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Posts Tagged ‘canning chicken’


 

I am always excited and look for ways to build my shelf-stable pantry with inexpensive food.  But inexpensive sure does not mean inferior.  Especially when it comes to the topic I address today.

If you are new or have never pressure canned anything, chicken is the single simplest food to start with.  It’s the first thing I canned and highly recommend it.

You may or may not have heard of a company called Zaycon Foods.  Rather than explaining it to you, here is a great video to explain it all.  In short, it’s cheap, fresh and healthy!

Having been introduced to Zaycon, I’m a devoted advocate and client.  To learn more, please click here

But having just purchased 40 pounds of their chicken breasts, I had to get them processed as quickly as possible.  I set out to pressure can most of it.

Supplies

 

 

Start by gathering all your supplies.  You need your jars, rings, lids, jar lifter, sharp knife (for trimming your chicken), pressure canner, saucepan (large enough accommodate the lids and rings you will be sanitizing).

 

 

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Before you start anything, inspect the rubber ring in your canner (if you are using a canner with this), inspect the vent to make sure there is no obstructions, making sure there is no blockage.  I hope you can see here the blue color in the center of this photo.  It is your view through the vent in the lid of your canner.

 

 

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I begin by getting my jars ready by washing them in hot, soapy water.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Get into the habit of checking each jar for any imperfections.  While I wash my jars, I run my finger around the rim to feel for any cracks or other anomalies.

 

 

 

 

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Also, do a visual inspection of each of your jars.  While new jars rarely have cracks or other imperfections, they sometimes do.  And if you are re-using jars, the risk is higher so be sure to use only those jars that are pristine!

 

 

 

 

 

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You have several options for keeping your jars hot while you prepare your chicken.  You can keep them in a large stockpot covered with simmering water or you can do as I do, keep them in a warm oven.  I set mine at 200 degrees.

 

 

 

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Now I put about 3 quarts of water and about 1/8th of a cup of white vinegar in my pressure canner over a low flame (or heat if you are electric).  The vinegar is not necessary if you have soft water.  Mine is a little hard and this will prevent lime buildup in my canner and jars.  It is completely optional.

 

 

 

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After washing your lids and rings, place them in your saucepan over a low simmer.  You do not want to boil them.  Just warm enough to soften the wax or rubber ring.

 

 

 

 

 

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One-by-one, I pull out a hot jar and trim and cut my chicken and put them into my jars leaving a 1” headspace.  Whether I am handling raw meat or removing food from my dehydrator, I wear gloves.  In dehydrating, I don’t want to transfer my oils onto the food I just dry.  For raw meat, it is a level of safety.

 

 

 

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I immediately place the filled jar into the canner.  I do not put the lids or rings on them yet.  This will keep the jars hot which is important so they don’t break when the canner comes to temperature.

 

 

 

 

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Once my canner is full of jars, I will put a pinch of salt in each jar.  I use Pink Himalayan because it contains every bit of its’ minerals.  But you can use canning salt.

 

 

 

 

 

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This step is critical in all canning projects.  Never, ever forget to wipe and clean your rims before adding your lids.  When I can meat or food that is particularly oily, I use white vinegar which cuts the greasy residue.

 

 

 

 

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I use metal lids when I use new jars.  But they are good for only one use.  When I buy replacement lids, I purchase either Tattler or 4ever Recap lids.  If you are interested in these lids, here is a video to help you see their value.  I would post one for 4ever Recaps, but could not find one.  But they are essentially the same.  One thing I love about 4ever is that it is a woman owned company.  Hey, it’s personal.  I respect women entrepreneurs.

 

 

 

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As you can see, the same metal rings are used with these lids and can be used several times.

 

 

 

 

 

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With the jars all inside the canner and the lid securely in place, increase the heat under it to build pressure.  In this picture, you can be (behind) the vent where you will place the weight.  In the foreground is another vent on my specific Presto canner.  Not all canners have this.  But if yours does, as pressure builds this element will rattle and shake until stem builds up.  When enough steam builds, this vent will rise and shut allowing the pressure to continue to build.  When this happens, the vent that receives your weight (the one shown in the background) will begin to spew steam.  I allow this to build for 10 minutes before placing the weight on it.

 

 

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This batch contains pint size jars.  I processed it with 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes as per the Ball Complete Book.  After 75 minutes, you will turn off your heat and allow the pressure to level out.  This takes about an hour in most cases.  Once the vent in the front drops back into its’ normal position, it will be safe to remove the weight as shown in this photo.  But you must still use caution because your metal canner is still very hot and can cause serious burns.   But you can now remove the canner lid.

 

 

 

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After you remove the canner lid, you will begin taking your jars out of the canner and placing them onto your counter using your jar lifter.  Please, never try using anything but a canning jar lifter.  This can be quite dangerous if you try using tongs or anything else not specifically designed to safely handle boiling hot jars.  The foods in these jars are still boiling aggressively.

 

 

 

 

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You will not allow your jars to set out on your counter overnight to allow them to completely cool down.   You do not want them to be moved or disturbed while they cool and the rings set on the rims.  When using metal lids, you will begin hearing a distinctive “ping” as they seal.  Music to your ears!

 

 

 

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The following morning, I removed all the rings from my jars and tested their seal.  To do this, you simply lift the jar by the rings.  If it sealed as it should have, they will not release.  Now they are ready to be washed because the jars will be oily and a bit icky.  Just wash them in warm, soapy water, rinse and allow to dry.

 

 

 

 

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Once the jars and lids are completely dry, label then with content and date.  In large batches, it’s easy to just print out labels.  If it’s just a few cans, just use a permanent marker to write it on the lids.

 

 

 

 

 

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My yield for approximately 25 pounds of chicken was a dozen pints and six 1 ½ pint jars.  You can store them all in the boxes they came in.

 

 

 

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But I have a canning pantry that beautifully shows off my healthy food and keeps it all readily available for my regular menu planning.  This antique cabinet has two glass-front doors so all my company can see and covet my invaluable prepping skills.

 

 

 

As you can see, following standard practices for sanitation and canning, chicken is quite easy to pressure can.   If you are just beginning to try your hand at pressure canning, this is one of the absolute easiest recipes you will find.  Buying in bulk is cost-effective.  Having your investment safely stored in canning jars requires no electricity and is shelf-stable for up to two years.

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Finally, just to show you that having a jar or two that does not seal only allows you to eat it sooner!  I had one jar that did not seal properly.  But the food inside is still perfectly fine.  I simply added barbeque sauce and we had sandwiches for lunch.   I always plan on how to incorporate whatever I can into a meal within about a week.  And by having this happen to one of my jars allows me to show you how beautiful the canned chicken is.  As you can see, it’s much like canned tuna.  You can see how moist and flaky it is.  You can use this for chicken salad, on green salads, in soups and stews, enchiladas.  Just use your imagination.  It has so many delicious uses.

 

 

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