Pea soup, the good country food of peasant stock for generations previous, has started to reach gourmet-level prices in grocery stores for unknown reasons.
You can make your own at home for pennies a jar.
If you have the storage space, you may wish to consider doing a big batch of this by doubling or tripling the recipe so that you are stocked up for the year.
This is a tested recipe from both Ball and Bernardin.
Note: this can be very thick before canning. Feel free to thin it down with some water. It’s safe to *lower* the density. But don’t add tons of extra water or you may get unsightly separation of soup and water in the jars (not that that’s unsafe, just less attractive on the shelf.) So, there’s a fine balance to learn as you make the recipe the first few times.
Tip: Try mixing a jar of this with a jar of the carrot soup in a pot, heat through and serve. Very nice — especially with some hot baking-powder biscuits from your DIY Biscuit Mix.
Jar size choices: Either ¼ litre (½ US pint / 250 ml / 8 oz) OR ½ litre (1 US pint / 500 ml/ 16 oz) OR 1 litre (1 US quart / 32 oz)
Processing method: Pressure canning
Yield: 5 x half-litre (1 US pint) jars. 10 cups.
Headspace: 3 cm (1 inch)
Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.)
Processing time: Quarter and half-litres (pints and half-pints) 75 minutes; litres (quarts) 90 minutes.
Home canned pea soup
- 2 litres water (8 cups / 64 oz)
- 500 g split peas (dry) (about 1 pound / 2 cups)
- 3 carrots (medium. Peeled, finely chopped. About 1 ½ cups / 250 g, measured after prep.)
- 1 onion (medium-large, chopped finely. About 150 g / 5 oz / 1 cup)
- 150 - 200 g ham (cooked, diced. About 1 cup)
- 1 bay leaf
- salt (To taste. See Recipe Notes)
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ teaspoon allspice (ground)
- 3 tablespoons lemon juice (fresh or bottled. For taste, not safety)
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (or Maggi)
- Put peas and water in large pot. Bring to the boil, reduce to a low simmer, and let simmer covered until peas are soft, about 1 hour.
- Purée through blender (optional).
- Add remainder of ingredients, simmer for 30 minutes.
- Adjust seasoning.
- Fish out bay leaf.
- Put into hot jars.
- Leave 3 cm (1 inch) headspace, regardless of jar size.
- Wipe rims, apply lids, set in pressure canner.
- Process pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.).
- Process time: 75 minutes for ¼ litre and ½ litre (½ US pint and 1 US pint), OR 90 minutes for 1 litre / US quart.
Processing times for pea soup
Processing guidelines below are for weighted-gauge pressure canners. For dial-gauge adjustments, follow guidelines here .
|Jar Size||Time||0 to 300 m (0 - 1000 feet) pressure||Above 300 m (1000 ft) pressure|
|¼ litre (½ US pint)||75 mins||10 lbs||15 lb|
|½ litre (1 US pint)||75 mins||10 lbs||15 lb|
|1 litre (1 US quart)||90 mins||10 lbs||15 lb|
How to pressure can, step by step.
When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.
Shelf life for home canned goods
- Measure the split peas dry. Don’t soak them first. In fact, you don’t soak them for any recipe that we know of, canning or non-canning.
- You can use a food processor to chop up the carrot and onion finely.
- Yes, you must peel the carrots. You are reducing the bacterial load going into the canner.
- If you want to purée the peas, you will get better results in a blender than in a food processor.
- The lemon juice and Maggi / Worcestershire sauce are just there as acids to wake up the taste of the peas, they have no preservative effect in this recipe. You could also try a teaspoon or so of a mild vinegar such as white wine vinegar to wake up the taste.
- Salt to taste. It’s here as a seasoning, not for safety. Try from 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons of salt or of a non-bitter, non-clouding salt sub. We have found Herbamare Sodium-Free performs well in that regard.
- To help balance flavour, at the end you can try adding some sugar a few tablespoons at a time, or some splenda or a few drops of liquid stevia.
- Easily doubled and tripled.
