Saturday, March 5, 2011

How I Can Chicken

Due to recent bulk chicken sales. . . I've been busy canning chicken. I have hesitated posting about how I can because there are so many different ways, regulations and safety issues that I don't want to be responsible for anyone who does it the way I teach and it doesn't work out. So, here is my disclaimer: You take full responsibility for following this post and if you have questions about how I do anything, feel free to research it and do it a different way.

Having said that, I have canned hundreds of pounds of chicken this way and am still alive. :) I love it and think that canned meat is the BEST!

1. I prepare my work space first: get my jars ready. If they are new jars, I just take them out of the package and place them on a large cookie sheet. I like to do this to keep them all together and minimize the germs that get on my counters. If they are previously used jars, make sure they are clean and ready to go.

FYI: for canning meat, it is recommended that you use NEW jars-at least the first time you can-so you decrease the chance of a jar exploding under pressure that has a tiny crack or something. You don't always know where your older jars came from -yard sales, passed down from mothers or grandmothers- so they might have imperfections that could jeopardize your entire pot of meat. Once you have pressure canned using certain jars, keep those separate from all of your other canning jars so that you know they are safe to pressure can with).

2. Cutting the chicken. (Photograph courtesy of my 5 year-old.) I like to wear gloves and an apron and am very aware of what I touch and don't touch once I begin handling the raw chicken. The chicken must be thawed first (in the refrigerator). I cut off any big pieces of fat and then cut up the chicken just enough to fit it into the jars. These were large chicken breasts so I had to cut them more. I canned some chicken tenders once and they were so nice because they didn't need any cutting at all! Just stuff in the jar! Now, here is a little inconsistency I just found. I had learned that you stuff the chicken tight into the jar, but as I was looking up some info I found another person who said to pack it loosely. I have packed mine tightly.


3. Once all of your jars are full (make sure you know how many will fit in your canner first) take a plastic handle or something that won't break the jar (probably not a metal knife or fork) and slide it around to get any air pockets out.




4.
I like to add canning salt to mine. I am not sure of the benefit of canning salt or if it's okay to use regular salt, so you can look that up if you have concerns about it. Canning salt does not have iodine in it or anti-caking agents and it keeps your water from being cloudy. And that's all I know.

Add 1/2 tsp of canning salt per pint or 1 tsp per quart.


5. Once the salt is added, take a wet paper towel or napkin and wipe rims of your jars. A dirty rim will prevent the lid from sealing to your jar.

6. Now, I put my lids on my jars. The lids must be heated. I like to use my handy-dandy Little Dipper (mini crockpot). I put my lids in it with water and plug it in before I begin so they are warm and ready to go when I put them on the jars. Otherwise you can heat them in a sauce pan on the stove. They need to be heated, but not boiled.


7. Fill your pressure canner (DO NOT USE A BOILING WATER BATH CANNER) with 2-3 inches of water and place your jars with lids and rings on them into the canner. My canner is a Presto 23 qt and can hold two layers of pint jars. I put my first layer down ( you must have a rack on the bottom of your canner). . .



I have a second rack that I put down in between my layers of jars. If you don't have a second rack, don't place your top layer directly on top of the jars on the bottom layer, offset them.


8. Place your lid on your canner and let it get hot! I usually start my stove on high or near high.


9. Do not place your weight on the lid yet. As your water heats up, steam will begin to come out of the vent (small thing sticking next to the gauge). Let the vent steam for about 10 minutes.

10. After the vent has steamed for around 10 minutes, place your weight on the vent.



11. Wait and watch your gauge get to 12 lbs pressure (This is for my location--it depends on your elevation as to how much pressure you need for canning. Check with your local exension office to find out the PSI or pounds per square inch you should use while canning).

Once the pressure has reached the desired pressure, begin timing. 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts (if you have both sizes in a batch, do 90 minutes).

Keep a close watch on your canner. You will have to turn your stove down little by little as the pressure creeps higher and higher. Try to keep it at the right pressure. By the time mine are done, my stove is usually on low. But make sure the pressure does NOT drop below the recommended PSI!

Once your timer goes off, turn off the stove and carefully remove your canner. Let the pressure go down to ZERO without releasing the weight. Once the pressure has gone down all the way, take the weight off and it is now safe to take your lid off and take the jars out of the canner.


12. I place a towel on my counter before putting the jars on it. Listen for the "ping" to hear the lid seal. If you have any jars that didn't seal, you can re-process them within 24 hours, otherwise just stick the jar in the fridge and use it up. Let the jars sit for 12-24 hours without moving them. Then take the rings off them and store in a dark cool place. Don't forget to label them (what it is and the year you canned them). Ta da! You did it!


