Canned Ham & Bean Soup

I’ve canned 64 pints of soups and stews in the last week … and I’m doing more today, too. Why the push? That’s easy: I have a diabetic husband who relies on me to feed him meals that are tasty, good for him, and that don’t make him have to take excessive amounts of insulin in order to survive. I’m also getting ready to travel for a month … which means he’s going to be on his own for some 90+ meals. Since I don’t want him to have to fend for himself that entire time, I’m working toward leaving him with a large supply of ready-to-eat meals. My plan is to have enough in the pantry that … if he decides he doesn’t really want to cook the entire time I’m gone … he won’t have to. If he so chooses … his life can be as simplistic as open jar … set 2 minutes on microwave … insert spoon … eat! :)

Today it was time for Ham and Bean Soup, a real staple around our house. It’s something we ate and loved long before I started shoving everything into a canning jar. However, these days–thanks to the advent of cooking in the jar–it’s even easier than before!

I staged a group of eight jars together: basically one pressure canner load at a time. This soup–just like my “Cooked in the Jar” Potato Soup–scales very nicely. You can basically make as many jars at one time as you have ingredients for. Just load your ingredients into four jars … or forty!

To make each pint, I first measured a generous 1/3rd cup scoop of dried navy beans into each jar. I don’t pre-soak them. I just put them in the jar exactly the way they come in the bag/bulk section. Next, I grabbed a couple of things from my pantry: namely, pints of canned chunk ham and pints of my canned French Onion Soup Base. The ham is just some basic ham I canned a while back, cut into one-half inch chunks, so you could substitute 1/4th cup of chopped ham of any kind. My French Onion Soup Base is basically caramelized thin-sliced onions mixed with concentrated beef consume, then pressure canned. To substitute, you could use something as simple as chopped raw onions–with or without a little beef or ham bullion–to something as complex as your own caramelized onions with concentrated beef soup base. I’ve always had good luck with the Better than Bullion Beef base. The Chicken Base is excellent as well.

I divided each pint of ham chunks into four jars of bean soup … so, roughly 1/3 cup of ham with ham broth. Then I divided each jar of French Onion Soup Base into eight jars … so they each got a couple of teaspoons full. The only other thing I added to my jars were a heavy sprinkle of salt and a couple of grinds of fresh pepper.

At that point, this is what they looked like:

I grabbed my kettle of boiling water and filled each jar up to one inch headspace, then cleaned the lip, screwed on a two-part canning lid, and tucked it into my prepared pressure canner. From there, I processed my soup for 75 minutes at 1opsi. I’m at sea level, so adjust your pressure accordingly.

Voila! Ham and Bean Soup, Cooked in the Jar :)

See how my navy beans have grown? I make all sorts of dried beans the same way, so I guess I’ll have to write that process up soon. There’s so many things I want to share with all of you. My list just keeps growing and growing! :)

Cost-wise … if I had to estimate it (and some of this is real guess-ta-mates since I used some of my previous canned goods to make this) … it would look something like this:

  • 1/3rd cup dried navy beans……………………………………..$0.16
  • 1/2 small onion, caramelized…………………………………..$0.20
  • 1/3 cup chopped ham……………………………………………..$0.25

Honestly, some of that is probably over-estimated. Even so, that means my pints of Ham and Bean Soup cost roughly $0.61/pint. Let’s be honest … you can’t beat that in too many places :)

Possible additions (or substitutions) include:

  • 1/3rd cup fresh diced onions
  • 2 tablespoons diced bell peppers
  • 2 tablespoons sliced celery
  • 2 tablespoons of cooked carrots, or of raw shredded carrots
  • 2 tablespoons bacon bits

Explore! Make it your own!

Me? I’m just going to make 32 pints of it this way :)

About Lane

Just a canner ... on this food journey called life :)
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9 Responses to Canned Ham & Bean Soup

  1. Ann S says:

    This looks so yummy. Your husband is a very lucky man.

