You Asked It!

Category: January 2017

Can I Home Can Creamed Soup?

Home canning
Combine individually canned foods to create your favorite soup!

Soup is a tasty winter meal. But not all types of soup can be safely canned at home. Here’s some cautions for creamed soup.

  • Creamed soups are best preserved by freezing for safety.
  • Creamed soups are thickened with flour or other thickeners. These slow the heat transfer through the jar. This could lead to botulism. The safest choice is to add thickening agents when preparing the soup to eat.
  • All dairy products are low acid foods and should never be canned. Add these to soups just before serving.
  • Noodles, pasta, rice, dumplings, barley, etc. should not be canned. These foods interfere with heat transfer through the jar. Add these just before serving.
  • Thickened or creamed tomato soup should not be canned. Instead, can tomato juice, tomato vegetable juice blend, or crushed tomatoes (without added vegetables). When ready to make the tomato soup, add seasoning, vegetables, and thickeners, as desired.

For more information, see


Home Canning Soup

So what soups are safe to can you ask? Vegetable soups with or without meat or meat broth may be safely canned using the process time that takes the longest time as an individual ingredient. Most soups will take 60 to 90 minutes to process in a pressure canner depending upon size (pints or quarts) and ingredients. Never can soup in half-gallon containers. Use caution to avoid packing ingredients into the jars. For vegetable soup, fill the jars half full of solids, add broth allowing 1 inch headspace and process in a pressure canner. Space is needed for the hot liquid to circulate between the food particles. Pieces of cooked beef or chicken can be added to the vegetables to make a vegetable meat soup.



Food Pantries and Food Safety

No matter if you have full access to food or limited access to food, everyone deserves safe food. While it is difficult to see food wasted, there is no benefit in giving away unsafe food. Here are some signs:

  • Packages crushed, torn, dented, leaking, rusty, punctured, etc.
  • Evidence of insects on packages or in the storage area.
  • Baby food past expiration date.
  • Damaged tamper-resistant seals.
  • Spoilage signs like mold, off odors, slimy food.
  • Cold food that is thawing or warm.
  • Uncertain handling history.

Learn more at


Cuisinart Food Processor Recall

Cuisinart food processors sold from July 1996 through December 2015 have been recalled due to a dangerous problem with the blades.

The riveted blades, held on by four rivets have come apart and broken pieces of the blade get into the food. At least 30 reports of mouth lacerations or tooth injuries have been reported.

If you have one of these food processors, learn more details at

Contact Cuisinart at:

877-339-2534 from 7 a.m. to 11 p.m. ET Monday through Friday and from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. ET Saturday and Sunday or online at and click on Product Recalls at the bottom of the page for more information.


Reducing Curdling in Cream Soup

soupLumpy cream soup may taste fine, but it doesn’t look very appetizing. Dairy ingredients are challenging in these soups. Here’s some tips to prevent curdling:

  • Prepare a warm milk/flour mixture to add to hot soup.
  • Stir some hot soup liquid into cold dairy product to temper it, then add to the soup.
  • Do not boil the soup after adding any dairy product, especially cheese.
  • Add acid to the milk instead of milk into the acid. This is especially important for tomato soup.

Source: Understanding Food: Principles and Preparation


Can Food Be Stored in the Snow?

SnowflakesPower outages are bound to happen at some point. During the winter, ice and snow can cause power outages for days. Can food be stored outside in the snow?

Keep in mind that a full freezer of food usually will keep about two days, if the door is kept shut. A half-full freezer will stay cold enough about a day. If you find that the power will be out longer, you may need to resort to other methods to preserve your frozen food. If it’s short-term, the best thing is to keep the freezer closed.

It’s tempting to use our giant outdoor “walk-in freezer” to store food, but storing food outside is not recommended by the USDA due to potential variable temperatures, unsanitary outdoor conditions and/or disturbances by animals. There can be temperature fluctuations from the sun’s rays, which could thaw the food.

Depending on the outdoor temperature, you may be able to store the food in impermeable covered plastic containers in an unheated garage or other place where the food won’t be disturbed. Monitor the temperature and the state of the food.



New Resource from Home Baking Association

The Home Baking Association, in cooperation with the Kansas State Department of Education Child Nutrition & Wellness division, has just released “A Baker’s Dozen Smart Snack Baking Recipes.”

The recipes are in compliance with Smart Snacks in School Standards.

There are 14 recipes and are available in two quantity cooking sizes, up to 50 servings. These recipes meet guidelines for foods sold in schools.

Learn more at


Celebrity Chefs Have Poor Food Safety Habits

Wash hands for 20 seconds
Wash hands for 20 seconds

Cooking shows are very popular to learn new cooking ideas and recipes. But the celebrity doesn’t always use good food handling practices.

Many will lick their fingers, touch their hair or dirty clothing, then touch food without washing their hands. In fact, not washing their hands was the most common hazard. The next problem was using the same cutting board between raw meat and vegetables to be served fresh. Not using a food thermometer to check meat doneness was also a problem.

Celebrity chefs’ purpose is to entertain and educate about food preparation techniques and helpful kitchen hints, which should include proper food safety practices.



Dry Cream Soup Mix

Canned cream soups can be high in fat, sodium, and calories. If you use cream soup often, try this homemade soup mix instead. When using the soup mix, add some chopped celery, chopped mushroom, or substitute chicken broth for the water to flavor the cream soup.

Dry Cream Soup Mix
Equal to 7 cans cream soup

2 cups instant nonfat dry milk
¾ cup cornstarch
¼ cup sodium free dry chicken bouillon
2 tablespoons dried minced onion flakes
1 teaspoon dried thyme leaves
1 teaspoon dried basil leaves
½ teaspoon ground pepper

Combine all ingredients and store in air tight container.

To use as a substitute for one can condensed soup:
Mix 1/3 cup dry mix and 1 ¼ cups water.
Stovetop: cook and stir with whisk until thickened.
Microwave: Using a large microwave safe bowl; cook on high for 2 or 3 minutes, stirring with whisk every 30 seconds until thick.

Nutrients per can-equivalent: 149 calories, 7 g protein, 0 g fat, 0 g saturated fat, 111 mg sodium, 4 mg cholesterol, 28 g carbohydrate, 0.5g fiber



Baking Can Cure the Blues

Young Woman Holding a Tray of Freshly Baked MuffinsI’ve always said baking bread is therapy for me. Now there’s some science to back that up. The study from New Zealand followed 658 young people in a 13 day study.

Some outcomes of the study showed that baking helps them focus on small tasks that are similar to meditation. This led to more enthusiasm and higher flourishing days. This just reinforces the idea that creativity is a positive experience for better well-being.

So enjoy that good feeling of taking freshly baked bread out of the oven!