The easiest pumpkin soup recipe ever and … my pressure canner to the rescue

Everyone has their favourite pumpkin soup recipe.  My favourite is one I have posted before – Pumpkin, cashew and coriander soup.  It is a beauty (check it out here) but it does take a bit of effort.  And there are plenty of times when effort does not figure.  For those times, I have been dreaming of a recipe my mum used to make.  I had it hand written in my recipe book but somehow I lost it.  I did ask my sisters but to no avail.   I remembered the ingredients – chicken stock, pumpkin, tomatoes and onion but I couldn’t remember the proportions.

The other day, I walked under the house and saw 10 large pumpkins sitting on an old bed frame (which Maus got from the tip and serves as my vegetable airer).  They are the result of a pumpkin plant that self seeded in my neglected summer vegie patch.  Originally, I grew pumpkins because I put it in the dogs’ food but we don’t have dogs any more.  We don’t eat much pumpkin so they have just been sitting on the frame forgotten.  I decided to make pumpkin soup.

I searched on-line for another recipe I have been using and noticed a hit on Google for pumpkin and tomato soup – one click and I had it.  I was very excited.  It was the recipe mum used.  This recipe is dead simple and very tasty.

Ingredients:

  • 3 cups chicken stock
  • 1 kg pumpkin
  • 410g can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 onion
  • salt & pepper
  • cream, to serve
  1. Peel and dice the pumpkin and finely chop the onion.
  2. Put all the ingredients into a saucepan and cook until the pumpkin is soft.
  3. Puree until smooth, taste and season as necessary.
  4. Serve with a dollop of cream, if desired.

Now that is an exceptionally quick and very tasty pumpkin soup recipe.  It is the only recipe I used to make until I lost it.  The only problem is, I have 10 large pumpkins and one kilo of pumpkin was not going to put much of a dent into that pile so I decided to make five times the recipe and pressure can it.

Five times the recipe made eleven and a half litres of soup.  We have tested the soup and it is as good as I remember.  It was so successful I have bought five more onions to make another 5 x batch tomorrow.

I have already written a detailed post on how wonderful my pressure canner is (check it out here).  If you have a vegie patch, I suggest you really consider a pressure canner. No matter how hard you try, you always end up with a glut of vegetables and there is only so much stuff you want in your freezer.  They are a bit nerve racking at first but they are easy to use and it is a great way to preserve food.

My earlier post includes detailed instructions on how to can soup.  If you are considering canning this soup recipe, please, read that post before proceeding.  Here is an excerpt from it.

The critical thing with pressure canning soup is:

  1. Cut the vegetables into even cubes, about 1 centimetre
  2. Cook the soup as you usually would.
  3. Add the solids to 500 mil (1 pint)  jars until they are about half full.
  4. Add the liquid leaving ½ inch head space
  5. Follow the instructions that came with the canner.

There are only two things to remember.  You cannot blend the ingredients; nor can you thicken the soup, until you open the jar.  This is because blended or thickened soup is too thick to reach the temperatures needed to kill all possible bugs.  But this is not a big deal.  When you open a jar, you can easily use a stick blender in the pot or bowl you are heating it up in.  If a thickener is called for, you can add that at this stage, too.

I followed the instruction in my previous post.  The only difference was this time I used litre jars rather than 500 mils jars.  Litre jars require one inch head space to be left and to be processed in the canner for 80 minutes at 11 lb pressure.

A country life… all you need is patience

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About 18 months ago, I decided we needed a retaining wall built behind our garage.  I was reluctant to call the guy who had built another wall for us.  It was not that the garden wall he had built was not good – in fact, it was bloody good.  The problem was he took ages and ages to come.  I remember ringing him on a regular basis until, finally, he arrived.  When he did come, he came with a smile, did a good job and did things over and above what was called for.

In the end, I decided to risk it and called, let us name him, ***.

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A dog day afternoon

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It’s summer glut time and I’m suffering badly.  I find it impossible to let produce go to waste.  And I don’t like giving away produce if I think I may need it sometime in the forth coming year.  Cucumbers I am happy to give away because I am determined not to make any more relish or pickles until we have eaten what is in the pantry – and there is not much else you can do with cucumbers. Continue reading

Candied pumpkin

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I still have 14 pumpkins from last year’s crop and I am told it is very difficult (impossible?) to store them over summer.  Shit!  I was under the impression that they could last out the year.

Oh, well, …  I haven’t given up hope.  Everything I have read says keep them in a cool dry place.  As you all know, there is no such place during an Australian summer.  The only other advice I have read to prolong their life is to wipe them with disinfectant.  This protects them from  bacteria.  I washed my pumpkins in diluted Pine-O-Cleen, made sure they were perfectly dry, then put them in the cool room.  Here’s hoping.

Postscript:  I have just read this post where a pumpkin soaked in a weak bleach solution was still perfect after nine months.  There is hope. Continue reading

Kasundi

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 After a cry for help regarding the abundance of tomatoes in my vegie patch, I received the following comment from a reader named Jenny:

What about some kasundi with the next batch? We love it, and eat lots of it – with curries, as a marinade for meat, as a cooking sauce (thinned with bottled tomatoes), stirred into stews etc, with sour cream as a dip or topping, with cheese …

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Passionfruit Jam (Revisited)

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As you all know, I recently made passionfruit jam (and did a post on it).  I was intrigued by the idea of making jam from the soft inside part of the passionfruit shells so I decided to give it a go.  I was very pleased with the result.  The jam tastes amazingly good but is quite thick and both Maus and I prefer our jam to be on the runny side. Continue reading