- If you are doubling the recipe, you can get 7 x 1 litre (US quart) jars if you add more water or stock to thin it out (it’s quite a thick soup otherwise, anyway, and can often thicken more during canning. It’s safe to *lower* the density.)
- You can use yellow or green split peas.
- You may safely omit the ham. Omitting the ham does not reduce the processing time.
- The cooking time on this might seem long, but it really only needs about 30 to 60 minutes of your active time, including prep, bottling the soup and clean-up.
- Tip: if you have some nice vegetable stock in the freezer drained off from your home canned veggie, this is a great place to use it for depth of background flavour.
Split Pea Soup. In: Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. Daleville, Indiana: Hearthmark LLC. Edition 37. 2014. Page 107.
Habitant soup. In: Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013. Page 94.
- Added lemon juice and maggi / Worchestershire sauce for sourness to wake up taste of peas, plus optional sweetening;
- Increased allspice by ¼ teaspoon;
As nourishing as a jar of this soup is, it still packs a whallop in calories, so we have suggested the smaller quarter-litre (½ US pint / 8 oz / 250 ml) jars as an alternative size, simply because one tends to eat all of a jar once it is opened. That size of jar still requires the full processing time as for the half-litre (1 US pint) jars.
Per 1 cup (250 ml / 8 oz / ¼ litre)
- 215 calories, 1640 mg sodium
Per 1 cup (250 ml / 8 oz / ¼ litre)
- 215 calories, 244 mg sodium
- Weight Watchers :
- 1 cup (250 ml / 8 oz): 0 SmartPoints (5 points PointsPlus®)
- 2 cups (500 ml / 16 oz): 0 SmartPoints (9 points)
* Nutrition info provided by https://caloriecount.about.com
* PointsPlus™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® registered trademark.
* Better Stevia ® is a registered trademark of the NOW Foods Company.
* Herbamare ® is a registered trademark of the A. Vogel Corporation.
I have only 2 lbs of split peas so was considering using lentils for the 3rd lb in order to triple the recipe and do a full canner. Would the substitution of lentils be ok?
You would need to ask Ball or Bernardin if they have any qualms about that.
I would like to make this recipe, but without the ham. Does the processing time reduce because of not using meat?
You can omit the ham. The processing time will remain the same.
Good day, where I live we use the yellow split peas to make thin dal/dahl/daal. I’m thinking it may be safe (but still checking in case I’m missing something) to omit the carrot, ham, lemon and Worcestershire sauce and replace the dried spices with coriander/fenugreek/clove/cinnamon/curry leaf, cumin, mustard seed etc. Maybe asafoetida in place of the garlic( unless you actually think I can add a couple cloves!!!). Usually these spices are heated in very hot oil, but I will dry roast them and add to the pea/onion mixture. Basically, I’m removing seasoning ingredients and replace with dried spices.
Please let me know if this is acceptable. Thank you.
That actually sounds like it would be safe. Yes to the asafoetida, too.
I made a double batch of split pea soup omitting the ham. It was processed in pint jars under pressure for 75 minutes at 10 lbs. Every jar leaked, most leaving only about 1/2 jar. What went wrong?
You have to take the pressure up and done very slowly on this recipe. Even so, you may get some venting. As long as the jars seal, they are good.
I made this and found it super thick. I added a lot of extra water. I had a lot of siphoning maybe half inch per jar on first load of quarts. Now doing a load of pints, I agree that smaller jars for this soup make sense. As I am adding extra water, could celery, red pepper and sweet potato be added?
It does come out really thick; we always add loads of extra water. When it’s super thick, it just burps in the jars like java. We’re not in a position to okay adding celery, red pepper and sweet potato — you’d need to ask the originators of the recipe, Ball or Bernardin. But you can always doctor it up upon opening!
I made this as a double batch and canned it – today I had almost the entire quart jar for lunch! This was AMAZING!!!! It was so creamy and smooth, great flavor, just the right amount of spices and flavor. Oh my gosh I’m so glad I “re-found” this recipe on the internet because I WILL be making this again and again.
Can I use smoked sausage instead of ham and should I precook it if I can?
Check with Ball or Bernardin to see what they say as it is their recipe.
