img_15121If you have and use a pressure canner to preserve meats or veggies, you could also be making your own delicious “Hunger-Emergency Solutions!” TM

I’ve gotten almost addicted to having these things around. They’re actually pretty energy efficient, when you really weigh it out.

Our pressure canner holds 16 pint jars. One jar feeds one person, so that’s 8 meals for two people. It takes about 2 hours of actual work, and 1 ½ hours of stove time. If I were to cook 8 meals individually it would take me about 8 hours of work and 8 hours of stove time. See? it really does make sense.

The best soups for canning are bean soups. Creamy chowders will curdle, and most vegetables are nasty after the excessive heat of pressure canning. The exceptions are carrots, corn, tomatoes, onions and celery. Potatoes are borderline, I personally don’t like their mealy texture after canning, but give it a try, some people don’t mind it at all.

Beans however, can beautifully. In fact, I heartily recommend canning your own beans just as beans, instead of buying cans. Saves you $1 or more per jar, saves the earth from a bunch of tin extraction and subsequent disposal. It’s ever so handy to be able to pop a jar of black beans for burritos– if you keep tortillas and cheese on hand, dinner’s almost done!

Of course, with your home canned bean soup, dinner is done.

The idea is pretty simple. You soak your beans overnight, drain, pour boiling water over and soak another 30 mins, then pack into jars with chopped raw veggies and meat, top with boiling broth, seal, and process!

Hunger Emergency SolutionsThe trickie part is that, since the soup cooks in the canner, you can’t taste and adjust the seasonings as you go along, it has to be right from the get-go. So, I will share with you a couple of the recipes I’ve developed. Try them once, then make adjustments in your next batch. These recipes are for 16 pint jars, if your canner is smaller, resize accordingly.

These soups, and anything with beans or vegies must be canned in a pressure canner, you can’t use a regular open canner/boiling water bath because of the risk of Botulism. Of course, if you don’t have a pressure canner, you could make half this recipe, keep it in your fridge, and just eat over the course of your week. If you cook it on a woodstove, you’ve got the most efficient energy use of all!

Black Bean Soup

Soak 4 c. black beans overnight in plenty of water. In the morning or as soon as you can get to it, drain beans, rinse well, and pour boiling water or unsalted broth over. Allow to soak another 30 minutes, while you get everything else ready.

Chop 2 onions, 2 small stalks celery, 2 or 3 carrots, and 10-12 Roma tomatoes (you can use canned chopped tomatoes too if, like me, you can’t get a decent fresh tomato) Distribute veggies evenly between all 16 jars.

Dry fry (cook in a skillet with no oil over medium heat) until fragrant, but be careful not to burn:

3 T chili pwdr

1 T cumin

2 t. cinnamon

1 t. ground ginger

1 t. black pepper

1 T. paprika

(Or, if you want to make it easier on yourself, and you like spicy food, just go with 4-5 T. of chili pwdr, and skip the rest of those spices)

When the spices are smelling good, add

1 T. oregano

1 T. garlic pwdr

2 lbs of burger

Brown meat over high heat, it doesn’t need to cook through, just brown nicely for flavor.

Distribute meat among jars.

It’s probably been half an hour by now, so drain your beans again, but this time reserve the soaking liquid. Measure it into a pot, then add enough water to equal 11 cups total (if you used canned tomatoes, add in their juice here, as part of your liquid). Stir in a 6 oz can of tomato paste. Bring to a boil.

Meanwhile, back to your jars. Distribute beans between them, then add to each jar

½ t. salt and

a big pinch of frozen corn

Jars should be full to within 1 inch of top. Don’t be tempted to overfill, the beans are still going to expand a tad.

Get your canner and lids ready to go. When the broth boils, pour into each jar, to within ¾ inch of top (ie: should just cover the chunks). Process as per canner instructions, for 75 minutes at 10 lbs pressure.

Moroccan Chick Pea SoupHere’s another, so simple, but shockingly delicious. It’s those chick peas, they are one fantastic bean.

Moroccan Style Chick Pea Soup

Soak overnight 8 c. chicks. In the morn, drain and rinse. Cover with

10 c. boiling unsalted broth and let soak 30 minutes.

Erstwhile, mince 2 large onions and divide among jars. Add also to each jar:

1 bay leaf

½ t. salt (if you used commercial bullion or other salted broth, decrease to ¼ t.)

1 T. good quality olive oil

1/8 t. fresh ground black pepper

Get your lids ready, etc. When the 30 mins is up, drain beans, reserving broth, and divide between the jars, leaving 1 inch head space. Bring broth back to a boil and pour over beans to cover. Process at 10 lbs pressure for 75 mins.

Now, when you eat this soup, you must garnish it with at least a pinch of ground cumin and a drizzle of olive oil. To make it uber delicious and exotic, squeeze some fresh lemon in, and top with a quartered soft boiled egg, and a chunk of sourdough bread. Yumm!