13. Be sure to REALLY clean all of your germy counters, cutting board, and anything else you used. Lysol, bleach, whatever you use, be sure to clean thoroughly.


I hope I covered everything, I had several little interruptions as I was trying to get this done. I hope this is helpful to you!



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23 comments:

  1. Do you ever spice your chicken while canning (for certain recipes)?

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  2. I have just used salt in mine. I figure I'll add whatever spices I need depending on what I use the chicken for.

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  3. I'm very new to canning (and your blog:) ) - Just came across these instructions. Once you can, where do you store and how long will they last? Thanks!

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  4. Canned foods are best stored in cool dark places. I have a pretty large pantry that I store all of my jars from canning in. You can be creative about where you store them, even in boxes under your bed. . . depending on how accessible you want them to be. Canned chicken will last a long time. . . I've heard even 10 years. Although, the longer something is stored, the more nutrients it loses. I tell myself 5 years, just to be safe. But canned chicken is so handy it usually gets used up pretty quickly!

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    1. When canning the chicken. Don't you have to put water in the jars before you can then??

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    2. When canning the chicken. Don't you have to put water in the jars before you can then??

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  5. So the chicken is still raw when you open up the can? I've never heard of canned chicken except for the kind you buy next to the tuna fish at the grocery store. I'm intrigued...

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  6. Yes, the chicken is raw when you put it in the jars and cooked when you are finished canning. It is just like the canned chicken in the store, except better and cheaper! :)

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  7. I noticed in the finished product, there is juice in the jar? You didn't mention adding water, so I'm assuming that it is just the water that cooked out of the chicken?

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  8. Allison, no I did not add anything to the jar. You can add hot water to the jar, but you don't need to. The chicken makes it's own juice.

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  9. I have canned chicken too. I love it. I was taught to cook the chicken for about 12-15 minutes, then put in bottles. I use the stock that I cook the chicken in to fill the rest of the bottle. I pack tight so there is not much liquid added.
    Does the raw chicken have the white foamy stuff after it is pressured? That is the reason I was told to cook the chicken a bit before placing it into the jar.
    Thanks, Sharon

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    1. My jars do have a little of the white stuff, but it's not much and it's easy to spoon out when I open a jar. That's great that you cook yours first. I just like to do as few steps as possible. :)

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  10. I just found your blog and I hope to can some chicken soon as I am trying to "get prepared". Thank you for the information.
    Blessings,
    Gayle

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  11. I love canning chicken too! One thing I have started doing when I can chicken is I take all ths scraps that I trim off the chicken and put them in a jar and can. Then I label it cat or dog food and I have some food storage for the pets and I don't throw anything away.

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    1. That is such a great tip for those with pets. Thanks for sharing!

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    2. I throw all my "scraps" & bones in a stock pot with carrots, onions, celery and cook/can the stock. Yummy.

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  12. The only issue I see with your method, is, regardless of where the jars came from..... THEY NEED TO BE THOROUGHLY WASHED AND STERILIZED BEFORE PUTTING YOUR FOOD IN THEM!! Even brand new jars are not sterile straight out of the box..... there could be any variety of contaminants present from the factory!

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  13. Carmen Ashline, I agree. Who knows if they wash their hands after going to the bathroom. The rest of the instructions are spot on.

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  14. I started canning chicken thighs and legs (for soup or stew) 2 years ago. At first I just used salt as per the directions in the recipe I had. After a while I tried adding a bit of Onion powder, Garlic Powder, Celery Salt and Pepper. This makes the chicken and the broth so delicious. I'm thinking that the next batch I might try a few with Turmeric and/or Ginger (so healthy) but I'm sure the Tumeric will turn the chicken yellow. LOL That's why I won't do them all, just to see how it works. BYW, I keep the meat on the bones so that the juice that forms is more like bone broth.

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  15. A couple of comments-I run all jars thru the sami-wash in dishwasher & can lots of bone in chicken.
    CHART:With bone- Process pints - 1 hour 5 minutes and Quarts 1 hour 15 minutes.
    Boneless- Process pints- 1 hour 15 minutes and quarts 1 hour 30 minutes. Been doing exactly like your recipe, Jamie, but cut my white mean into chunk size-works perfectly for chicken salad. Happy Canning.

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  16. I just checked my Ball canning book, and your raw pack method is right on point with current standards. Just remember to check the appropriate pressure for your elevation. Mine in 15#.

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  17. love this. ive never canned before but i wamt to try this. it sounds so delicious. is this an ok recipe for a beginner?

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