Monday, July 18, 2011

Canning chicken

I was stunned when I learned you could can meat. And worried! Aren't pressure cookers dangerous I thought? Luckily I had a friend who showed me how. And it's amazingly easy!
There are so many benefits to doing this. I can stock up on chicken when it's on sale. Grocery stores here frequently have sales where boneless chicken breasts are $1.50 lb or less. At first I got the butcher to cut them into 1" pieces for me, but I found I could usually fit 2 breasts in each pint jar, & didn't have to mess with that. The chicken comes out tender & breaks easily into small pieces. I prefer to raw pack mine (faster & easier) & then use chicken broth rather than salt & water. This tastes so much better than canned chicken in those little tuna like cans, & is WAY cheaper. I can stock up a lot more...before I was limited to how much I could fit in my freezer. And then if the power went out I had to worry about all that chicken going bad! And the chicken is cooked during the canning process. Another plus if the power is out...we don't have to find a way to cook it! I have since canned hundreds of pounds of chicken. Besides being good for my food storage, it makes preparing regular meals much faster. I no longer have to cut & cook chicken before adding it to recipes. I can get homemade chicken noodle soup simmering on the stove in 5 min. Chicken tacos, chicken in soup, chicken over rice, the possibilities are endless. And no more forgetting to defrost either! It's a lifesaver for my stressed single mom life, & a real blessing for my food storage. And you can do other kinds of meat as well! More on that later!
Here's a very user friendly guide to canning chicken:
and here's an official extension service guide:

It kind of looks weird in the jar when it first comes out. Don't worry, take it out of the jar & break it up & it looks normal. I thought it was raw the first time I took it out.

Also, see if a neighbor has a pressure canner you can borrow to see if you like doing it. Someone is sure to have one, & if they don't use it a lot you may not have to buy one. If you do want one, this is what I have & I've been very happy with it. It's a good price, fits a lot of jars, but not so many I can't lift it off the heat. Good directions included.

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