Using Your Pressure Canner.
Lesson 1 – Chicken Broth

Welcome to canning season.  Easily recognized by the sight of vegetable gardeners running screaming from tomato plants and pressure canners spitting and sputtering in homesteaders (and wanna be homesteaders) kitchens across the land.

 

One of the comments I get a lot from readers, friends and neighbours is … really???  Really.  You DON’T like Game of Thrones.  I do not.

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.

I do the same thing with soups, stews, chili … anything liquidy. And it works great.

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 than stuff from the store because it’s already in your house. I know.  You’re afraid.  That’s probably a good thing, but you don’t need to be.

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 but just like with gardening there’s always someone who knows more than me.  That’s pretty much true of everything actually. 


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 I 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 my 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.

I USE THIS MIRROR PRESSURE CANNER.

It’s among the lower priced pressure canners and has always worked very well but has the WORST instruction booklet probably ever made.

If you want to go high end, the best of the best, The All American Pressure Canner is the way to go.

How to Pressure Can Chicken Broth

 Organize yourself.  Get everything ready.

Prepare

  • Heat 3″ of water in a pressure canner.
  • Heat your broth in a large pot and keep at a very low simmer
  • Put your canning seals and rings in a pot of barely simmering water.  Not boiling!
  • Stick clean canning jars in a 225f / 105 c oven.

Pressure Canning 1

What You’ll Need

  • funnel
  • magnetic lid lifter
  • jar lifter
  • damp cloth or paper towels
  • canning jars
  • canning jar seals and lids

You can buy a kit with the jar lifter, funnel and magnetic lid lifter for about $10 on Amazon.

Pressure Canning Tools

 

Steps

  1. Fill your jars with hot broth making sure you have 1″ of headspace between the broth and the rim of your jar.

Pressure Canning Fill


TIP

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 you can requires a different headspace.  For example canning tomatoes might require a 1/2 head space while canning chicken broth requires an inch. Usually the thinner the liquid the more headspace it requires because it pulls up towards the lid easier when under pressure.  The reason you leave headspace is so the liquid isn’t pulled all the way out of the sealer when under pressure. This would prevent a seal from happening.


2. Wipe the rim of the jar with a damp towel. If anything at all is left on the rim the jar will not seal.

Pressure Canning Wipe Rim

 

3. Using your magnetic seal lifter, pull out a seal from your pot of hot (not boiling) water and place it on the jar.

Pressure Canning Seal

 

4. 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.

 

Pressure Canning Ring


TIP

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.


5. 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.

Pressure Canning

Use a second rack if necessary.

Pressure Canning Top Rack

 

NOW you start canning.

  • Before processing you need to “vent” your canner.  Get rid of the air/steam inside so you can build up the proper pressure. To vent your canner:

6. Put the lid on your canner (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 your canner has been properly vented and you’re good to go.

Pressure Canning Venting

7. 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.


* NOTE:  If you live anywhere above an altitude of 1,000 feet you’ll need to change the weight used when canning.  This page has a great adjustment chart and link to finding out your altitude. 


20 minutes for 500 ml (pint) jars

25 minutes for 1 litre (quart) jars

Pressure Canning Weight

 

8. 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.

Pressure Canned Chicken Broth

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.  Just don’t wing it.

I’ve had my canner out on the stove for the past few weeks and I imagine that’s where it will stay until the end of fall.

It’s a big gawdawful looking thing sitting on the stove. And I love it. That big gawdawful production, Game of Thrones?  Not so much.

disclaimer: Yeah, I know you love Game of Thrones. You cried when it ended.  It’s the best show ever made.  I understand.  I  just don’t like it.

→Follow me on Instagram where I often make a fool of myself←

 

Using Your Pressure Canner.<br data-lazy-src=

112 Comments

  1. Contrarian says:

    Respectfully, some of your terminology is wrong.

    One does not “jar” tomatoes, one “cans” them. Regardless of the container in which food is preserved, it’s “canned” food, not “jarred” food. (If you want to “jarred” tomatoes, slam them down on the counter, or call their mother a cucumber.)

    This may seem like a nitpick to some, but using made-up words makes the speaker sound foolish and ignorant.

  2. Penny says:

    Er… newbie pressure canner here… I have a guage on my pressure canner – am assuming it needs to be at 11 pounds, same as for fish? Reading through the above, can I ask, I was told only high acid food can be hot water bath canned, but meat, fish etc needs to be pressure canned only to kill the bad bugs? Also, I cook in a pressure cooker (have done for years even though was V scared to begin with) but bought a proper pressure canner to do meat, fish etc… also from the west coast, so my first shot was fresh caught coho and it was sooooo much better than the store bought stuff when we opened it!!PS love your blog.

