February 9, 2016

"Just Add Noodles" Canned Chicken Soup

One of my favorite wintertime lunches is soup. Mostly I make a big pot of whatever leftovers I've got, but the other day I was thinking about chicken noodle soup. That's one thing that sounds good when a body is sick: easy on the stomach and easy on the soul. I thought it would be a good idea to have some in the pantry in case either Dan or I come down with a winter cold. However, noodles don't can well, so the full convenience of canned chicken noodle soup is lost for the home canner. So I made the next best thing, "Just Add Noodles" Chicken Soup.

Vegetables first. I add the veggies raw, so they aren't overly mushified
during the canning process. Here I'm dividing them amongst the jars.

The chicken has been heating in the broth and it's added next. By adding
the veggies and meat first, I know that the jars have equal amounts.

Then the jars are filled with the simmering seasoned chicken broth.

Processing is 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure for quart jars.

Broth taste testing by Snoopervisor Riley

At lunchtime I add the noodles and cook them in the simmering soup. This actually works better for us, because one quart is just a little shy of filling two meal-size soup bowls.

Half a dozen jars was a good start.

What's a favorite wintertime meal for you?

39 comments:

Fiona said...

Ralph enjoys a good pancake breakfast in winter, with bacon and a cup of hot chocolate. I love soup! This winter with the roosters to process, canning soup is on my to do list. Your post was perfect timing. Your right about a quart being a good size for two. What kind of noodles do you add to the soup?

Kris said...

When you pressure cook the quarts, do the veg turn into mush or is there still texture when you 'simmer up & add noodles'. I've never pressure canned, so don't know these nigling little things. Soup looks terrific, BTW!

Leigh said...

Pancakes are our favorite Sunday breakfast! (Unless I'm overloaded with eggs, in which case it's french toast).

I use any kind of noodles I have on hand, although I like flat or egg noodles best. I just found a source of semolina flour, so I hope to try my own noodle making soon.

Leigh said...

I'd call them very soft. When I first started canning soup (with meat, which is why it needs the 90-minute processing time for quarts) I used cooked veggies but they were truly mush after cooking. By adding them raw, they still look like themselves, but they are very soft.

Sandy said...

Leigh,
We love homemade Chicken noodle or rice soup especially when one of us are sick. Another of our favorite is minestrone soup. I have to agree, you're better off adding the pasta after the fact. I try to keep several quart jars with homemade soup in the pantry. It goes fast, as does my homemade bone broth.

Ed said...

Never thought of doing that but I'm fairly certain I will be doing it in my future!

Leigh said...

It's true, Sandy, you can never can enough soup! (Or bone broth).

Leigh said...

This was a learning-the-hard-way experience. :) My first batches had mushified veggies - not pleasant at all.

Rain said...

Hi Leigh,
I'm in the beginning stages of food preservation, I ordered a water-bath canner and it's on the way. Did you start that way or did you go into the pressure canning right away. Also, do you find you use the pressure canner more? I'm just learning about what can be canned with each process.

Renee Nefe said...

Hi Rain, I'm pretty new to canning as well so I thought I would jump in here. I find that I can more with my pressure canner...mostly because the things I like to can require that. So far the only thing that I have water bath canned is apple butter. But I've done a lot of broths and just recently beans in the pressure canner.

Renee Nefe said...

I'll have to give this a try once my garden is in. Right now I have a bunch of quarts of broth ready to make soups from, but our weather has been so funny that I haven't needed to make soup yet. Although I expect that I'll be doing that soon as we're getting to our heavy snow season here.
My car is wearing it's permanent coat of mud. ;)

Rain said...

Thanks Renee :)
I wish I had all the equipment! Everything is so expensive when you need it. I think a pressure canner would be a very wise investment...and lots of Mason jars!

Mountain Mama said...

What a fantastic idea!! I just made Chicken Noodle Soup this weekend with whole wheat noodles - guess what was for lunch today? :)

Debby Riddle said...

Great idea!

Quinn said...

I've been making a big pot of soup about once weekly, dictated by whatever is on sale (this week it was haddock, so I made fish chowder - a rare treat!) or whatever I can uproot from the freezer. I freeze one container of the soup, then stretch the remainder out for 3 or 4 days by adding more stuff to it each day - other vegetables, rice, etc. I love your idea, though, and this is the kind of thing that makes me think it would be very nice to have access to a pressure canner. It would be lovely to open a jar of homemade soup anytime the urge strikes!

Kev Alviti said...

My friend has now got a propper pressure canner so I'm going to push her for a canning session making something like this together! It would be great to have these almost ready meals in the store!

Leigh said...

Gosh, Rain, that was so long ago that it's hard to remember, LOL. Yes, I started with water bath canning first: jams, jellies, pickles, applesauce, and tomato sauce. When I could afford it, I bought a pressure canner and expanded to green beans and other veggies, eventually soups. My go-to books have always been the Ball Blue Book and Putting Food By. Two excellent online resources for canning information are Pick Your Own and The National Center For Home Food Preservation.

