Well, my sister went downstairs just a few days ago and discovered that we were all out of bean and bacon soup -- a favorite. So that means only one thing: one long canning day. This was actually something we did over two days (chopping things the first day & combining and canning the second day) but I decided to post it all together so it seemed a little more cohesive.
First we soaked the beans overnight in a large bowl so they absorb the water and enlarge. Then you rinse them in cold water and pour them into a large pot full of clean fresh water. That sits and heats on the stove along with potatoes, celery, carrots, onions, and bacon -- all of which we grew ourselves except the beans and bacon.
My brother and sister got into a water fight as they washed the potatoes. I didn't try to stop them until I had taken a few pictures.
I think my sister got the wettest -- do you see the water spots on her skirt?
I don't think my brother got very wet at all.
After we dig the potatoes we sort them. The big nice ones go down into the root cellar for future eating while the small marble potatoes and the stabbed/sliced ones get canned into soup or potato chunks. We had a lot of marble potatoes this year.
Our Bosch Slicer did most of the work -- as always.
The celery and carrots were from our own garden. I have plans to blog about harvesting both the carrots and the celery -- there's just a LOT to blog about in August.
And there's what it looks like before the bacon or the onions go in. It makes the house smell SO good. Unfortunately, it's not good to eat at this point because the beans are still hard -- it's the pressure canning that turns them to butter. So, at this point a couple of us are hoping that a couple of the jars don't seal so we can can enjoy some soup for supper.
The bacon is fried off to the side and just adds to the yummy smells.
We buy our bacon at Costco and for a batch of soup this size we used three packs.
After the bacon is cooked we added it to the pot, but warm the onions in the grease. It's not to saute them, just warm and flavor them. We didn't use fresh onions in this batch, we used frozen ones because we try to use up our old ones whenever we can. They were still frozen when I added them to the grease, but they weren't when I added them (grease and all) to the soup.
We did a double batch and as you can see this made a whole lot! A regular batch makes about 12 quarts. Once the vegetables are soft, we ladle it into quarts, plop sanitized lids on top and finger tighten rings around the lids before carrying them out to the green house to be canned.
We have three pressure caners now so we're not up until 11:30 at night canning anymore.
And there you have it. Bean &Bacon Soup -- a hearty fulfilling meal perfect for cold winter months when all you want to do is read by the fire because it's easy to just pop open the lid and warm on the stove. Below is the ingredient list and procedure outline ....
4 lbs great northern or pinto beans soaked overnight
4 quarts tomato juice
4 cups chopped carrots
8 cups chopped potatoes
6 cups chopped celery
4 lbs chopped and cooked bacon
1 Medium onion chopped
Salt & Pepper to taste
Combine all ingredients except bacon and onions in a pot. cook over medium heat until vegetables are soft. Meanwhile, cut bacon in small pieces and fry in a skillet. Add thoroughly cooked bacon to the pot but don't through out the grease. Cook the onions in the grease until soft -- then add to the pot. Taste for salt and pepper before ladling into quart or pint jars leaving 1" space at the top. Cover with sterilized lids and hand tightened rings before placing in the pressure cooker. Pressure cook both pints and quarts at 10 lbs for 75 minutes.