Friday, August 5, 2011

Canning Chicken and Broth

 I am really lucky in this economy with food prices as to be able to buy meat on base at the Commissary. There is a huge debate amongst the military community on whether or not it is cheaper to buy on base or not, and I will tell you, for meat it wins, hands down. I can usually buy whole chickens for anywhere from 59 to 69 cents a pound, so a chicken that feeds my little family is about 3 to 4 dollars.

That's not too shabby, but what I can do with the leftovers is even more amazing!

Canned chicken. Yup, canned chicken. This falls into the category for some people of "Why, why, why would you do that? Why not just freeze it?" I will tell you why: canned chicken is the ULTIMATE convenience food. All you have to do is pull the jar our of your pantry and you have cooked, shredded chicken to use in casseroles, soups, tacos, sandwiches....the list is pretty endless.

Canning chicken is relatively simple, provided you have the right equipment and a little time. You need to have a pressure canner to do meats. Non-negotiable. I have the Presto 23 quart. It was the only thing I wanted for my birthday this year. My momma is so good to me!

After you have your lovely, delicious roast chicken for dinner (Which is the one of the best smells, your house will smell heavenly) you can get the chicken ready. I like to do this in the crockpot since it can sit and cook down all night. Throw your chicken carcass in, cover with water, I like to add some more onion, carrot, and chicken bouillon, and let 'er cook down. In the morning you will have a crockpot full of chicken that falls right off the bone and a ton of broth. How easy was that?

At this point you technically could freeze your broth and chicken. Canning for me is the way to go through. I don't have a lot of freezer storage space. In the event of an electrical outage, which for some reason happens on base with regular frequency, I don't have to worry about it going bad. I can pull it off my shelf and use it without having to defrost. Do I have you convinced yet?

Make sure you really do a good job of sterilizing your jars before filling. This is always important, but for some reason with meat I find it EXTRA important to make sure everything is nice and clean and sterile. Fill your warm, sterilized jars with the chicken, then fill with broth, leaving 1 to 1 1/4 inch headspace. You will have broth leftover to just do jars of broth too. I do pints. The stock needs to be processed at 11 pounds of pressure  for 20 minutes, the shredded meat at 11 pounds pressure for 90 minutes. It is a long time, better safe than sorry though. Really watch the pressure gauge.


Out of my $3.03 chicken I got:

Lunch the next day
3 pints shredded chicken
6 pints of chicken broth

Not too shabby!

And the chicken doesn't taste like the store kind which smells of a cross between tuna and dog food.

p.s...Giant Granny blanket is coming along quie nicely. Pics to come soon.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the tutorial. I have never canned with a pressure canner before and its on the to-do list. I would have, get a pressure canner first though. :)

    And thanks for the update on Granny. She needs a name. ;)