One of the comments I get a lot from readers, friends and neighbours is … what is that thing on your chin and do you think it will ever go away?
I grew a blemish on my chin a few days ago that is so large and angry when I bend over I can feel it hurt and pulsate.
The second most common comment I get is … “I wish I weren’t so afraid of pressure canning”.
Today I’m going to tackle the canning.
For years when I made chicken broth I would put it into baggies and shove it into the freezer. Just fill the baggie, lay it flat to freeze and then you can stack them all up in the freezer so they’re all in there nice and neat.
Except they slip. And slide. And when you want to use them you have to defrost them.
I wanted instant chicken broth. The kind where you just pop the top and pour it into your soup, stew, cereal or whatever.
So once I got my pressure canner I started to can my broth and I haven’t looked back (into the freezer) since then.
Pressure canning is not difficult, not dangerous and not all that time consuming.
And at the end of it you have beautiful jars filled with stuff that’s even more convenient that stuff from the store because it’s already in your house.
Today I’m going to walk you through the basics of pressure canning your own chicken broth. If you’re interested in doing more of this sort of thing you’ll need a couple of things. A pressure canner (duh) and a good, tried and true, book on canning. I have a few. My favourites are The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving and Ashley English’s Canning & Preserving.
I am by no means a pressure canning expert. I’ve been preserving and canning since I was young(er) but only started pressure canning in the past couple of years.
First things first. You need to make some chicken broth. Here’s my recipe which is really more of a guide of what to throw into the pot. When I buy or make roast chicken we never eat the leftovers. Instead, after one meal I put the rest of the carcass into the freezer for making chicken broth with later. It always works out that by the time I’ve used up all our chicken broth, there are enough frozen chicken parts in the freezer to make broth again. The roast chickens are great to use because they have that roasted flavour to them which is perfect in broth. PERFECT I SAY!
I make the broth the day before I know I’m going to can it. Making broth and canning all in the same day is for crazy people.
Organize yourself. Get everything ready.
Gather your tools. A funnel, magnetic lid lifter, a jar lifter and a damp cloth or paper towels.
You can buy a kit with the jar lifter, funnel and magnetic lid lifter for about $12 at most hardware stores.
Fill your jars with hot broth. In canning, the “headspace” is the amount of space you leave between the rim of the jar and whatever you’re filling it with.
Each thing requires a different headspace. For example canning tomatoes might require a 1/2 head space while canning chicken broth requires an inch.
So make sure you have 1″ headspace between the broth and the rim of your jar.
Even if you use a funnel you’re bound to drop into the rim of the jar. Always wipe the rim with a damp cloth.
If anything at all is on the rim of the jar it won’t seal.
Using your magnetic seal lifter, pull out a seal from your pot of hot (not boiling) water and place it on the jar.
Put your ring on and finger tighten. You don’t have to put your rings in the pot of water. I just do it because I always have.
Do not over tighten your rings. As a side note, once your jars have sealed you can remove the rings. There’s no reason for them to remain on the jar. The seals are what keeps the jar sealed. The rings are only needed during the actual sealing process.
Using the jar lifter, place your hot packed jars into the pressure canner. Different products and sized jars require different processing times.
For chicken broth in 500 ml jars (pint) you process for 20 minutes.
If you are using 1 litre (quart) jars, process for 25 minutes.
Before processing you need to “vent” your canner. Get rid of the air/steam inside so you can build up the proper pressure.
Just put the lid on (without the weight on it) and turn it up to medium/high. When steam starts coming out of the top, set your timer for 10 minutes.
Once those 10 minutes are up you’re good to go.
Put your 10lb weight on the canner and wait for it to come to pressure.
When the weight jiggles or knocks a few times every minute, your canner is up to pressure.
Only start your timer for processing once your canner is up to pressure.
Getting a canner up to pressure can take several minutes.
Once your weight is jiggling and you’re at pressure set your timer.
20 minutes for 500 ml (pint) jars
25 minutes for 1 litre (quart) jars
When your timer goes off and your jars have finished processing, turn the stove off.
Leave the lid on and allow the pressure canner to return to normal pressure.
Once the pressure is down to normal you can remove the lid.
Wait another 10 minutes and then remove your jars.
These instructions are for someone who has a basic knowledge of canning. For instance, one area of variation in pressure canning and water bath canning is altitude. Since all pressures and processing time are based on the boiling point of water … if you live above 1,000 feet above sea level you need to change your processing times and/or pressures. This is because water boils at a lower temperature the higher your altitude. All canning books explain this.
It sounds scary and complicated but once you understand it, it’s not.
The only time canning is dangerous is when you don’t follow the directions. You MUST follow the instructions exactly. If you under process you’ll be in trouble. If you don’t use the proper headspace you could be in trouble. If you don’t use the exact ingredients called for you’ll be in trouble.
But as long as you can follow the rules … no trouble.
I’ve had my canner out on the stove for the past couple of weeks and I imagine that’s where it will stay until the end of summer. Every few days I bring in a bunch of tomatoes and jar them so I’ll have fresh diced tomatoes for soups, stews and chili in the winter.
It’s a big gawdawful looking thing sitting on the stove. And I love it. This big gawdawful looking thing on my chin? Not so much.