    • Karen says:

      Penny. If your altitude is 0 – 1,000 (normal) then you would have your gauge at 10 lbs. If you’re 1,001 – 2,000 ft you would go to 11 lbs. Good luck! ~ karen

  3. Zoe says:

    Pressure canner even

    It’s Friday

    I’m sorry.

  4. Zoe says:

    Starting to freeze my bones – am excited to make real chicken broth – i may not have room for a pressure cooker but now I know how to get rid of the icky fat and make yummy broth
    Thank you

  5. Dru says:

    We can using the hot water bath. And now you have convinced me to use this method for chicken broth. Yum!!

  6. Marty says:

    Do your chickens know about this?

  7. Raymonde says:

    Hi Karen,
    I ‘ve been pressure canning for a few years now and I love it! I can chicken stock, vegetables, soup, spaghetti sauce, couscous, meat, etc…
    I’ve been told that heating your jars in the oven will make them fragile and more prone to breaking, so I just put them through the dishwasher on “sanitize”. It gets them to the right temperature! :-)

    • Karen says:

      Thanks Raymonde – I’ve done that too. Also, the best thing to do is just keep the jars in the hot water in the pressure canner. Still … hard to break the oven habit. :) ~ karen

  8. carey says:

    It never occurred to me that one could can chicken broth, brilliant.

  9. Liz says:

    Sooo why don’t you just freeze your chicken broth in ziplock bags? It’s way easier! I like the magnetic lid lifter though, didn’t know they existed. Will have to look for one.

    • Karen says:

      Liz – 2 reasons. a) Like I said at the beginning of the post, I used to freeze my broth, but I find it incredibly inconvenient to have to stack it in the freezer and then defrost it. I hate it. I much prefer opening the jar. b) This *is* called The Art of Doing Stuff. Not the art of doing whatever’s easiest. Especially when easiest isn’t better. Sometimes easiest is better … but not in this case. ~ karen!

      • Deb says:

        I can’t even tell you how much I love this idea! I freeze my stock now and hate having to defrost those bags before I can use it. I am going today to buy a pressure canner. If I use it for nothing more than stock, it will be worth every penny. (I have been water bath canning for years and just bought the magnetic lid thingy this year. No more burning my fingers! LOVE IT!)

        Thank you AGAIN for a great idea.

      • Deb says:

        Pressure canning my first batch of broth as we speak! SO excited. Can’t wait for them to get out the ‘cooker’. THANK YOU AGAIN!!

      • Karen says:

        Oh you’re welcome! Once you start canning your broth you’ll never go back. ~ karen!

  10. Gayla T says:

    You would have liked my mother. When I married she bought me a very special shower gift. A canner and the Blue Balls Book. You might think the name of it is the Ball Canning Book but no, It’s the Blue Balls Book. And it will be to you now, too, because once you have heard it called that it never leaves your brain. She had a lot of those little jewels and that is totally what is wrong about me. I’m like old Rosie the Riveter to a T. She left Kansas when my dad joined the Navy and went to work in a ship building factory on the Gulf of Mexico at Galveston TX. riveting the metal plates into place. Once again you have taught this old dog a new trick. I have never seen let alone owned a magnetic lid lifter. That’s a great invention. Have you canned deer meat? It’s to die for. We always pick deer meat to death and get all the muscles and sinews off so it’s just meat. Fill a quart jar w/it and add about 1/2 t. salt, a garlic clove, a bay leaf if you like it and a little piece of beef suet. I don’t remember how long we process it because it’s been 3 years since anyone has given us a deer but it tells in the Blue Balls Book. Last time we did one we were at my daughter’s neighbor’s and a guy honked to tell us that a grain truck just ran over one of their cows so we cleaned and canned it and then the guys brought us wine coolers and a hog. We worked way into the night and had 3 canners going at once. I have swooned away in a faint that has taken days to recover from when anyone mentions getting together to can a deer. It was awful. We froze most of the hog but did can some sausage as it is great to make biscuits and gravy since it’s alreaady cooked and you don’t have to make room in the freezer. Back to the deer meat……open a jar and heat it up and pour over rice and it’s dinner and so darn good. It’s so tender and juicy. Now, I’m getting the bug to can deer again and it’s too much work. Even w/o the cow and hog.

