At the beginning of August I came home after three weeks away in Juneau. Kyle had tended the garden well while I was gone and I found that many of our plants had become enormous. We had collard greens that were bigger than my head!
I was joyous at first, but then a near panic set in as I thought, “How are we going to eat all of this?” I pondered trying to harvest the greens daily and have them with dinner. Then I realized that this plan wouldn’t work because we also had an excessive amount of lettuce that had to be harvested and eaten daily. We love our vegetables, but we didn’t want to wreak havoc on our digestive systems.
Then I realized something, I could use my new pressure canner to can some soups! I was a bit nervous about the process, the only thing I had only used the pressure cooker for was to can meats (caribou, salmon). I did extensive research about the process and learned that as long as I didn’t put potatoes or pasta in the soup, it should work.
I harvested the collards and made a minestrone. When the soup was done I ladled it into pint jars and put them in the canner. I got the canner up to pressure and then anxiously awaited the results. This, by the way, is the hardest part of canning, you can’t see what it is doing! After the process was done and the pressure was back at zero I took the jars out. After they cooled a bit I popped open one of the jars to sample the soup.
Yum! The soup had tasted good before I put it into the jars, but something about the pressure cooking had caused the flavors to blend even more. I was happy that it turned out. But what I’m really happy about is that now I have soup on hand for the winter. On those days when I’m tired and don’t want to cook dinner I can now just pull out a jar of homemade soup with vegetables from our own garden!