    Note to self- Don’t read this blog before dinner. Now I am starving!

  2. Kathy says:

    What a blessing you are to share this! Our garden is finished and I’ve gotten everything we need canned, dried or frozen… but I will be adding several jars of your Canned Ham and Bean Soup and your Cooked in the Jar Potato Soup to my shelves.
    I hope you enjoy your new journey, I’m looking forward to your reports.

  3. Dee says:

    a friend on Face book linked you site and I have to tell you I LOVE IT!!! I am so happy I found this site thank you for sharing your knowledge :)

  4. Sheila says:

    I have to ask… when u do not soak the beans do they not have a lot of gas???
    I do the cold soak in each jar over night changing the water 2 times b/4 I go to bed and one time when I get up and get ready to put them in the canner.. and I mean…NO GAS WHEN U EAT THEM.. They say changing the water removes the enzimes that cause that…….. I have some ham I need to do this with so.. today off to the kitchen.. to get started..
    thanks kiddo

  5. Lane says:

    Thanks, Dee and Kathy! I’m glad you’re finding my blog helpful. In case you can’t tell, I’m having fun writing it … I often spend hours doing it … so it’s nice to hear I’m not just talking to myself :)

    As far as Sheila’s question goes … I haven’t noticed any difference in gas doing beans this way, but–then again–my husband and I aren’t really people who tend to be bothered by a lot of gas either … not like other people I know … so we may not be the best judge of something like that.

    If you’re one of those unfortunate people who’s bothered by gas, then–of course–you can soak your beans in advance. However, it’s not going to cut your processing time in the pressure canner, not like it does when you’re just cooking beans on top of your stove the normal sorts of ways. You’re still going to need to pressure can them for the entire 75 minutes (90 for quarts) that you do the unsoaked version. That’s because safe pressure canning requires a certain temperature/pressure/duration for dried beans, regardless of whether you soak them or not. The only difference will be in the volume of soaked beans -vs- unsoaked beans that you put in your jar.

    Unsoaked, I recommend 1/3rd cup of dried beans, so–if I were trying to do this … considering how OCD as I am–I’d probably measure out 1/3rd cup of my dried beans … and soak them in a different bowl than the one I used for the rest of my beans. When I got ready to fill jars, I’d drain that test batch, put it in a pint jar … and then use that volume as the guide for how many beans to put in the rest of my jars. Then I’d continue the same as I wrote above.

    Oh, and my daughter says it’s not “OCD” … it’s “CDO” … because–that way–all the letters are in alphabetical order … the way they SHOULD BE! :)

