Q: I make a lot of black bean soup but don’t have much room in my freezer. Can I can it?
(Another one from Doris’s co-worker J)
I’m so glad you asked. Like they say on Facebook, it’s complicated. The short answer is yes, BUT only in a pressure canner. Beans are the classic low-acid botulism-breeding food. Even in a soup packed with tomatoes, lime juice, and salt, it’s still not safe to can a bean soup in a water bath. If you have a pressure canner, though, can away.
As always, you’ll need clean pint or quart Mason jars, new lids, and clean rings. Rather than re-hash all the canning steps, I’m going to refer you to the chicken broth post where we cover important steps like heating the lids and venting the pressure cooker. Assuming you’re following the basic canning procedures, you’ll do the following:
1) Prepare your soup and keep it hot.
2) Transfer the soup into the jars and screw on the lids.
3) Put your jars into the pressure cooker, along with 2 quarts of boiling water.
4) Vent the steam for 8 minutes.
5) At sea level, using 10 lbs of pressure, process pints for 65 minutes or quarts for 75 minutes. If you’re more than 1,500 feet above sea level, use 15 lbs of pressure.
Honestly, at 75 minutes processing time, it might be more energy efficient to buy a bigger freezer. But if you don’t have room or are preparing for a future without electricity, this is a good solution. Thanks to the good folks at the National Center for Home Food Preservation for their tips on canning vegetables.