Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Pressure Canned Ham and Butter Bean Soup

 I have recently ventured into the world of home canning.  I am already in love!  I made a huge batch of my Vegetable Beef Soup, substituting frozen vegetable for the canned vegetables so they wouldn't turn to mush in the canning process; and, of course, only heated it up rather than completely cooking it, allowing it to finish cooking during the processing.  Being able to just pop the lid off, stick it in the microwave for a minute and eat it is just amazing.  Totally worth the extra time in the cooking/prep phase.

For my next adventure, I decided to do something with butter beans, since I've been told by my doctor to eat more high-potassium foods thanks to one of my medications.  Some poking around online and recipe browsing, and the basis for this soup was born.  It's rich and hearty, without being overly complicated.  The 15 pints I made won't last long!  This is definitely going to be a regular addition to our menu.

I used speckled butter beans for this first batch; regular green butter beans (aka baby lima beans) should work just as well – and possibly be more visually appealing.  Some hot sauce, like Cholula, would be a great addition/substitution for the vinegar, but unfortunately I can't use it (allergies).  Celery or bell peppers, if you have some on hand, would likely also be good additions.


  • 2-3 medium onions, finely diced
  • 2 c carrots, finely cut or diced
  • 10 c butter beans
  • 1½-2 lbs ham, diced
  • 10 c chicken broth
  • 2 Tbs red wine vinegar (or your favorite variety)
  • 2 Tbs garlic powder
  • 1 Tbs black pepper
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • ½ tsp celery salt
  • 2 Tbs bacon grease (or 1 Tbs vegetable oil)
  • 8 quart or 16 pint mason jars with rings and unused sealing lids

If you opt for oil to brown the onions in place of the bacon grease, you will probably need to add a little salt to the broth.
*These measurements are all approximate. Don't be afraid to adjust according to your needs or tastes.  Just be sure you have a good amount of broth so the jars process properly.


  1. Melt the bacon grease (or warm oil) in a large stockpot on medium heat.
  2. Add onions, and stir regularly until they begin to brown on the edges.
  3. Add carrots, and cook until onions are evenly browned and carrots are beginning to turn tender.
  4. Add broth, spices, and butter beans.  Bring to a low boil for about 15 minutes.
  5. Add ham.  Allow to return to a simmer, then remove from heat.  (If you do not want to can it, instead of removing from heat, allow it to cook until beans are tender and just on the edge of coming apart to partially thicken broth, about 30 minutes to an hour.)
  6. Using a slotted spoon, fill sanitized jars about ⅔ of the way with still-hot soup solids.
  7. Distribute broth evenly among jars, leaving 1 inch headspace.  If short on broth (I was), top off with water, but do not overfill past 1 inch headspace.
  8. Clean rims with kitchen rag or paper towel dipped in white vinegar to remove any grease, put on lids and rings, and put in pressure canner according to your canner's directions.
  9. Process for 75 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure for pints, or 90 minutes at 11 pounds of pressure for quarts (may need adjustment at higher elevations.)

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