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I want to can tortilla soup, but is it safe? Any Thoughts?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am a well accomplished professional chef who understands the guidelines for canning per the Food and Drug Administration guidelines, as well as being a Ceritfied by the city of Chicago for food and sanitation. So I want to can tortillia soup, I have a kick *** "stick to your ribs recipe" but according to every thing printed I can find about canning, it is a thickened soup which is a no no in canning. From what I can determine it's because a "thickened products are harder to penetrate because of the density". Canning is broken down into processing tempuratures and times. I have tested the ph of my soup recipe and the ph is 4.7-4.8 this is just over the limit of 4.6 for tomatoe's, salsa's, and sauces. I have a pressure canner. What I want to know is does any know if there is like a (density chart or hydrometer chart for canning) something that says if it's this dense its needs to be processed for this amount of time. I have several books about canning and processing recipes, and vegeables but nothing about trying to can tortilla soup. I probably should have mentioned this earlier but I dont want to add any citric acid or vinegar to the recipe, it changes the flavor to much. Thats why I bought the pressure canner. I just want to know if what I am canning is safe. Any thoughts?
post #2 of 12
I could be wrong but I went to a school with and excellent food science program. Someone there would likely be happy to help you. Vrginia Tech, most of their professors are listed by their email addresses. Write one and see if they would be willing to help, heck they might turn it into a school project.
post #3 of 12
Are you trying to can using the same formula as you would if you just made the soup for family and friends?
post #4 of 12
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the tip I will check it out.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
It is a tomato based soup, basically thickened with fresh tortilla's. I have looked at several recipes for tomato soups, salsas, and sauces. They are all basically the same in terms of ingredients with the exception of the tortilla. Now the suggested processing time is anywhere from 30 minutes to and hour for most of those recipes unless they contain meat. Lets say you where making spaghetti sauce with meat then you would have to process for 75 to 90 minutes as an example. I do use chicken stock or chicken bullion powder in the recipe. I know you can use stocks for canning soups. But what about the tortilla? I would consider it to be a thickener, but then the consistency of the soup is not any thicker than some other tomato sauce and salsa recipes I have used before. Thanks for your post.
post #6 of 12
In addition to the local government (Chicago?), you should check with state agencies that regulate food manufacturers. In New York, while restaurants come under the city department of health (you may have read about closings lately :rolleyes: ), manufacturers come under state oversight.

Restaurants in NYC are not allowed to use food canned anywhere except in a commercial facility; they cannot can their on own.

And the suggestion to check with a local university's food science department is great. Extension services are really helpful.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
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post #7 of 12
Are you serious about doing this for commercial purposes? My wife is actually canning a tortilla soup right now. It will be on the shelves quite soon. Or are you my wife posting just to mess with my head?
post #8 of 12
Thread Starter 
I am not messing with you Kuan. Sounds like your wife and I have the same plans "Quit working so many hours, and love what you do". I have a canned product, but no proof it is safe. And dont want to kill anybody. I guess I will have to get it analized by a nutritionist, but cant find the time. How did your wife get around the ph level of being below 4.6 without additives, unless you have it canned commercially.
post #9 of 12
I checked my copy of the Ball Blue Book. I got mine free from a coupon in some Ball canning products. It's a handy thing with some good recipes and guides. Also check out the site Homecanning.com -|- Your complete source for all home canning and home food preservation needs.

There were two recipes approaching tortilla soup but both had no meat broth or meat bits and no tortillas. Long processing times, in fact one was only to be processed in pints, not quarts.

Not much direct help, I know.

Phil
Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #10 of 12
She's senior scientist at a very large company. :)
post #11 of 12
Thread Starter 
Anyone have anything to add. I am basically at a stand still because their is no research to back my claim. I know it can be done by the addition of additives and preservatives, but I dont want to go that route, I would rather boil, or process it for a month than compromise the flavor with additives or adding acidity. Any Nutrionists or food chemists out there want to weigh in!
I appreciate honesty!
post #12 of 12
A nutritionist won't help you. You have good basic knowledge, but if you're going to sell commercially your product needs to have documentation on file with the FDA. This needs to be filed by a Thermal Process Authority or TPA. You can take the class to be certified yourself. Meat containing soups are regulated by the USDA so if you have meat in the soup you'll have to file with the USDA also. USDA oversight means you will be subject to USDA inspection and they require a minimum of 48 hours notice before you run anything.

You can start your journey by attending school. Here's a link that may help.

Food Products Association
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