  6. Sheila says:

    Omg this is the best… Truly the very best and I been canning for many years..but not like this recipe.. I canned my beans plain.. till now ..well.,,, not any more..
    here is what I did..
    I followed Lane’s way most of the way with my changes
    first off I washed and picked over my beans ..just habit..
    got the ham cut off the christmas ham bone and into a bowl.I got the carmalized onions from the freezer.Needed used….. so they could thaw..when thawed.. into a bowl with some french onion base that was almost gone in a jar and hot water …. so I used that to help whiz up the onions… and i used the stick blender to cut them up some.. .. decided to use some grated carrot that needed to be used.. so out come the salad shooter and grated them perfect… into a bowl they went. I head down to the storage room for…. HAM STOCK put up in 2008 and needed used. perfect place for it..got back up and looked at the carrots and thought.. hummm better put some liquid on you so it don’t turn brown.. opened a jar and poured it over them.. got my 2 wonderful A.A.canners on the stove.(I have lost count of how many canners I do have. but several.so I pick and choose the one I want to use for this time..hehehe. ) One was a thrift store find in Lincoln Neb.(the tall one). and one a yard sale find here in GA… my double stack for pints and my reg one for the quarts..
    I did up the quarts first.. to get them going.. into each jar..
    a generous 2/3 cup of washed Navy beans.
    a scoop of carrot/stock
    in went a scoop of the carmalized onions..
    1/2 cup Ham chunks
    and filled it with stock..
    decided only 1/2 tsp reg salt.
    lid and ring on and into the canner
    I did not heat up anything… everything went in cold and cold water in the canners.. so it could all get to blowing steam for the 10 min required..
    Do read up and follow your canner’s instructions
    @ 10#s pressure for 90 min..
    got that going….Now time to fill the pints.. so lined them all up on the counter..a bit of ham 1/4 cup, scoop onion,and carrot, and this time…Northern beans.Generous 1/3 cup….bought at the salvage store for next to nothing and stored in a gallon jar foodsaved down.heheh.
    filled each jar.. used only 1/4 tsp salt capped and ringed and into the canner for… 75 min @ 10#s
    I HAVE NEVER EVER IN MY LIFE TASTED ANYTHING SO GOOD.. TRULY,,, EVEN IF I DID MAKE IT..
    THEY WERE GOOD COLD RIGHT FROM THE JAR.. AND HOT IN A BOWL… I want to drain some later and make baked beans and see how that comes out..
    gotta be good…
    Thanks again Lane for the Jerk on my Chain to get me to go in this direction…You are a shining Star for this ole gal…hehehhe
    Now ..that’s my story and I’m stickin’ to it.. and you better bet I will do this again… now off to the kitchen to cook up the black eyed pea’s and collards for New Years Day..
    Blessings to all
    Sheila in GA

  7. Sheila says:

    My friend..
    on the soak.. what I would do and usually do, do is………………
    Put the beans in the jar.. fill with water.. let set for 4 hrs?? drain I put my small strainer over the mouth of the jar and turn it over.. refill the jars with water… let set till I go to bed.. drain again.. set overnight.. drain when I get up ..this time I would put all the goodies in the jar we spoke of.. and into the canner for the same time we did… And turn on the Heat…..
    BUT I MUST SAY.. THERE WAS VERY LITTLE GAS FROM THE ONES JUDY AND I ATE.. SMALL AMOUNT BUT GOOD LORD THEY ARE BEANS AFTER ALL..HEHEH.. BUT TRULY.. CHANGING THE WATER DOES REMOVE THE ENZIMES THAT CAUSE THE GAS.. AND WITH GASTRIC BY PASS,, small tummy… DOING YOUR WAY I DID HAVE TO TAKE A SWIG OF LIQ ANTI ACID WHO KNOW MAYBE I WOULD THE OTHER WAY TO.. BUT I WILL
    FOR SURE.. DO THIS AGAIN AND AGAIN AND EAT MORE BEANS FOR SURE..HEHEHHE
    Thank you My Friend..

  8. Lane says:

    Aw, Sheila … I love you, girl! :)

    Thanks for posting your experience with this recipe! You’ve just proved not one but two things I often say about canning.

    One, having canned stockpiles of things like various meat stocks, soup bases, caramelized onions, etc. is an AWESOME idea … because they give you the things you need–on hand, fresh and ready when you need them–to use for meals … AND for other canning projects, too! My rows of caramelized onions (from the 50# of onions I bought for $4.97) and canned carrots (from the 25# of carrots I bought for $4.97) get added to new canning projects all the time … and if I’ve still got any left two years from now … or three … or even more … they’ll still have plenty of life in them!

    And two, take an approved canning recipe … and make it your own! As you can see from Sheila soaking her beans, you can change some of the processes to better suit you/your diet preferences … as long as you maintain the required canning heat/pressure/duration in the end. Spices are pretty much a non-issue in canning–within reason, of course–so you can swap out seasonings as much as you want/require to make it taste right to you. You can also subtract–or even add–different meats and vegetables to your canned goodies, as long as you stay within the guidelines set forward by the USDA and NCHFP for approved foods and canning heat/style/duration. If the NCHFP gives you a recipe/method for canning that particular food … then it’s an appropriate addition to any canning recipe.

    So thank you, Sheila … for showing us how you made my recipe your own! :)

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