Friday, June 11, 2010

It's a matter of....Chicken Soup.

One of my children loves Chicken Noodle Soup.  And, we have purchased plenty of premium soups to satisfy her love of this soup. 

I went to the local big box store and found the following as of 6/5/10.

As you can see from the pricing, an individual serving runs between $1.58 and $1.64 for an individual serving.

So, with the focus this week being upon soups as well, I thought I would find a recipe to can it myself.  One of the first tings that I learned was that I couldn't include one of the main ingredients that I like the best.  See the following:  Caution: Do not add noodles or other pasta, rice, flour, cream, milk or other thickening agents to home canned soups. If dried beans or peas are used, they must be fully rehydrated first.

That made be feel a little indignant!  Why can I buy commercially prepared soups with noodles and rice, but I cannot replicate it at home?  It seems that commercial canners have a specialized process that allows for the expansion of noodles and rice without turning them into a "mushy mess". 

However, I learned that I could can the rest of the soup.  Then, when it was time to serve, I can add my noodles or rice at that time.

I used the following recipe from which is the site for Ball.  This same recipe is in the Ball Blue Book of Preserving. 

The instructions suggest that you simmer chicken and vegetables to make your own chicken broth. for about 2 hours.  The length of time was initially daunting, but as I was working from home, I didn't have to babysit it and this turned out just fine. Another thing the recipe recommends is that you use whole chickens and debone them.  In addition, the recipe states that you need to 'skim' off the fat.  Now, those are 2 things I just wasn't interested in doing.  Problem solved, I purchased chicken tenders which were already skinned and deboned!

Dice your celery

Dice the carrots

And dice the onions.

When the chicken cools, cut it into chunks.

The recipe suggests bouillon cubes.  I used this flavored base that is wonderful in soups and stews.

Place it into your jars and process for 90 minutes at 15 lbs pressure for our altitude here in the Wasatch Front.

Let's discuss time and money:

First, let's start with time.  The actual hands on-time for cutting, stirring, and ladeling into jars was minutes for each step.  The cumulative time was about 4 hours....but I didn't have to stand there and babysit!.  I cleaned, organized, and worked on my computer.

Because I used chicken tenders, I realized that I have a lot more meat in these jars than a standard canned soup.  For the Roosters of the house....that is a great thing as they like this part as much as they like the noodles that will be added later.  Because I used Chicken tenders, the cost for the meat was about $10.00.

Now, let's look at the money aspect.  I calculated that it cost me $1.53 per pint to make this at home.  I probably could have saved money by using whole chickens like it suggested,  but that would involve much more time and the necessity for me to get over my phobia of touching meat.  Not an option for me!  This proves the point that making things from scratch is not always cheaper.

So, where is the value in this?  I have the skill set to make this and preserve it. In times of challenge, that is extremely valuable.  Also, the men in my family like the fact that there is more meat in this soup.  I could reduce the amount of tenders to bring the price down, and may do that in the future.

It's easy....easy.....easy.  It's worth looking into!

1 comment:

Unknown said...

There is no dollar value you can put on knowing what is in your own soup, and the quality of your own food! You are going to recycle those jars and use them again, so your soup is earth-friendly. Good job, keep up the good work!

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