Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Canning Chicken

Last year was my first year canning. I started out with peaches. I canned over 70 quarts and thought that they would last quite a while. I was wrong! My kids were eating them so fast that I had to start rationing them.

I started canning because I wanted a healthier option for my family. I wanted to know where the food was coming from, what was in it and how it was being preserved. I didn't want to worry about chemicals in the food, BPA in the cans or chemicals in the preservation process.

If you would have said to be a year ago that I would now be canning meat, I would have laughed. BUT... I did can meat!

I have mentioned before that I buy my boneless, skinless chicken breast from Zaycon Foods. A few weeks ago I picked up 80 lbs of chicken breasts. I ended up canning about 75 pounds.

  
  
Photo credit - Zaycon Foods
You can read my review of Zaycon Chicken here.

Canning the chicken was super simple. I couldn't believe how easy it was. I decided I was going to can both pints & quarts. 

I started out by cleaning my jars, lids & rings. I then cut up the chicken into chunks that would easily fit through the top of the jars. I packed the chicken in the jars, leaving 1 inch headspace. There is no need to add anything else to the jar. After I packed the jars, I cleaned the rims, put on a lid (that had been in hot water), put on the ring to finger tight. 

Put the jars in the pressure canner. My canner holds 18 pints or 7 quarts. After I close the pressure canner, I let it come to vent. After it starts to vent, I let it vent (steam) for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes I put on the weight and let the pressure build to 11 pounds. After the pressure has reached 11 lbs, I set the timer for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. You will need to watch the pressure gauge and lower/raise temperature in order to maintain it at 11 lbs.

After the processing time, I removed the canner from the burner and let the pressure drop on its own. I did not remove the jars until the pressure had completely dropped to zero and there was no more hissing sounds coming from the canner. 
I ended up with 36 pints and 14 quarts. So far we have used 2 quarts and 4 pints. The chicken is cooked perfectly and is so tender and moist. There is also a great broth in the jars when it is done. I have used it in chicken salad and creamy chicken casserole. Such a time saver!

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