Home Canning Chicken
They had boneless skinless chicken thigh on sale at one of our local markets last week. Even though I had a nice supply of canned chicken on hand the price was good enough to make me can another 12 pints.
Canning is much more simple than many think. There are about as many ways to can things as there are ways to pet a squirrel. It is most likely I have tried most of them in my 60 years of cooking.
This is how I do it. It is absolutely painless and takes me less than 30 minutes to have the jars ready for the canner.
I use wide mouth pint jars. I can fit about a pound of chicken in a jar and I like the straight sides because they are uber easy to clean when empty.
The day of canning I run the jars through the dishwasher in sanitizing heat mode. I buy boneless skinless chicken thigh only (for those who follow this blog I have stated why many times).
I clean my counters and utensils before I start. Though it is probably not necessary. I just do. There is one reason you pressure can meat be it chicken, pork, beef or fish.
TO HEAT THE CONTENTS OF THE JARS AT A HIGH ENOUGH TEMPERATURE TO KILL ANY PATHOGEN THAT MIGHT BE INSIDE.
So how clean your hands, sink and utensils are is moot if you follow the very simple pressure canning rules.
Just a note for those who tremble in fear over the word BOTULISM. There are an average of 20 or so cases a year reported to the CDC of food-borne Botulism. So your chances of getting bit by a mosquito and being infected with the paralyzing “West Nile Virus” are 1,100 times more likely. Most people walk into the evening air without a worry of dropping dead of a mosquito bite.
Back to the canning process.
I simply stuff the whole cold pieces of chicken into the jars. I pack them as tightly as possible. I leave about 1/2 inch of head space in the jar. Add 1 tsp. of kosher or sea salt (Iodized will darken your chicken). Place on new caps and screw bands.
I DO NOT BOTHER to heat either of those. Refer back to the “why to heat your contents of jars”.
This whole process takes me under 30 minutes. I then pop them into my pressure canner and process them at 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes.
I use an All American Pressure Canner.
I love it!
It is a 21 1/2 quart canner and I can do 19 Pint Jars or 7 Quart Jars at one time. I also have a presto that will do about the same but I opt for the All American because it does not require a rubber gasket. Both do a great job.
When the jars come out of the canner I let them cool for 24 hours. I then remove the metal bands and run them through the dishwasher. I wash all of my canned jars of chicken in hot soapy water. This gets all of the grease off of them or any residue from the canning process. They are then dried. When the metal bands are dry I place them back on the jars. Box and store for use in the pantry.
Why the washing process?
I do not want my lids or bands to rust together. I have had this happen a couple of times on tomatoes. It is almost impossible to remove a rusted screw band from a metal cap that is vacuum sealed to a jar without breaking the jar.
So here is my picture process
Note that in this cold packing process the meat creates its own broth. The meat shrinks so it is not necessary to bother with getting air pockets out before canning. The pressure of canning will do this job for you.
The aroma of this canned chicken is wonderful and tastes just as good as it smells. Not to mention you know what is in your jar because you put it there