Monday, May 3, 2010

How To Pressure Can Soup, Meatballs, and Beans

(for a video demonstration using a weighted-gauge canner AND a dial-gauge canner, see this post: How To Pressure Can Beans)

I had a busy day a few weeks ago. Someone gifted me a pressure canner and we borrowed another one - so we were really cookin'! I made vegetable beef soup, seasoned black beans, white beans, and meat balls. Everything turned out really nice; I am so thankful. I gave quite a few directions in my last post about pressure canning titled "Pressure Canning Homemade Vegetable Beef Soup", so I will not repeat myself here.

Seasoned Black Beans to pressure can: Into each quart jar = 2T dried onion flakes, 1t dried garlic, 1t salt, a few dried avocado leaves. Fill with 1 1/4c dry, washed black beans. Top with cold water, pressure can for 90 minutes at 11lbs (adjust for altitude). Let the canner cool ALL THE WAY to zero before you open it. Not only does this prevent a horrible accident, it also keeps the lids from leaking and not sealing properly. Place your jars on towels and let them cool over night. We like to have these beans over rice. A sister here at the church told me about using avocado leaves in the beans - we like this a lot. Just remove the leaves before you eat the beans :)
If you do not have avocado leaves available, use oregano instead. It is not the same flavor, but it still tastes good.
Use any bean and flavoring you prefer and 1t of salt; here are a few more ideas: Kidney beans with chili-type seasonings, lentils with italian seasonings, garbanzo beans with humus-type seasonings, lentils with indian-type seasoning to mimic dal, pinto beans with taco seasonings, or whatever. Have fun experimenting ... I am actually hoping to make up a little cookbook with some of these recipes in it. We'll see how long that takes me. haha.

We have a LOT of free meat. I asked a friend if she had any ideas on what I could do with some of it, and she suggested making meat balls (thank you Rachel!). They turned out so yummy. We used the recipe she gave us, but added a few things to it; any basic meat ball recipe will do. Mix up your meat, form into balls, brown slightly on all sides, put into jars, and pressure can for 90 minutes at 11lbs pressure. Tylor did most of the work for the meat balls ... I am very thankful for that. We liked them so much we plan to do some more soon. We've been eating them with spaghetti, and also with cabbage, rice and potatoes.
Update ... we butchered another cow and got a lot more free meat. We mixed up about 40lbs of meat ball mix and the huge pile of meat overwhelmed me!! I knew we were going to be standing there all day making little balls of meat. So to save A LOT of time, we just shoved meat into each jar and canned them like that ... sort of like meat loaf in a jar. It worked just fine.

In the pictures below you will see us browning the balls ... you can skip this step and still have great results; just don't pack the balls in so tight.

Here's a picture of the vegetable beef soup; this is so nice to have on hand for lunches on the go ... just pack a few plastic cups and spoons and we're all set. It tastes all right cold, but better hot. I make it stretch by adding rice or pasta.

And the white beans. We like to use these as a base for country gravy - just dump the whole thing into the blender and add some seasonings ... and there you have your white gravy. Simple. Yummy. Cheap. Nutritious. Serve over biscuits or pasta.