Lindsay is asking for nutritious freezer meals, and I figured what could be better than a soup. I generally have leftovers and freeze them for our own use later or to give to family members who don’t have the time or inclination to make nourishing meals.

I am trying to move away from freezing our foods in plastic and for that reason we purchased many quart and pint sized canning jars. I was a little scared at first to be freezing in glass, but have only had one jar crack thus far in freezing soups, stocks and raw milk.

To freeze in glass canning jars: Pour the soup into the jar leaving about 1 1/2 inches of headspace. This will allow the soup to expand without cracking the jar. I place the jar, uncovered, into the freezer for about eight hours. That way if the jar was too full, the contents would expand up and not out. Then simply place a lid on the jars. You have to be careful defrosting in glass jars, as sudden extreme temperature changes will cause the glass to crack or shatter. I just pull out a jar and place it in the refrigerator. It takes about one to two days to thaw out in the refrigerator.

Minestrone is a soup made from any variety of vegetables. When I make minestrone in the summer it usually involves zucchini and bell peppers. With a foot or two of snow on the ground here, zucchini and bell peppers are nowhere in sight. Replacing them with hardy root vegetables is a delicious and seasonal take on the chicken & tomato broth soup. Using dried herbs instead of fresh also makes sense, unless of course you have beautiful pots of herbs in your kitchen.

This soup is a wonderful anecdote for the arctic chill we are experiencing right about now.


Winter Minestrone


3 Tablespoons olive oil
5 small celery stalks, chopped
1/2 large onion, diced
5 small turnips, peeled & chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic, minced
6 cups chicken stock
1 (28 oz) can diced tomatoes
1/4 teaspoon each: basil, oregano, thyme & rosemary
1 bay leaf
1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1-2 cups cubed, cooked chicken or 1-2 cups cooked white beans
sea salt & pepper to taste


In a large soup pot over medium heat, saute onions, with a pinch of salt, in olive oil until translucent. Add celery, turnips & carrots and saute until slightly browned. Add garlic and saute another two minutes. Pour in chicken stock and bring to a boil, scraping up all of the lovely browned bits with a wooden spoon. Stir in tomatoes, dried herbs, bay leaf and red pepper flakes. Add a good pinch of salt and a few grinds of black pepper. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for at least 20 minutes, a couple of hours is even better. Ten minutes before serving stir in chicken or white beans. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed with salt, pepper or a dash of lemon juice or wine.

Serve with plenty of freshly grated parmesan cheese. And if you do have those fresh herbs, basil would be perfect to sprinkle on top.


13 Responses to Winter Minestrone

  1. Debbie J. says:

    I’ve been wondering about freezing in glass jars. My elderly neighbor freezes peaches in them and I was kind of shocked when she showed me. I didn’t know you could do that! I’m interested in freezer cooking and I think I’ll try to freeze some vegetable beef soup in jars. Thanks.


  2. Nancy says:

    Love minestrone soup. Who knew you could freeze in glass jars? Another thing I have yet to try.


  3. Cathy says:

    Yum, that looks good! And I was wondering what to fix for dinner tonight!

    We freeze in glass, strawberry freezer jam, some homemade pureed veggies for the baby, fresh ground flours such as millet, etc… . So far nothing has broken, thankfully. I even got some of the half gallon jars for larger quantities of things.


  4. limeandlemon says:

    im a soup lover … and this looks sooo delicious … gonna make it soon :-) … Laila .. http://limeandlemon.wordpress.com/


  5. Thanks for joining our carnival! This looks delicious and one that I will be trying soon. Thanks for including the tips on freezing in the jars, those are good ideas.


  6. Jenny says:

    Beautiful! I love the way you incorporated turnips. They’re a wonderful, but under-appreciated vegetable.


  7. Yum! I almost posted a minestrone recipe, too! :) We like to add a bit of bacon, too, if we have some on hand.



  8. Lauren B says:

    This looks so comforting, and low carb too! Bet that warms you up on a cold day. Your photos are always so appetizing. :)


  9. Oh, I love minestrone! Thanks for posting this version (I’m used to eating the “summer” version)!


  10. suzannah says:

    this looks delicious!
    we recently started freezing in jars, too.


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