  11. Carolyn says:

    Ok, this post of yours made me finally order a pressure cooker & the tools to go with it! I grow tomatoes & have been thinking about canning them since we won’t be able to eat them as fast as they ripen. I love making chicken broth too, so this will definitely be helpful. No more store bought broth! Thanks Karen!

    • Karen says:

      Congratulations on becoming a canner Carolyn! I just did tomatoes last weekend for the same reason as you! ~ karen

  12. Sarah In Illinois says:

    I am one of those readers that emailed you that I am scared to death of pressure canning.

    The way you described it sounds a little less intimidating! I will definitely borrow one of those books from the library and research more. I may just attempt this with next year’s bounty from the garden! Thank you so much!!

    • Mary W says:

      I’m 72 and my Mom cooked food constantly in a pressure cooker but also constantly told us kids to keep away, it could blow at any time and burn or kill us. (She was very effective at keeping us out of her kitchen.) Anyway, it took years to get me to even try a pressure cooker, but when I did, I fell in love with it. I used it to cook but also to can and was so very proud of the wonderful jars lined up each summer – ready to use and looking so homey. I used it for years, following the instructions carefully, and without fear – after the first few times. I think my Mom’s warnings were to just keep us away while she was busy. I used the weighted style and know that 50 years have passed between then and now with even safer and more reliable pressure cookers.

  13. Kathe says:

    Am I correct: a pressure canner should not be confused with a pressure cooker?

    • David says:

      A pressure cooker is usually a lot smaller than a cooker. It is not generally a good idea to can things in. A pressure canner is built for both, although you may not want to cook in it because of it’s size. It will have a rack in the bottom to place the jars on. I’m not sure about the pressure gauge though.

      • David says:

        “A pressure cooker is usually a lot smaller than a cooker.” Sorry. The canner is bigger.

  14. marne says:

    I have a regular water bath canner, but I’m starting to look at pressure canners, there’s a huge range of prices! Any suggestions what to should look for?

    • Karen says:

      Marne – Well I got mine for Christmas so I didn’t have any choice in it. I probably would have gone for an All American with a dial gauge as opposed to the Mirro with weighted gauge. However … the one thing about the weighted gauges as opposed to the other ones is you don’t have to have them adjusted. With the dial gauges you have to have them tested to make sure they’re still in sync every few years. And go for the biggest you can keep in your house. I have a HUGE one and I still often have to do 2 batches of canning because the canner isn’t big enough to hold all the jars. ~ karen

      • Teri says:

        Dials suck, @karen. Weights are better. You get the rattle, find the angle on your stove’s dial, and all is good. Dials need adjusting and you have to sit there watching the suckers. Weights you can go into the living room on you wonderful chair and listen to the jiggle…. Just saying. Presto is my choice, and I have had a few pressure canners. Presto, 3 weight options, dial for a sense of where you are but weights for safety.

  15. Nancy Blue Moon says:

    I used to can also Karen..but never used a pressure canner..I am seriously contemplating getting back into canning so maybe I will read a bit more about canning this way..Your jars of broth look so nice!!

  16. Elaine says:

    I started doing this last year and I’m hooked! I’ll never freeze stock again. It’s so much more convenient to use it when you don’t have to defrost it first. I also pressure cook my chicken stock. It takes no time at all and you get very flavorful, rich colored stock. If you want to get the fat and murky bits out, just let it cool in the fridge first and skim the top. I’ve also tried pressure cooking pulled pork with great results. Have you used your pressure canner for cooking?

    • Karen says:

      Elaine – I haven’t yet. My pressure canner is so HUGE that cooking in it just seems bizarre. I’m kind of a snob when it comes to pulled pork (do it only on the smoker) but I’d love to try stock in it, or stew … or … pretty much anything. ~ karen

  17. Thera says:

    Very much a newb here, so how long does the food last once properly canned?

  18. Patti says:

    I have to say, though I don`t have the space for a pressure canner, for those of you who do – you can make other people`s DAYS by sharing the fruits of your labour! I just recently got married and a friend of ours put together a fabulous gift for us – wicker basket with cloth napkins, metal wine glasses, red and white wine, and YUMMMIES: jarred tomatoes, pickles, hot pickled veggies, apple sauce, salsa, jam – oh, what an AMAZING gift!! Since wedding season is still in full swing, just thought I`d put that out there for you guys!

