Save that Carcass
My grandparents lived through the depression and my mother dealt with war-time shortages, during WWII, in her native England. The lessons they learned are a part of me. I use plastic grocery bags to line my waste baskets, Cool Whip containers are saved for painting projects and coffee can lids make great saucers under my houseplants.
It just part of my DNA that I would turn the Thanksgiving turkey carcass into a bubbling pot of soup. I scoured my fridge in search of whatever vegetables were on hand. I found the celery I’d bought, for the stuffing, that needed to be used, fresh carrots, a few Brussel sprouts, and some mushrooms. I also had some left-over corn in the freezer.
I put the turkey bones in a large kettle – I used my pressure canner – it was the only pot I had that was big enough. I put in plenty of water, making sure all the bones were covered, then let it all simmer for two hours.
I took out the bones, a few at a time, cleaned off all the meat and put it aside in a bowl. Once I’d removed all the bones and chunks of skin, I strained the broth through a colander into a large stock pot. After the broth had cooled, I put it in the refrigerator overnight to let all the fat rise to the top.
The next day, I scooped off the fat that had congealed on the broth then put the meat I’d saved in a bowl yesterday back into the broth. I added two more cups of diced turkey I’d frozen up after Thanksgiving, and the chopped up vegetables. I also included the left-over gravy that I’d kept in the freezer, a can of cream of chicken soup and a teaspoon of poultry seasoning.
I brought the soup to a simmer for a couple hours to let the vegetables cook and the flavors blend. I ladled out enough to save for my supper. Meanwhile, I heated up water to boiling in my large hot water bath container and sterilized the jars and rings. I used a small saucepan of boiling water for the lids. Once the soup was just to the boiling point and the jars, rings and lids were hot, I ladled the soup into the hot jars, one at a time, filling them to within ¼ inch of the rim, set the lids and lightly screwed on the rings. I poured two quarts of water into my pressure canner and placed the jars inside, making sure they didn’t touch each other. I processed the batch at 10 pounds pressure for 30 minutes, removed the canner from the stove and waited ten minutes before removing the gauge and another 10 minutes before removing the lid. I carefully took out the jars and placed them on a folded towel, on the counter, where they remained until the morning without being disturbed.
I processed two batches and ended up with twelve pints of soup, enough to get me through the winter. There’s nothing like a quick, hearty bowl of soup on a cold snowy night.