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I make and sell freshly made, plant based soups. (no dairy, oil or meat in them) I sell them in quart jars. I'm wondering if I hot water can them, will they last longer in the fridge, for my customers? Right now I'm telling people to eat them within a few days, or to freeze them in a freezer safe container. Thank you!

  • I should add that I was told to just boil for a quick 10 minutes to prolong the freshness so they would be good for 7-10 days. Can anyone add to this idea? – Tami Oct 25 '18 at 0:22
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There is no such thing as "last a little bit longer". You either kill off all bacteria, which makes the soup shelf stable, or you don't, and then you have a 3-5 days of refrigerated lifetime.

All kinds of canning are only safe when you use recipes which have been tested for safety. I assume your soup recipe has not been tested. What is worse, it is very unlikely that it could ever pass the test, since foods with the right acidity to be hot water canned are rarely eaten as soups - they will taste more like a pickle.

Your only option seems to be pressure canning. Luckily for you, the USDA has a "make your own soup" pressure canning recipe. You are restricted in the ratio of vegetables and meat to water, but you are allowed to use any vegetable which is approved for canning on its own, and meat is also OK. Herbs and spices are allowed. You can find the actual recipe on the Internet.

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If you properly "can" the soup, it should last at least a few months on the pantry shelf (before opening). After it's opened, (refridgerated) leftovers would almost certainly last a week. It would probably make transporting a little easier as well.

  • Ok. But I don't necessarily want to can them to be shelf stable, I was just hoping to get them to stay fresh longer in the fridge. – Tami Oct 25 '18 at 0:57
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    I don't think there's a way around this. Canning kills the bacteria that causes spoilage and prevents air from reaching the food. Freezing will make the soup last longer, but you will loose some of that "freshness factor". Once it's open, it's still only going to last a few days (a week max). :- / – elbrant Oct 25 '18 at 3:19

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