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A beautiful bounty of home canned vegetable soup!

Last week while I was on vacation, my parents and I made vegetable soup.  A single batch recipe makes about 14 quarts of soup.  I had in mind that I wanted to share 3 quarts with friends who are always generous with me.  I hated to miss out on those 3 quarts, but giving the wholesome product of our labors was what I wanted to do.

Now, with this recipe, if you have a little extra of one thing or a little less of another it doesn’t really matter and you use what you have.  It just happened that this year the “little bit extras” yielded 3 extra quarts of soup!  If that isn’t a little life lesson, then I don’t know what is.  Don’t be afraid to share because you’ll find you always have what you need.

With that in mind, I’m sharing the recipe for the vegetable soup.  We’ve been making and canning this in my family for as long as I can remember; I know my mom’s been making it for over 50 years.  I hope it will be a favorite of your family too.

Barb’s Vegetable Soup Recipe
12-14 quarts

1 peck (2 gallons) of tomatoes (peeled, cored, and chopped)
1 quart carrots
1 pint (or one can) lima beans
1 pint (or one can) peas
1 single bag celery
3 green peppers
5 large onions
1 tablespoon paprika
½ cup salt
1 cup sugar
1 cup quick cook barley
½ cup (1 stick) butter or margarine

Clean and chop your vegetables.  If using canned peas and beans, don’t drain.  Cook the vegetables separately until just soft – don’t let them get mushy.  Boil the barley for 10 minutes.

Mix all ingredients together in a big pot and cook until it begins to boil.  After it’s at a boil, cook for 10 minutes.

Fill your prepared jars and, using a pressure canner, bring pressure to 5 pounds and cook for 2 minutes.

If you want to pressure cook your vegetables before adding all of the ingredients together:

Pressure cook carrots and celery with ½ cup water at 5 pounds for 2 ½ minutes.
Pressure cook onions and peppers with ½ cup water at 5 pounds for 1½ minutes.
I do not advise pressuring the beans and peas – they could clog the pressure vent and cause a dangerous and messy explosion!

When I open a jar of soup to serve it, I add cooked potatoes and meat and any other veggies I choose to throw in.  I cook the potatoes in beef broth and then add my soup, meat, and veggies right to the pot.  I’m known to add a shot of hot sauce, too.

Serve with bread, corn muffins, or biscuits and some sliced cheese and you’ll have a fabulous meal.  Enjoy!

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