You're right that the equipment is expensive and that's especially true of a pressure canner. If you buy a used one, you can take it to your county cooperative extension office and they can check it out for you and verify that it reaches and maintains the correct pressure. They will also have lots of home canning information there for free. Many of them offer canning classes too, also for free.

I can't say I use either one more, it depends on the kind of food to be canned. Only high acid foods can be processed in a boiling water bath. High pH foods like green vegetables, carrots, and meats need temperatures only attainable under pressure. To have a well stocked pantry it's good to be able to do both.

Does that answer your questions? It's a wonderful feeling to grow and preserve your own food.

Leigh said...

It had been a strange winter indeed! We're heading into another frigid spell so soup will be very welcome!

Leigh said...

Whole wheat chicken noodle soup sounds yummy!

Leigh said...

Just trying to be prepared!

Leigh said...

My best kinds of soups are like that and it seems that they flavor just gets better. I confess to liking jarred soups because I tend to forget about (or lose) things in the freezer. But is sure is easier to freeze them!

Leigh said...

Kev, that's it exactly - home made convenience foods! Another favorite is to take home canned chicken, make a gravy from the broth, and then top with dumplings or biscuits for a country chicken pie.

Deborah said...

I really like the idea of adding the vegetables raw and before the broth. That way, I would have better control over the amount in each jar :). Thx, for a great idea.

Leigh said...

That's exactly why I started doing it that way! Definitely makes for consistent jars.

Rain said...

Thanks so much for the detailed reply! You know, there is so much information online that it gets a little overwhelming. I actually bought an e-copy of the Ball Blue Book and I know the Pick Your Own site very well. Well, the water-bath canner will hopefully be here in a few weeks, though I have nothing to can right now lol...winter in northern Quebec! But I've got a list of U-Pick farms nearby that I'm going to hit starting this summer; and I'm planning my own good-sized garden this year too. It IS a wonderful feeling to know that I'll be able to preserve my own food. We just got a chest freezer in November so I'm freezing stuff, but I guess I really need one of those food savers because I'm noticing frost on my chicken already after just a month in the freezer. I tried to get all the air out on my own, but I guess it's not very efficient! I'll keep an eye on Amazon, sometimes they have awesome prices on appliances.

Leigh said...

Sounds like you've been doing some good research on your own.

Out of curiosity, what are you wrapping your chicken in? I use freezer paper for my meats and don't have trouble with frost. The only time I have trouble with that is when I use plastic freezer bags.

Cozy Thyme Cottage said...

Cold and snowy here today in NW Indiana! A bowl of your chicken noodle soup would have tasted so good!!! Nancy

Rain said...

Hmmm...plastic freezer bags, though I do double them. I've never seen freezer paper around here, but I will certainly look for it.

Leigh said...

I don't think freezer bags do a very good job, but freezer paper isn't easy to find. I found Reynolds brand at only one grocery store in our area and use that. I recently read that Super Loxol brand extends life in the freezer for 12 months or more. I'll have to mail order it, but I'd like to give it try.

A couple of other ideas:
~ Put your bagged items in paper bags. Paper is supposed to help prevent freezer burn. I use cardboard boxes too, for storing my bags of mozzarella cheese in the freezer. Never any ice when I defrost them.
~ Wrap first in wax paper then brown paper. (The wax paper will help keep blood and juices from leaking when the meat is defrosted.) Dan suggested this one and I plan to try it next time I freeze meat.

Leigh said...

We've got another bout of cold weather too! It was supposed to snow yesterday but held off. Soup weather for sure! Stay warm Nancy!

Val said...

I could use a little of your soup today Leigh, I have have a terrible cold. I wonder if your recipe would work as well for freezing?

Leigh said...

Absolutely it should work for freezing! I tend not to freeze soup (except small amounts of leftovers) because I don't have room in my freezer. But any soup should freeze beautifully and make a handy meal. :)

Rain said...

Thank you for the tips! I was only able to find freezer paper on Amazon.ca. I do have some paper bags that I bought at the dollar store. Do you think I can unwrap what's frozen (I freeze 2 chicken breasts together at a time), re-wrap them in wax paper then brown paper? Or best to leave them be? I don't want them to defrost. I hope all the questions aren't bothersome. Thanks for your expertise, I'm pretty new at this!

Leigh said...

I don't know why you couldn't do it that way. They shouldn't defrost in the amount of time it would take to do that. On the other hand, I don't know why you couldn't simply put them as-is in paper bags. Maybe do a little of each to see if one method seems to work better than the other!

Questions are never bothersome. I believe in the homesteading lifestyle and have the same problems as everybody else in finding information. I've been at it a little longer than you, but I started at the beginning too. Encouraging and helping one another is what makes us a community. :)

Rain said...

I appreciate that! :) I'll take all the advice that I can get!

LeaDawn Grant said...

I love this idea! When I make stock, I usually freeze it, or freeze complete chicken noodle soup, but I love this idea for a quick meal. Thanks for sharing!

Leigh said...

LeaDawn, hello and welcome! Yes, no need to plan ahead and defrost anything! Takes some time to process, so I suppose time-wise it all balances out. :)

Molly said...

That is a great idea!!

Leigh said...

Thanks!