Has anyone ever canned pea soup made in a slow cooker?
Not and lived to tell the tale.
I have a ham bone left from Christmas I would like to use to make broth for this soup; the broth would replace the water. Do you think that substitution would be safe?
That would be safe for some of the liquid, but you’d probably still need additional water anyway unless that ham bone had been attached to a brontosaurus….
I would like to make this without the ham. You say it is safe to omit it, but how do you know? I’m new to pressure canning and want to make sure what I make is completely safe.
In pressure canning, it is safe to omit anything that reduces the density of the product being pressure canned. You are reducing the density by leaving out the chunks of meat.
I want to add some red potatoe chunks (Peeled and blanched with the carrots of course) to this recipe and omit the meat. Would it be safe assuming I add extra water? I’m thinking three cups of diced potatoes.
I would use red because as I learned the hard way canning Russet potatoes doesn’t do well in canning! Lol
Pressure can the potato separately, using the USDA directions for pressure canning potato, then add to soup at time of use when you open a jar of the soup.
Btw, when i measures out my split peas i did it wirh dry peas. Maybe this is why?
Were the split supoosed to be soaked and wet already?
The measurements are for dry; you did it correctly.
This recipe tastsd fantastic but it was really really thick. Like mashed potetoes thick. Is this nornal? I measured out the perfect amount of peas and water.
Yes, it can be thick for sure. It’s fine to add water to thin it out. It’s safe to *lower* the density.
I tried this recipe at 4x for a really big batch and it worked great.
The only problem was when I pureed the peas but forgot about the 4 bay leaves I had already put in the pot. Aaaaargh! I managed to fish out one leaf and some pieces but somebodies going to get a leaf bit in their bowl. 🙄. LOL
Can you make this pea soup and use just a canner not a pressure cooker?
Absolutely not. All low-acid foods being canned must be canned using a pressure canner. You may freeze it instead if you don’t have a pressure canner.
This recipe is excellent! I made a double batch about a month ago and now I never want to be without it. The lemon juice and Worcestershire are a huge bump in flavor, compared to the similar recipe from Ball. I do think it’s possible that there is a typo here, though, and that the two tablespoons of salt should say two teaspoons. We salted to taste and two tablespoons would have tasted like ocean water. Will definitely make again and again. Thanks so much!
Acidity always wakes up legumes. Good point about the salt. It might depend on how salty the ham is, if using, as well as of course on people’s taste buds. We’ve changed it to “salt to taste”, and added a note saying try anywhere from 2 teaspoons to 2 tablespoons. Thanks!
I make my ham soup from boiling a ham hock on the stove and removing the meat. If I used this stock with the fat skimmed, and I used ham hock meat do you think it would be too fatty to pressure can this soup?
Make the stock a day ahead, and let it overnight in the fridge. The fat will rise to the top and solidify, letting you scoop it off in 3 seconds flat! Saves half an hour of fiddling with other skimming methods in which you lose half the stock….
If pressure canned, how long is a jar of pea soup good for?
I don’t have a pressure cooker for canning. I want to can my home made pea soup. Can I use the water method ?
No. It’s a low-acid food and thus it requires the high temperatures that only an actual pressure canner (not pressure cooker) can supply.
Freeze it instead.
No. You really need to use a pressure canner for low-acid canning. You can pick up a pressure canner from Amazon for under $100.00. I always wanted to can but was nervous but decided to go ahead and give it a try and I am so happy!! I’ve been tossing around to pick up a more expensive canner but I do not need it. My Presto 23 quart pressure canner is great!
I have been looking to make up soups for my lunches or have a quick ready dinner and this recipe looks really good! I have never thought about using 1/2 pint jars for canning soup but that would be perfect for lunches.
I like to make my pea soup from ham broth I make from scratch by boiling a bone. Would that modification be safe?
That would be fine, as the recipe’s processing time already accounts for the presence of meat — and any minute molecules left in the broth wouldn’t tip the scale. After boiling the bone and cooling it, you could use any tidbits of meat off the bone towards your 1 cup of ham that the recipe calls for.