This is my beautiful pressure canner. I inherited it from my Grandmother 5 years ago when she moved in with my mom, because her Alzheimer’s had progressed to a point that she needed more care. She’d been using it for a while and I have no idea how old it is, but I’m so grateful to have it because they are quite an investment.
I take it in every year to a little repair shop where they test the pressure gauge to make sure it’s working right (which is a good idea even if you have a new one, since your good health depends on it working properly!) If you call your local extension service they can usually refer you to someone who can test it for you, and sometimes they even sponsor events to test them.
Today I’m canning chicken stock. You’ll wanna prepare and gather all your supplies before you get going, cause trust me, it’s not fun to be running around looking like a chicken with it’s head cut off. No offense to all the chickens out there.
Get your pressure canner on the stove and put in the recommended water for your particular brand (read the instruction manual, people! That’s what they’re for!….I’m not targeting comment that towards any particular
gender group of people, mind you. Mine calls for 5 cups of water. Heat the water so that it is just coming to a boil as you are ready to put your jars in.
Make sure your mason jars (yes, the only kind you want to use because they’re designed to work properly with the lids and rings and “under pressure” so to speak) are squeaky clean and sanitized, and are hot. You can run them through a dishwasher cycle and leave them in the hot dishwasher, or fill them with hot, hot water in a pot or slow cooker. Also check for chips and cracks in particular around the top rim. These will prevent a good seal and could result in spoilage or breakage.
Wash your lids and rings. Put your lids in a pan of water that is just barely at a simmer for a minimum of 10 minutes. Don’t allow the water to come to a boil as it can damage the sealing compound. Remove one at a time as needed for canning.
Bring your chicken stock to a boil (remember in Wednesdays post you refrigerated overnight so you could remove the solidified fat). Fill jars one at a time using a funnel (you like my nifty collapsible funnel? Me too!), leaving 1 inch headspace.
Clean the rims with a clean damp rag and dry. This removes any food particles or things that would interfere with the seal. Place a lid on top and center the sealing compound on the rim. Put your band on and screw on until finger tight….you want it firmly tightened, but not as tight as you can make it, if that makes any sense? (Have you ever used your NON-dominant hand to do something so that your dominant hand could take a picture of it? Requires serious talent, believe you me!)
As you fill your jars, place them in the canner on the rack. Once you have all your jars in the canner, put the lid on and lock it. You want to start timing when you see a white stream of steam (say that fast five times!) and maintain it for 10 minutes. Then you’ll add your pressure regulator to your vent pipe. Watch the gauge closely as it starts to build pressure. Pressure canners can be scary, and there are lots of stories about how scary they are, but I think you’ll find that if you STAY IN FRONT OF IT AND PAY ATTENTION, the risks will be significantly mitigated. Bring it up to pressure, and then adjust your heat to maintain that pressure for the entire recommended processing time. In this case, it’s 20 minutes for pints, 13 lbs pressure (my altitude is about 4500 feet). The amount of pressure needed to ensure safe results depends on your altitude, so check and double check to make sure you get it right!
After your 20 minutes is up, turn off the heat, but leave the lid locked and the pressure regulator in place. Move off the burner and let it come to 0 (zero) pressure on its own. Then take the pressure regulator off and let sit for 10 minutes. Then remove the lid, but leave the jars inside for 10 minutes. Is all this really necessary? Yes. Then carefully remove your jars to a towel on the counter. Don’t re-tighten the rings, just put them down and leave them for 24 hours, then check for a good seal. The canning lid should be concave and shouldn’t flex up and down at all. Wash your jars and be sure to label them with contents and month and year. Seriously…mystery meals are only fun so many times.
There you have it….canned chicken stock!
Let me know your process for canning chicken stock, or about your experience when you try it!