thinking we could have that and cornbread for dinner (loved your suggestion).

    I have just got into canning this year and really enjoy it. Thanks for your blog.

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  4. Yes, it's not uncommon to have some left over. They will need a little more cooking if you didn't can them. I often get out a half-pint jar when I'm canning so I can can up any smaller amounts - occasionally I'm over or under on amounts. That's why canning books aren't too specific about amounts.

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  5. Great! I have a huge pot of soup and, rather than sticking it in the freezer, I'm getting out my jars and p.c. and putting it up that way. So much easier, both to keep and to reuse. Thank you.

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  6. can I use a regular canner since the soup is already cooked

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    1. You must use a pressure canner on low-acid items like this for your own safety. If, by regular canner, you mean a boiling water bath, I'm sorry, but the answer is no.

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  7. I often put tomatoes in my bean soup--does this have an effect on the canning?

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    1. I add tomatoes occasionally too, when I make bean soup from scratch. It should make no difference in canning, as the soup is canned far longer than you need for tomatoes. As with any new recipe, I would start with a recipe no larger than this, just in case you don't like the results - or you may want to half this one. If you add tomatoes, you will need extra jars, which usually isn't a problem.

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  8. I have a big, meaty ham bone and I want to make a bunch of soup for canning. What would happen if I triple the other ingredients, but only have one meaty ham bone? Will it be enough, or should I not triple the recipe? I just want to get as much for canning as possible out of the ham bone I have. Thanks!

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    1. I think your ham will be skimpy...however, that said, if it's flavorful, it should still work. Depends on how much your family likes ham, I guess. You might see how much meat you can get off your bone - I use about 1/2 pound per batch - that isn't much divided among 6 jars. But commercially canned baked beans and bean soup don't have much ham or salt pork in them either!
      You may get a few less jars, because you won't have the ham to add to the volume, still not really a problem.
      You may want to taste for salt - I don't usually add any because of the ham; with less, you may want some, or I purchase ham soup base (sold by the bouillon)to add to soups - if you find that, it could help the flavor and it's salty too.
      Good luck!
      This busy time of year, I'm really happy to have ready-to-heat soups on my shelf.

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  9. Thank you for your information on canning bean soup. I made some soup yesterday and it turned out great but now I decided I want to can some of my homemade soups. Do you think you can can any soup that has dairy products in it? I added some cream & sour cream to it and so I don't know if I should can it. I have a pressure canner so that is no problem, just concerned about the cream.

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    1. I don't think you would be satisfied with the quality of pressure canned soup with dairy products in it.
      I would suggest freezing it instead.

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  10. I am going to try this bean soup my husband loves soup of any kind and it does make for a fast meal thanks

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    1. I believer you;ll like this soup. It does thicken up a little after setting a few weeks; if it isn't thick enough for you, it will be.
      I sure like just making it once for a number of meals.

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  11. What is the pressure per pound and cooking time for elevations of 2,000 feet?

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    1. The processing time is the same; however, if you have a weighted gauge canner you will need the 15 pound weight for all elevations over 1001 feet, and if you use a dial gauge, you can can at 12 pounds pressure from 2001-4000 feet. You can check for a good approximation of your elevation on google earth by putting in your address or zip code.
      Charts for elevation using a pressure canner are in most canning books, like the Ball Blue Book.

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  12. I would like to add curry or turmeric to my bean soup would this be a problem?

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    1. Not from a food safety standpoint. Spices like this often taste stronger in a canned product, especially after it sits awhile - you might want to start with a smaller amount.

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  13. Question, I'm new to pressure canning. I bought a 16 quart Presto Canner (the kind without the gauge, just a rocking wieght) and it says to not use quart size mason jars if using the BOILING WATER METHOD? There is only about 2 inches headroom above the jars. Do I have to buy a bigger canner?

    Thank you!!

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    1. You can use your canner either as a pressure canner or a water bath canner; however for water bath canning, it will work for pint jars but is too shallow for quart jars. You can pressure can quarts, however, as the water is only a couple inches deep, not over the jars.
      You should look at this link for a clearer explanation with good pictures.
      Canning Equipment
      I would suggest you purchase a current Ball Blue Book at Walmart or a nearby store that sells canning supplies. I have a Presto just like yours - you will like it.

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  14. This recipe looks great! I will for sure be making this. I have a question about another recipe. In my Ball Blue Book there is a recipe for chili but I want to can my chili recipe but not sure if I should just use my ingredients then do the processing time as stated in the book recipe or if there is something different I should do. In the book recipe they state to put kidney beans in before serving but I want to go ahead and add mine at first. Is that a problem? I'm new at canning but really love it. Thank you for any information.

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    1. To can chili with beans using your recipe, start by soaking your beans. Then, after they are ready, brown your meat, add your drained beans and the remaining ingredients and simmer together 20 minutes to blend the flavors. Fill your hot jars with the hot chili mixture, adjust the lids and process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
      You will need to have more sauce to beans and meat to can this mixture so it isn’t too thick to heat through properly. It will thicken in the jar after cooling and setting awhile.
      A word about spicing your chili; it can get more intense after canning. You may want to add a little less than usual; you can always add some when you use it, but you can’t take it away!

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  15. Thank you so much! Your site is great!

