Day 37: Split Pea and Ham Soup

Split Pea and Ham Soup
Day Thirty-Seven (26.06.2012)
Processing: Pressure Canner 75 mins (pints)
Yield: 8 - 10 cups / 4 - 5 pints

What a miserable, cold today has been - perfect soup weather and a good excuse to try out canning soup. I am very happy with the result (we had a jar of it for dinner tonight), much healthier (lower in fat, more vegetables) than the normal way I make pea and ham soup, and less messy this way too! Perfect on a busy night to heat a tin up for a speedy dinner :(^_^):
simmering vegetables until soft
Prepare all of your ingredients firstly. Wash, peel and dice carrots, celery and onion. Cook these on medium heat, in a big stock/soup pot for about 5 minutes so they soften. You don't want any stage of preparing the soup to brown/burn, just simmer gently each step to allow the flavours to concentrate. If the vegetables start to stick, add a half cup of water. While the vegetables simmer, rinse the peas and pick out any discoloured peas. Add the peas, minced garlic and hot chicken stock to the pot, mixing well to combine. Simmer for 50-60 minutes or until peas are soft and tender.

add ham, simmer 20mins
Dice ham and add to soup, simmering for a further 20 minutes while you pre-heat your jars and lids. Bring jars to a boil in a large pot of water covering them, boiling for 10 minutes. Bring seals and rings to a simmer in a saucepan covered with water for 10 minutes. While they're heating you can pre-heat the water in the pressure canner too. You don't want hot jars cracking if they go into cold/cool water! [Hot soup goes into hot jars then into hot water]

soup is ready to process
ladling into jars, leave a 1" headspace
Add an extra cup of hot water if soup thickens too much (should be at serving consistency before canning, will thicken during processing). Season well, then ladle hot soup into pint-sized jars, to 1 inch (2.5cm) headspace. Remove bubbles, adding extra soup (if required) to 1 inch (2.5cm) headspace. Wipe rims, apply seals and twist bands on to fingertip-tight.  Place hot jars into pressure canner (which has 2 inches of hot water already inside). Attach pressure canner lid and heat on high until visible white steam has vented for 10 minutes. Add weight and bring up to 10 pounds pressure then process for 75 minutes (pints) at this pressure. Once finished, turn off heat, allow pressure to return to zero before venting then remove lid. Remove jars after 5 minutes to a tea towel-covered bench to rest overnight. The next day remove bands, label and store in a cool, dark place for up to 12 months. I made 4 1/2 pints of soup following this recipe.
To serve: heat contents for at least 10 minutes, stirring well to ensure contents are heated through, adding extra water if soup is too thick. Serve with fresh crusty bread.

dinner is served!
1 cup diced carrots (approx 4)
1 cup diced celery (approx 3 sticks)
1 cup diced onion (approx 1 large or 2 medium)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 bay leaf
16oz (500g) dried green split peas
8 cups hot chicken stock (homemade or add 2 stock cubes to 8 cups boiling water)
1 cup diced cooked ham
Today I purchased some more tamarillos (planning tamarillo jam in the next day or two). I also received my package of vanilla beans in the mail today. $40 incl postage for 250g (1/2 pound) of vanilla beans, that's less than 50c per bean (compared to $6+ in the shops), SCORE for me! Oh and the cherry season has just started in Australia so I bought just over a kilo (2 pounds) - don't know if many will make it to be canned as they are so juicy and sweet, yum :)

250g (1./2 lb) for under $40 incl p.
first cherry season
is beginning in Australia, yum!

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