As I am very (im)patiently awaiting more of my garden goodies to be ready – I’m looking at you yard-long beans and tomatoes – I needed to mix up my canning routine of pickle after pickle. Queue in the HUGE bag of onions on my kitchen counter that my lovely husband purchased just in case. Mulling through the ‘All New Ball Book of Canning and Preserving,’ I stumbled upon the perfect solution – French Onion Soup in a Jar! Since we quickly ate through our surplus of Pot Roast in a Jar (still a WINNER in our book), we needed to start prepping for our Fall/Winter meal pantry stocks.
Before we get started – I REALLY wish I could convey how amazing this smells while cooking! I even texted my mom asking how to get Willy Wonka’s Smell-O-Vision to share the mouthwatering fragrance.
In the mean time, the rest of our garden is doing wonderfully. Zucchini (as expected) are in abundance, cucumbers keep sneaking up on us, our pepper plants are loaded (for the first time ever!) and our chickens have decided to stop being free loaders and laid their first eggs.
French Onion Soup in a Jar
[Yield: (4) Quarts or (8) Pints]
Materials: (all materials can be found on The Necessities for reference)
- 8 pint jars (plus flat lids and bands/rings) [Hint: As always, I recommend an extra jar or two ]
- 1 pressure canner
- The canner I used has the 3-piece pressure regulator instead of the dial gauge
- 1 funnel
- 1 jar lifter
- 1 stainless steel ladle
- 1 large bowl or pot
- 1 large stainless steel pot (or dutch oven)
- 1 dish towel (large enough for the jars to cool on)
[Note: When canning with quart jars, your processing time will increase]
- 4 lbs onions of your choice
- 1 tbsp butter (I used unsalted)
- 3 cups dry white wine (I used Charddonay)
- 3 quarts of broth or stock of your choice (I used a combination of beef stock and vegetable broth)
- 1 tbsp non-iodized salt
- Dry spices of your choosing (Dried spices do not impact the safety of pH of your soup so mix it up!)
- I used the following:
- 1 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp dried whole thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- Inspect each of your jars for cracks, chips, and/or any other questionable markings before use.
- Inspect pressure canner per Inspecting your Pressure Canner.
- Place canning rack into bottom of the pressure canner. Note that this is different from what we use on the water bath – it is a single metal disk that lays at the bottom of the canner to keep the glass jars off the bottom.
- Pour 3 quarts of water (and 2 tbsp of vinegar if using – the vinegar is to help prevent discoloration of the canner) into the pressure canner and then place on burner to warm jars (simmer but do not boil). (No matter how many jars you can safely fit in the canner, you will always use 3 quarts of water. As the pressure builds up, it creates steam and will cook the food to safe internal temperatures and does not require the jars to be submerged.)
- Thinly slice onions with either a knife or mandoline slicer and set aside in a large bowl.
- In your large stainless steel pot (or dutch oven), melt the tablespoon of butter.
- Once melted, pour in your onion, all dried spices, salt, and 2 cups of your dry white wine (save your last cup for later – Step 10).
- Stir together, and cover for 1 hour, stirring occasionally.
- After an hour, uncover and continue stirring until your onions are golden in color. Notice that some of it will stick to the bottom of the pot and turn brown. This will only help improve the overall flavor.
[At this time, I went ahead and removed my bay leaves but you can leave them in, if you wish.]
- Once golden, pour in remaining cup of wine and cook for an additional 2 minutes working to remove all of your brown bits from the bottom of the pot.
- After the two minutes, pour in your broth/stock of choice.
- Bring your onion and broth/stock mixture to a boil. Then, turn down to a simmer and stir, uncovered, for 15 minutes.
- Remove empty jars from pressure canner by using jar lifter.
- Using your funnel, pour your french onion soup into each heated jar leaving 1in head space. [Head space is the distance from the top of the jar to the food filling the jar.]
- Wipe the rim of each jar with a damp cloth ensuring that the rims are clean.
- Place flat lid and screw band on jar and finger tighten.
[Hint: Place the jar on a towel and using only your fingers, tighten the band until your jar spins on the towel. This will help eliminate the chance of over tightening the lids which could then buckle.]
- Once finger tightened, return to pressure canner to avoid thermal shock.
[Thermal shock is the cracking of jars from an extreme temperature swing such as putting hot food into a cold jar.]
- Place lid on canner and lock into place.
[Note, if using a weighted pressure canner, do not place weight on lid vent pipe. If using a gauge pressure canner, only have the gauge in place, do not put pressure regular on vent pipe]
- Return burner to medium-high heat.
- After a few minutes, the vent pipe should start expelling steam. Adjust temperature on stove top to maintain a steady stream. Once achieved, set timer for 10 minutes.
- After 10 minutes, place weight (10 lbs) or pressure regulator on vent pipe.
- Weighted pressure canner: adjust heat until weight rocks at a slow stead pace. Once rocking, set timer for 1 hour (pints) or 1hr & 15 minutes (quarts). If weight stops rocking, this indicates that you are below temperature and processing time must restart.
Dial gauge canner: adjust heat until gauge reads 11 psi. Once pressure is achieved, set timer for 1 hour (pints) or 1hr & 15 minutes (quarts). If the gauge ever drops below pressure, this indicates that you are below temperature and processing time must restart.
- As the pressure builds, the lid lock should popup indicating that pressure is building and that the lid is safely locked in place.
- For both methods, verify elevation using Elevation Rules and adjust accordingly.
- After 1 hour/1hr 15mins, turn off heat and let canner cool on its own. Do not remove regulator or weight until canner is cool, lock is down, and no pressure remains in vessel. (This can easily take upwards of a half-hour if not more).
- Once the canner is cool and no pressure remains, remove regulator or weight and wait an additional 10 minutes.
- Remove canner lid (careful to open away from you) and use the jar lifter to remove your filled jars and place on a towel in a cool & draft-free location.
- Wait 24 hours before touching the jars. After 24 hours, remove the bands and pick up each jar from the flat lid (this will help ensure that each jar is truly sealed). Once the seal is verified, you may wash the exterior of the jars, dry, label, and store for future use.
When you are ready to serve, dump the contents of the jar into a sauce pan and simmer until warm throughout. Serve in your favorite bread-bowl, or topped with melted cheese – you won’t be disappointed.