Canning Chicken

The Covered Dish

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WOW, we just finished watching the ‘Wonderful’ Super Bowl. Holy Cow, that was some game. I was pretty tired out today, but after that winning touch-down, I came back to life!

I took on a pretty big project this weekend canning fresh chicken. This week the sale bill came out at our Harter House grocery store for boneless skinless breasts at 1.99 a pound. The first thing I needed to determine was whose ‘chicken’ was on sale. Since running the culinary school I’m in pretty good standing with the people in my local meat market, which happens to be Harter House. My phone call concurred what I would be doing this weekend, as I learned it was Springer Farms Chicken. I placed a call to our son’s gal, Paige, and said: ‘If you want to learn it’s this weekend.’ Saturday wrapped up with 7 quarts of chicken and then today I completed the project with 5 more quarts. So, I barely wrap it up before the game starts, goodies are in the kitchen and homemade enchiladas are about ready to roll. I perch myself in the recliner and start the game. To my surprise I found myself nodding off throughout the first half of the game. I guess it was needed, the second half and overtime started, what a night.

Let’s chat just a bit about some of my observations. Remember when the chicken is boneless/skinless there isn’t going to be a great deal of stock. In this canning run I put the chicken up in quarts. You’re never going to know how much stock will come through in the canning. I put about 2 inches of water in my jars after I filled them with 2 very and I mean very large breasts. With the stock and the water my chicken came out totally submerged in liquid, which is ‘good’. I did use a teaspoon of salt free bouillon ‘Herb Ox’ in each jar, but NO salt. Usually I would, but I didn’t have any canning salt on hand. As noted in the directions using regular table salt is a no no.

People who are not a part of the canning world will ask why a person goes to all the work canning their own chicken? The top answer will be knowing what you’re eating and making sure you’re consuming quality foods. I grew up on a farm and I knew I was eating quality foods, and I took that for granted. Today my son’s

generation doesn’t have the ‘farm’ and he’s cautious of the pans he cooks his food in, along with the quality of the foods he consumes. The second big reason for canning is the handiness of the cooked chicken & in most cases the cost factor.

Another question I’ve encountered is how do you use the chicken? Seriously; where do I begin: chicken enchiladas, chicken salad, chicken and dumplings, tacos, fajitas, chicken and noodles and on and on.

The only, and I mean only drawback is the time factor, especially when you work full-time. Give it a go, we’ve got to try some things to cut the cost of expenditures at the store. Enjoy the week, do good things! Simply yours The Covered Dish.

Canned Chicken, raw packed

3 pounds lean chicken strips

8 pint jars, flats and rings

Small saucepan with water to boil flats

Gloves

Tongs

Dishcloth and towel

Pressure Canner

Sterilize pint jars and prepare saucepan with flats to boil. Pack chicken into jars raw, within one full inch of the neck of the jar. DO NOT over pack and go all the way to the bottom of the neck. As the chicken is processed the natural juices will begin filling the jar. After processing the jar may not be totally full, this is fine. Better to be a little low that overfill.

Wipe and clean the tops of each canning jar. Boil flats in saucepan covered with water. Bring to a hard boil and then allow to simmer for 4-5 minutes. Wipe flats lightly, adhere to jar and tighten down with the ring.

Place jars on the rack inside the canner and cover with the amount of water required by your canner model. (Follow guide instructions explicitly.) Our chicken today was processed at 12 pounds for one hour and twenty minutes, with pint jars. Most guidebooks suggest around ten pounds for one hour and five minutes. We like to be overly cautious. Salt does not have to be included in the canning process.

Fresh chickens that have just been processed should chill for 6-12 hours before they are canned. Salt may be added to processing, but be sure to use canning salt versus table salt. Table salt contains a compound that prevents the salt from clumping. This same compound will cloud the canning jar. Chicken may also be canned with the bones. Do not allow too much fat to go into canning, it can result in a pour outcome.

Most large canners hold 7 quarts or 8-9 pints, depending upon the jar style.

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