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Posts Tagged ‘pressure canning’


 

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.

 

 

 

Canner

 

 

 

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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This weekend, I had 40 pounds of chicken bones to make stock from.  That much bone scraps is quite a lot and takes a long while to cook.  So I got as creative as I could and used three different methods to get it all done.  I used this recipe without any alterations for each.  I used my slow-cooker, stock pot and pressure cooker.  Purely out of curiosity, I wanted to see if there were any method that worked better for producing a better-tasting stock.

The slow-cooker (aka: crockpot) took 10 hours to cook.  The stockpot took 6 hours and the pressure canner took 25 minutes with 15 pounds of pressure.  As I said, I used exactly the same recipe in each.  The result?  Each method produced essentially the same stock.  I honestly couldn’t have distinguished any difference in taste.  It was all the same.

The slow-cooker is useful if you don’t have time to be in the kitchen to watch over cooking pots. But the slow-cooker is only up to 7 or 8 quart sizes, limiting on how much you can make at any one time.
The pressure canner is my preferred method, but not everyone has a canner in their kitchen (but I advocate everyone should own and use one).  And like with stockpots, they come in a variety of sizes but they are typically much larger than slow-cookers and you can cook much more at a time.  The stockpot is useful if you don’t have a pressure canner and want to save half the time of a slow cooker.  Stockpots (depending on the size you own) can hold a large quantity of bones and stock.

When all was said and done, I wound up with over nine gallons of stock!  That’s a whole lotta stock.  But then again, I’m a PREPPER!! So that’s a really good thing.  I simply went onto canning the vast majority of my stock and will have lots and lots that will last me at least 6 months.

First, let me share my simple recipe for my stock.

Stocking Up On Stock
Author: PrepperPenny
Prep time: 15 mins
Cook time: 6 hours
Total time: 6 hours 15 mins
To pressure can your stock, the canning guidelines according to the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving is to process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure [Altitude under 1000 feet].
Ingredients
  • 3-4 Pounds of Chicken Backs, Necks and Scraps
  • 3-4 Stalks of Celery (chopped into 1″ lengths)
  • 2 Large Carrots (chopped into 1″ lengths)
  • 4 Whole Cloves of Garlic
  • 4 Whole Bay Leaves
  • 2 Medium Onions (Quartered)
  • 2 Tablespoons Whole Peppercorns
  • Sea Salt to Taste
  • Palm-Size of Dried Parsley
  • Enough water to cover all your ingredients, about 2″ above.
Instructions
  1. Combine all ingredients into your pot and cook acoording to the method you choose
  2. Crockpot Method: 6-8 hours
  3. Stockpot Method: 4-6 hours
  4. Pressure Canner Method: 1 hour

 

I wash, but don’t peel or clean any of my vegetables.  I use skins, tops and all.  Just dump it all into your “preferred” method and cook according to the way I outlined above.  Take out all the vegetables, meat and bones then filter through fine mesh until all the gunk is removed and you have a clear, golden stock.  Using a metal spoon, skim off fat as it rises and separates.  After allowing stock to completely cool in your refrigerator, the fat will harden and will be easy to remove what remains.  You are ready at this point to refrigerate or freeze your beautiful chicken stock.  But I was not done at this point.

PRESSURE CANNING YOUR STOCK

Because food storage is so important to a prepper, I went onto canning my vast supply of stock.  Chicken stock MUST be pressure canned.  DO NOT try the water bath method.

The canning guidelines according to the Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving is to process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure  [Altitude under 1000 feet].

Gently and carefully remove jars from your canner and place on a towel.  They will continue to boil and work for about an hour!  But leave them set undisturbed overnight.  In the morning, remove the bands, check your seals, and give each jar a nice, warm and soapy bath to clean off any oily residue from the fat.  Finally, you are ready to place them in your pantry.

NOTE: A tip I have picked up from old-school, very experienced canners is that when canning meats and meat products, wipe your rims with vinegar to be sure to get a clean seal, free from any traces of oils.

 

 

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