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.
- 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.
What You’ll Need
- 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.
- Fill your jars with hot broth making sure you have 1″ of headspace between the broth and the rim of your jar.
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.
3. Using your magnetic seal lifter, pull out a seal from your pot of hot (not boiling) water and place it on the jar.
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.
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.
Use a second rack if necessary.
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.
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
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.
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.
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