  19. christine hilton says:

    I kinda wanted to see your zit.

  20. cred says:

    I just water-bath canned some salsa last night. But a pressure canner would be so much more useful for me.
    Any tips on the best one to buy one and the best price? I was looking at pressure ‘cookers’ (different, I know) but I haven’t shopped around for canners.

    • Donna T says:

      cred… I’ve used pressure cookers for years. For canning I like the one with the gauge best, I think I got it at Sears, but they’re available lots of places. I like the one with the “rocking weight” for cooking meals quick! (About 30 minutes for cooking meat or a pot of beans!)

      I use the UNpressurized canner (water bath) for jams, jellies, fruit, tomatoes, or anything else with a high acid content!

      Karen… I found one of those blue things with the magnet in my mom’s stuff… now I know what it is! Thanks!

    • Trish says:

      I’ve been looking to can some salsa. I have a recipe, but its just for making one serving. I’m not sure how many servings it would take to fill up a pint let alone a quart.

      Would you mind sharing how many servings you make and the amount of jars you use to put them up? useful tips, etc.

      Thanks! trish

    • Tina says:

      I’d like to know if you have recommendations, too. My daughter is doing the whole farm to table thing and lots of canning this year. I thought it might be a great Xmas gift!

      • Karen says:

        Hi Tina. A recommendation for a canner you mean? I can tell you I use the Mirro canner which a lot of people seem to have trouble with based on the incredibly AWFUL instruction booklet that comes with it. I haven’t had any trouble with it, but some people find it’s hard to tell when it’s up to pressure. The be all and end all of pressure canners is usually the All American but they’re $$$.

      • Raymonde says:

        I’ve had a Presto pressure canner for years and I love it! I can a lot of stuff: vegetables, fruits, meat, soups and main meals.
        Another great source for pressure canning information is this one from the USDA. https://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html
        Have fun canning!

      • Teri says:

        Presto and get the weights – the gauge is informative but a pain in the keister – get the weights!!! particularly for canning meat, which can be 90 minutes. I have an All American from a friend, too (yes, I have TWO pressure canners) but the presto comes out first, the AA is only when I have lots to do and two canners on the go – the AA is REALLY REALLY REALLY heavy.

  21. sarah says:

    another thing someone has thought of to do with mason Jars – on kickstarter…….
    http://www.kickstarter.com/projects/556156026/the-mason-jar-cocktail-shaker?ref=email

  22. Ann says:

    I am planning on buying a pressure cooker soon. I have to be careful to buy one that says it can be used on a glass top stove. Who knew when I was coveting a smooth top stove that they would be so picky about what type of pans worked on them?

    Anyways, for now I put my chicken stock in the straight sided jars and freeze them that way. They stack nicely in my freezer. Also I can thaw them pretty quickly by either placing the opened jar in the microwave to get it started or in a jar of warmish water.

    Also Ball now has a new sized jar. It is a pint and a half with straight sides. Perfect for putting up asparagus or dilly beans but also very useful for freezing broth, tomatoes and other assorted things.

    • David says:

      I use my canner on my glass top stove all the time. Just make sure the stove is level, and clean. It can not have anything like built up burnt foods on it. Lowe’s has a kit for cleaning it. It comes with a razor blade w/ holder, a jell cleaner, and a scrubbing pad that will not scratch the top. Can away.

  23. Gloria says:

    I have never canned but really want to. Is there a big difference between a regular canning pot and a pressure one?

    • Karen says:

      Gloria – Yes. A regular canning pot is only tall and deep. It probably has a rack to put at the bottom of the pot. It’s meant for water bath canning only. A pressure can has a lid that locks in place, safety vents, and gauges or weights that keep the contents inside the canner at a certain pressure. You cannot substitute a regular canning pot for a pressure canner/cooker. ~ karen!

  24. Tricia Rose says:

    My parents used a pressure cooker all the time, put me off for life.

  25. My husband got me a pressure canner for my birthday. The first birthday we spent as a married couple. Most wives would lose it, but I nearly cried with joy. We mainly use it for salmon and halibut (yum) but now I have a really good recipe for chicken broth….thanks!

    PS- If you ever want to come fish for some of the greatest Pacific salmon in the world, just drop me a line……after the fishing we can process it together!

    • Karen says:

      Hmm. I do enjoy fishing … And one of the fish that I’ve never caught … (or went fishing for really) is a salmon! Unless you count a rainbow trout. Which, why would you? ~ karen!

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