Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Canning chicken

      Remember I said I would post about canning meat when it was on sale? Well Chicken breast was on sale last week at Reams for $1.39 a pound. So I bought about 12 pounds of boneless skinless chicken breasts and gathered together every half pint jar I had which was 15 jars. I had hoped for more when I bought the chicken, 15 jars would only hold about 7 and a half pounds. So the rest would have to be frozen.

     Home canning any food needs to be done according to a tested and approved recipe with proper tools.
You need to have a pressure canner to can any vegetable or meat safely because boiling alone will not get up to a high enough temperature to kill bacteria ( like Clostridium botulinum bacteria which causes botulism) that thrive in low acid, low oxygen environments. Meats and vegetables and some other foods are low acid, most fruits and tomatoes are high acid and may be safely canned in a water bath caner.

First you must clean everything thoroughly; the jars lids and canning tools can be washed in the dishwasher and the canner  must be washed by hand because it is too big to fit in the dishwasher. Next  put the canner on the stove filled part way with water and turn the burner to high. Also fill the water bath canner with water, turn the burner to high, and put all the clean jars into the water bath canner. Then fill a sauce pan with water and turn it to medium for the lids.

       Next cut the chicken into chunks to make it easier to fit into the jars. You can see I have four cutting boards set up, the one on the top left where the uncut chicken was set, the one below that was where I trimmed and cut the chicken, the green one to the right is for the cut up chicken and the clear thin one on the top right was for the trimmings and fat.

Yes I am left handed I know it looks odd.

 Next set everything you need next to stove: the chicken, the jar lifter, the lid lifter, the plastic spatula, the funnel, and the rims (in the measuring cup). Then fill each jar one by one lifting them out of the water bath canner, pouring out the water and filling them with chicken, leaving one inch head space ( the space between the top of the jar and the top of the food and liquid.), sprinkle a 1/4 teaspoon for halt pints 1/2 teaspoon for pints and 1 teaspoon for quarts, canning salt over the chicken and pour a little hot water over it. Then wipe the rim of the jar clean then lift a lid out of the sauce pan and place it on the jar, screw down the rim "finger tight" and place it into the canner.

Once they are all filled and placed into the canner put the lid on the caner. (I have a weighted pressure canner and at the altitude I live food must be processed at 15lbs of pressure to be safe, If you have a dial pressure gauge this part will be different.) Wait until steam comes out the vent on the top. Time ten minutes of steam before putting the weight on the vent. After the weight starts to rock gently start the timer for one hour and ten minutes for half pints, an hour and fifteen minutes for pints and an hour and thirty minutes for quarts. Stay where you can hear the sound of the weight rocking and adjust the heat to keep the weight rocking gently. Once the processing time has passed, turn off the burner and move the canner off the heat and wait until the pressure in the canner dissipates.

Once the pressure drops open the canner and take out the jars placing them on a clean towel to cool overnight.
 In the morning check the seals on the jars by pressing on the middle of the lids. If they pop up, refrigerate that jar and use soon. Clean and label the jars and store in a cool dark place for up to one year.
The white lids are tattler brand lids which are reusable, this is my first time using them.


  1. Well, this is really cool. I look forward to trying it. Thank you for posting such precise directions for those of us who are completely clueless.

  2. Wow, canning meat, that sounds intimidating. Question, what do you do with the meat when you want to use it, is it cooked, or do you have to cook it? Canning meat is something that I see as infinitely important for food storage, but I am very scared to do it. But, this summer hopefully we'll have a big, productive garden and I can start canning some fruits and veggies first.

  3. the canning prosses cooks the chicken and I am learning how to use it. I have made a BBQ chicken sauce that I put over rice and made Alfredo chicken and chicken quesadia. I am sure it would work for chicken salad like at my brothers wedding reception that was made with store bought canned chicken.