Chicken canning at home is easier than you think. If you want to try something new, you can do this in the comfort of your home. There are different ways to make canned chicken, but they’re all simple and fun to do.
To succeed in chicken canning, you must learn the step-by-step guide first and have the right equipment. Having a ready-to-eat home-canned chicken in your pantry can save you time and money when you need last-minute meals for your family or friends. It’s also super easy to prepare, and you can make a lot of delicious canned chicken recipes from it, too.
Thus, follow these steps and make a delectable canned chicken for your pantry shelf.
1. Gather all the equipment and supplies needed
Of course, you need to gather all the equipment before the chicken canning process. Be sure to get ready with your pressure canner since it’s the most important tool you’ll need.
Chicken meat is a low-acid food, and a regular boiling-water canner won’t be able to heat it at a high temperature to make it safe for storage. So, if you don’t have a pressure canner, you must buy one first or borrow from someone you know who has it.
More so, you have to prepare other items, such as canning jars, canning utensils, lids, bands, and a cutting board. Get the ingredients ready as well, like salt for flavoring and, of course, the chicken. Once you’ve completed all of these, you can begin the chicken canning process.
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2. Prepare the chicken and put them inside the jar
You have two methods to choose from when canning meat. You can use the raw pack method, wherein you cut the meat, pack it into the jar, add a bit of liquid or nothing at all, and process it.
On the other hand, you can choose to do the hot pack method, wherein you cook the meat a little bit before packing it into the jar and then add some liquid and process it.
The advantage of the hot pack method is that the meat loses its water content when it’s cooked, and you can pack more into the can. It also improves the shelf life of a canned chicken.
Once you’ve decided what method to use, you can chop the chicken into chunks or however you like it to fit it in the jar. Be sure to leave about an inch of headspace to close the lid properly. However, if you want to keep chicken with bones, separate the meat at the joints and make it a point to slice it fittingly into the jar.
3. Sprinkle a bit of salt
Adding a bit of salt to the chicken is optional. You can put about 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a pint-sized jar and 1/2 to 1 teaspoon in a quart-sized one. This is done to add a bit of flavor to the chicken. But if you don’t want to sprinkle a little bit of salt at all, it’s fine.
4. Wipe the rims
Your chicken canning success might depend on this step. Wipe the rims and adjust the lids tightly, but don’t overtighten, or else, it won’t be able to exhaust properly. You can wipe the rims with a bit of vinegar to seal them perfectly.
5. Get the pressure canner ready
Now that you’ve put the chicken in the jar, you can prepare the pressure canner already. Check the metal-to-metal seal for lubrication and make sure that the vent pipe is clear. Once done, you can place 1 1/2 inches of water at the bottom of the canner. Then place the rack at the bottom with the rim facing down.
6. Put the jars in the pressure canner
Never place the jars directly on the pressure canner. Instead, use the rack and put them on top. In addition, make sure to spread out the top layer if there are two layers. You can fit about 6 to 7 pint-sized jars at the bottom and 7 to 9 jars on top.
7. Place the cover on the pressure canner
When you’ve put all the jars in the pressure canner, you’re now ready to place the cover on the canner’s bottom, so the arrow on the cover aligns with the one at the bottom.
Evenly tighten two opposite wing nuts at the same time, while maintaining the same size gap around the whole canner wherein the cover meets the bottom. Never tighten only one wing nut, for you don’t want a lop-sided lid.
8. Exhaust for a few minutes
After placing the cover on the canner, turn the stove on high and allow the steam to escape from the vent pipe. And once you see steam breaking out, start timing for about 7 to 10 minutes to let the air get out from the jars.
Then switch to the two positions or 11 lbs of pressure and reduce your heat to medium. Wait until the steam begins to come out again.
9. Adjust the heat
It takes 75 minutes to cook chicken in pint-sized jars, so time it properly. Adjust the heat until the regulator weight starts to jiggle. Also, try to keep the pressure steady by regulating the heat applied to the canner. After this, turn off the heat and wait for the pressure canner to depressurize.
10. Open the cover and remove the jars from the canner
Never loosen the wing nuts if the steam pressure gauge doesn’t register zero. Until then, you can safely open the cover of the canner away from you so any extra steam won’t hit your face.
And then, remove the jars from the canner carefully and put them on a clean towel to set. Wait until you hear a popping sound to know that your jars are properly sealed.
11. Label the jars and store them
Wipe the jars off once they are cool and label them with the date and contents. Let them rest for 12 to 24 hours before using them and store them in a cool, dark area.
Follow these steps, and you’ll be able to ace chicken canning! Learning an old-fashioned skill like this is very fulfilling. You can even pass it on to your family members or friends.
And you’ll never have to worry about not having a ready-to-eat meal to serve when you’ve got no time to cook. Just get one jar in your pantry, and you’re good to go!