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  16. Your recipe looks wonderful and I am going to try it this week and pressure can it for this winter. I love that the recipe has garlic and bay leaves. I put garlic and bay leaves in so many things. Have you ever canned a chicken noodle or chicken and dumplings soup base leaving out the noodles or dumplings? I would like to try that!

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    Replies
    1. Yes I have...now I just can my chicken separately and I can soup vegetables.
      I combine them when I want soup. That way I don't have to process the vegetables so long, and the quality is better; also less work, actually, to can them on separate days.
      Here is the link for Canning Soup Vegetables.

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    2. So you think it's better to can the meat separately from the vegetables? Is this because the veggies get too soft during the long processing time for meat? I have canned vegetable soup and it has turned out OK, but the vegetables are kind of mushy. I may try it your way next time. Thanks so much for your insight! Love your blog!

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    3. Right, for us, the veggies get pretty soft when they have to be processed as long as the meat.
      However, I have had success with this beef stew recipe...Canning Beef Stew
      This recipe is one I use for canning a chicken mixture that works pretty well...Canning Chicken a la King

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  17. Hi! I am going to try pressure canning lots of soups for the first time! I love making homemade soups but have always frozen it. In this recipe, what if I just have left over ham that has been cooked and diced? Will this work?

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    1. Yes...I have done that at times. You'll need a half pound for this recipe.

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  18. Seems like a long processing time, I'm assuming because of the ham (?). Could I use turkey ham with this recipe and will it change the processing time? Thanks!

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    1. It is because of the ham; although beans are also a low acid food. Turkey ham shouldn't change the processing time.

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    2. After you are done canning , how long will it stay good for?

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    3. How long does food stay in the canning jars?

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    4. Most canned goods are good for 1 to 2 years in good shape if your storage conditions are good - that is, no sunlight and room temperature.
      Many canned goods are safe for many years - the quality may deteriorate some, but the safety is ok if the seal has not been compromised.
      I try to can what I will use in a year or two; that said, I am still using some 2009 canned goods with no loss of taste or appearance. I store mine in a pantry closet and the doors are usually closed.
      Exposure to light will change the appearance of some fruits like peaches over time, so it's best to store your canned goods out of the light if you can, in boxes if nothing else.

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  19. I have enjoyed your canning recipes. Yesterday I canned the Ham Bean Soup. The flavor is wonderful but my jars do not look as nice as yours. My beans look mushy and not whole. What did I do wrong? Thanks!

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    1. It may be your choice of beans - the bottom photo above is of mixed beans, the top photos are navy beans, which often stay a little more firm. I have found that Great Northern beans are a little more mushy too.
      I haven't really had a lot of problems with the beans being mushy, although we don't mind that in our soup. Older beans keep their shape better, I'm told, but I don't raise my own as my dad used to, so I don't really know how old mine are when purchased.
      You can try cooking them for 30 minutes instead of an hour before canning them; my husband usually helps me, so I get them in the jars pretty quickly and they don't continue to cook, so an hour as given in the recipe works for us.
      Glad you enjoyed the flavor. You'll find they are a real convenience meal.

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    2. Thank you for the reply. I did use did use Great Northern beans. I'll try Navy beans next time.

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  20. I just made a big batch of calico bean soup for dinner tonite and was wondering if I could can it the same way as your recipe? I've been just freezing it but now that I have a pressure canner it would be so much easier to can then freeze.

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    1. Yes, it can be canned. Just bring it back to a boil, fill your warm jars, and can per the directions above, keeping in mind you want about 3/4 solids in a jar. If your soup is thicker than that, you may have to add some hot water to each jar to thin it out a little so it cans correctly (the right density for the time and pressure) and is safe.
      However, because it is fully cooked already, it may be a little mushy - depends on how you like your bean soup.

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  21. can you can/process shelly beans and green beans together. What is the processing time?

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    1. Yes...but you must use the time for the shelled beans. The green beans may be too mushy that way for your taste.
      You always process for the item in your recipe that takes the longest time; in this bean soup recipe, it is the meat that requires the longest processing.
      Shelled beans alone or with green beans with NO MEAT take 40 minutes for pints and 50 minutes for quarts in a pressure canner at 10 pressure for 1000' altitude and 15# pressure above 1000'.

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  22. I have a lot of left over ham and bean soup. It has been simmering for many hours and fully cooked. Is it better to cold water can it for 3 hours or freeze it?

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    1. Your bean soup would be best frozen...I have done this with good success. I like to pack my frozen soup in flat freezer bags so I can store more in my freezer; lay them flat in a pan until they are frozen in case one leaks. Then they can be broken up and reheated quickly without thawing.
      You cannot water-bath can bean soup; it is not a safe method. It would have to be pressure-canned as directed in the recipe in this post.
      Canning your soup by any method after it is fully cooked would make for a very mushy product...probably even too much for us, and we like ours a little soft.
      Good luck with your project.

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  23. Fantastic recipe Sue. I made a triple batch late last year and am having the last jar this week. Pair it with hot, homemade, southern cornbread and it's perfect for a rainy evening dinner.

    Thank you,
    Bob

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    1. Thanks, Bob...glad you enjoy this as much as we do...we enjoy it often, especially in the winter...with cornbread too!

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