Thursday, February 26, 2009

Canning Chicken

Today I am canning a bunch of chicken. My husband bought a 40lb box, so I am going to have to do a couple batches. I thought I would explain how you can meat for anyone interested in trying it themselves. It is really easy. I use the All -American pressure canner, but there are other brands out that work just as well. If you are using one of the other brands of pressure canners, you will have to read your owners manual for the specifics of how it works. The directions for preparing the chicken will be the same no matter what canner you are using.
Start out with clean jars. I wash mine in the dishwasher before using. Then you fill the jars with raw chicken (a pint jar will hold about 1 lb. a quart jar will hold 2 lbs.). Chicken tenders are the easiest to use, since you won't have to trim the fat and cut the chicken in chunks. You can use either. You want to leave about 1 - 1 1/2 inches at the top of jar. You are going to want to get all the air pockets out of the chicken. You do this by pushing down the chicken. I use a plastic tool I got from Ball, but you can use whatever works for you. Add more chicken if you have more than 1 - 1 1/2 inches space from top of bottle. Then you are going to want to season the chicken (you can also do this before you add the chicken). Use 1/4-1/2 tsp. salt. I use 1/4 tsp. Canadian Steak Seasoning (I purchase at Sam's Club), and 1/4 tsp. kosher salt.You need to wipe the rim of the bottle with a damp cloth to make sure it is really clean. The lids won't seal if they aren't clean.
You need to simmer your lids for a couple minutes to soften the seals. I usually put them in a pan on low while I prepare the jars. You are going to need to replace these lids every time you can something. The jars and screw on rings can be reused over and over.
You then take the lids and place them on the jars. I use this tool I got from Ball. It has a magnet on the bottom. Then screw on the rings. You want them to be snug, but not too tight.
Once your jars are prepared you are going to place them in the pressure canner. Make sure you place a trivet (mine came with the canner) on the bottom first. My canner will fit about 9 pint jars on the bottom layer.
Then you are going to fill the canner with water till it comes up half way up the bottom jars. You can put a couple Tablespoons of white vinegar in at this time; it will help keep your jars clean (or so I have been told)
Then you are going to place another trivet on top of your bottles. On top of the trivet you are going to place another layer of bottles (if you have a smaller pressure canner or you are canning quart jars you will only be able to do one layer). I can fit another 9 pint jars on the top layer. It may look like my lid won't fit on the canner since the jars are coming up over the top, but my canner has a domed lid so it is fine.
You are then going to attach your lid and and place you pressure canner on the stove. If you have a glass top stove, you may consider doing your canning on a camp stove. I have known people who do their canning on a glass top stove and it is fine, but that is up to you. The canners are pretty heavy when they are full.

Heat you canner till steam comes out the release valve. It took my pressure cooker about 30-40 minutes to get to this point. I was cooking on medium high. you are going to let the steam go for 7-10minutes.
After you have let the cooker release steam for 7-10 minutes, you are going to put the pressure regulator weight over the steam valve. This will cause the canner to start building pressure. Here in Phoenix Arizona we can our meat at 10 lbs. of pressure (you will have to find out what pressure to use for your area). I find the #10 on my pressure regulator weight, and drop it over the steam valve.
Now the cooker is building pressure. It took mine about 12-13 minutes to come up to full pressure. When it reaches full pressure the weight on top of the steamer will start to jiggle and sputter. Your pressure gage will also be pointing to 10 lbs of pressure. You will start timing from this point. It will take 75 minutes for the pint jars, and 90 minutes for quart jars.
You are going to need to adjust your heat once the pressure regulator weight begins to jiggle and sputter. You only want the weight to jiggle one to four times a minutes. Once my cooker comes to pressure I set my burner to medium. This works for me, you will have to test and see what temperature works for you.
After you have cooked your meat for the proper amount of time you are going to turn your burner off. You do not touch the pressure canner. You let the pressure canner drop its pressure naturally. The pressure gage will read 0 lbs. pressure. It took mine about 30-40 minutes to drop the pressure.
You can now remove the pressure regulator weight, and your lid. The chicken will be very hot. You need to remove the chicken and place it on a towel on the counter to cool. I got the bottle remover from Ball. It came in a pack with the other tools I use
This is my 40 lbs. of chicken cooling on the counter. You will hear popping as the lids seal. It may take up to 24 hours for some of them to seal. If you have a bottle that doesn't seal in this amount of time, you will need to use use it up immediately. I get one every once in a while.
After the bottles have cooled you remove the screw on ring and wipe the bottles clean. Now you are going to want to label and date the tops. The chicken should last around 5 years on the shelf. It is fully cooked and ready to eat. I use mine wherever I would use shredded chicken. Soups, tacos, casseroles. Try it in your favorite recipes. It is really good.


Parker said...

You are a ROCK STAR. Never in a million years would I imagine you would be canning chicken with such glamour. Love the Orla Kiely apron. I guess I should have know you would be so domestic goddess like. You are so cool.
love you,

LTD in Las Vegas said...

When I was with you in London, I had no idea you were so are full of knowledge (even though that raw chicken in the jar almost put me over the edge.... haha!).