The rainy season has returned to our neck of the woods, and not a moment too soon. We’re winding down the harvest and turning to indoor projects and activities like canning up the bountiful harvest. Here is a wonderful recipe for minestrone, not only tasty and restorative, but a good way to make use of late summer crops like cabbage, carrots, potatoes and onions.

This is the original family recipe from D’s mom. We tripled it for a canner-sized batch, bumped up the cabbage to a full head, and added 1/2 a zuke that was hiding in the fridge. It cans up like a dream, and we highly recommend the All-American pressure canner.

1# lean ground beef
1 large onion, chopped
2 small potatoes, peeled & cubed
2 carrots, pared & sliced
2 stalks celery, sliced
1 cup shredded cabbage or kale
1 can (28 oz.) tomatoes

1 bay leaf
1/4 tsp basil
1/4 tsp thyme
1 tsp salt
1/4 to 1/2 tsp pepper

Brown ground beef and add all ingredients to soup kettle, stir thoroughly.
Add water or beef broth to cover. Bring to boil, reduce heat to simmer and
cook for 2-3 hours on simmer. Stir occasionally. Serve sprinkled with
grated parmesan cheese. Makes about 3-4 quarts. Freezes well.


If you plan to pressure can this recipe, try a batch cooked the regular way first, to sort out what seasonings/ingredients you like best. Pressure canning does a lot more cooking, so you don’t need to simmer a batch first. It’s a bit of a leap of faith, but once you decide the best assortment of ingredients, just bring it up to temp enough to can, and let the canning process finish the cooking. If you simmer it for hours first you’ll end up with a mushier version of this recipe and lose some of the nutrients in the vegetables.


Peeper frogs love hanging out in the rutabagas.
Not even a 10lb zuke can intimidate mighty Stewart.
Newt is stepping up her housecat efforts now that Magnus is gone.

3 thoughts on “MmmmmMinestrone!”

  1. Excellent website detailing your efforts to live off a small parcel of land. With America losing 2 acres of farm & ranchland per minute (here in Pennsylvania the average loss is a staggering 9 acres per minute!) the importance of growing food on less acreage is increasing. Keep up the good work and keep sharing the wisdom you acquire through your experiences, as others will no-doubt be taught by your example.

  2. Hi Donna,

    Thanks for the kind words!
    We’re currently exploring the idea of incorporating as a non-profit to help us share what we’re learning. Very few people can afford even a few acres of good crop land, but lots of folks are interested in growing at least some of their own food. Hopefully our trial & error efforts in seeing just what we can grow on our little place will benefit and inspire others.


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