So, back near Thanksgiving, I made some turkey broth. At the time, I measured it out, put it in freezer bags, and froze it. This has been the way that I’ve done my broth for a while now. However, I can never get the bags to freeze flat and therefore they take up a lot of space in my freezer. (What I would give for the space to have a chest freezer!) A friend came into a pile of beef (her dad had bought half a cow) and she wanted to share. So we needed to make room in the freezer.
Last summer, when we canned the cherries, I bought a bunch of jars and a pressure canner. Now, a brief primer on canning. Most canning can be done in a boiling water bath, with pots you already own, as long as they cover the top of the jars. This is for things like jams, jellies, and tomatoes. These foods have enough sugar or acid (or both) that they can be canned with boiling water. Other foods, such as soups or pasta sauces, don’t have these properties, and so need a much higher heat in order to be safe. This higher heat can only be acquired at home with a pressure canner. For more specific info, I recommend checking out a basic canning book, like The Ball Blue Book. This was the book that I started with.
Ever since I learned about home canning, I’ve dreamt about canning my own soups. The idea of pulling a jar off the shelf and dumping it in a pot, easy as store-bought soup, but so much healthier! I’ve since learned that dream is a little unrealistic; most soups can’t be canned in their finished form with everything already mixed together. But broth can be, and that’s about halfway there.
I’m pleased to say that this experiment was successful. You basically wash the jars, heat the broth, fill the jars, seal, put in the canner and process for as long as the directions say. Much more straightforward than making jam or preserves. In fact, I’m going to make some ham broth later this week and can that too! I’m also looking forward to canning my grandma’s chicken soup (which is basically carrots, onions, celery and chicken broth).