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Monday, September 13, 2010

Canning Chicken-Raw Pack!!!

I am sure you were just sitting there at home wondering how to keep chicken on your pantry shelf for years at a time and still be able to eat it at a second's notice, right?  It is your lucky day!  I have been so busy getting ready for Super Saturday, and will be for the next two weeks, I thought I would get my mind off things with a little canning lesson.
I realize it takes a special person to even think about, let alone actually can their own meat.  I was one of those people not too long ago.  I will tell you that I stared blankly into my friend Jodi's face when she went on and on about how yummy the meat is and how easy it is to do.  Love ya, Jodi!  I learned my lesson and have been canning all my meat for almost two years now.  Every bite is tender and so full of flavor, not to mention quick and easy to use.  I will never buy canned chicken from the store again!

I found this cartoon and thought it fitting for our lesson :0)
http://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?pid=2113717
So when old Henrietta stops finding egg money and it is time for her to go...I better not even go there...
Start with clean, sterilized jars.  Like with the ground beef, I sterilize the jars, but since my chicken is cold when I can it, I don't keep the jars hot.  My own personal belief is that it leads to broken jars in the canner when you mix hot and cold.
You wanted to see gross things to get you in the mood for Halloween right?  I do apologize for the visuals on this post.  It makes me want to scrub everything with Clorox Kitchen Cleaner.  Anyway, I usually buy 14-16lbs of chicken.  That much chicken will fill 7 wide-mouth quart jars and that is how many jars my canner holds. I wait for the chicken to be on sale for around $1.70lb or so, then buy up a bunch and can it all. 
You can cut the chicken into chunks like this, but you don't really have to cut it at all.  It is only for the ease of getting it out of the jar.  Really, the chicken shreds as you pull it out.  I do like to cut it into chunks so it is already an edible size when it comes out of the jar.  Then I don't have to cut it later, just throw it into whatever I am cooking. 
I load the jar with the chunks, with the aid of my handy dandy wide-mouthed funnel.  Normally I fill the jars about half-way, then squish everything around until all the holes are filled.  I think I was so worried about taking the picture that I filled this jar, took the picture, then realized I hadn't squished.  I took half back out, squished, filled it back in a ways, squished some more, then topped it off.  I have learned not to fill the jars exactly 1" from the top.  I stop at maybe 1 1/2" or so.  I noticed that some of the juices come out of the jar during processing.  If you under-pack the jar just a smidge it takes care of that problem.
Other than salt, don't add anything to the chicken.  When it cooks, it makes it's own liquid-real, fresh chicken broth!  As for the salt, add 1 tsp salt per quart of chicken, or any meat really.  If you are using pints, put in 1/2 tsp salt.  If you are watching your salt, skip it.  It doesn't hurt anything, just adds flavor.
Process for 75 minutes @ 15lbs pressure for Pints
90 minutes @ 15lbs pressure for Quarts.

Due to my painfully cheep tendencies, I use Quarts.  I don't want to use two jars, two lids, and twice the processing time to make two jars of meat.  I pack my meat into quart jars, then just plan two nights of chicken recipes in a row, or two nights of hamburger meals in a row.  The meat, once opened, stays good for 3-4 days in the fridge.  I won't tell you we have stretched that a little, but according to the food safety websites, 3-4 days is acceptable. 

The canned chicken is stored on the shelf in the pantry, and for up to 2-5 years.  No fridge or freezer needed.  You don't have to heat it up to eat it either.  You can open it and eat it out of the jar if you wanted to, like tuna.  Perfect for a cold chicken salad, or throw it in a casserole. 

My friend buys bone-in chicken, cooks it in the crockpot all day, peals it off the bones, then cans it.  The thought exhausts me.  You can do it that way, but I really think the raw pack method is the way to go.  The chicken ends up cheaper when you aren't paying for bones and the whole process is so fast when you skip the extra cooking.  Also, I took a nutrition class in college where we were beaten over the head with the idea that the more you cook something, the more nutrients you take away from it.  I love that when you put the chicken in the can raw, it is cooked in it's own juices and most of the vitamins that are released are kept right there in the can.  If you use the broth from the jar, you are still getting most of those vitamins :0)  Again, it is all theory according to Vanessa and I really can't vouch for my mind these days.  All I can say is that my family really loves the meals I make with my canned chicken :0)  You should try it!  I am open for any questions you might have along the way!!!

Need a little more chicken humor?  Check out this link for some chicken chuckles.  They were worth mentioning, but not worth the money they charged to post the pictures :0)

41 comments:

  1. I have never heard of this. If you were sitting in front of me when I read the beginning of this post, you would get the same look your friend Jodi did. I don't can, but I remember my mom and grandma doing it. And the thought that I could have a stock of chicken on my shelf appeals to me. Thanks for the information!

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  2. I've been canning fruits & veggies for 10 years but haven't tried meats yet. I'm gonna start watching for chicken to go on sale :-)

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  3. Thanks for the tip....Never knew you could do this!

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  4. thanks for your tips ... just have a question regarding the liquid in the jar ... do you drain it or use it when it comes time to make a chicken meal?

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    1. Oh geez, USE IT. It's broth and oh so yummy!

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  5. I totally use the liquid! It is the best, purest broth you can get. I just made Chicken Tortilla Soup last night and added the whole can plus liquid to get the best chicken flavor. You can use the chicken and save the jar of liquid in the fridge a day or two to use with a different meal if you don't need it in tonight's recipe.

    Yumm!
    Vanessa

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  6. Thank you for the good info! I'm excited to can some chicken today.

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  7. This is not really a good idea. Only one tsp of salt per quart is not enough to keep the chicken from growing bad bacteria. How long is one supposed to cook the jars? It is not stated in this entry. Also how about pressure cooking as in retort? This is not very safe as stated in this blog. Sorry.

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    1. I have the times and pressure listed above. It is 75 min. for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. I know that this method of cooking the chicken is newer, but I have been cooking all my meats with this method for three years now and have NEVER had a problem. As mentioned, I took a class to learn this information.

      Thank you for your opinion though :0)
      Vanessa
      The Sew*er, The Caker, The CopyCat Maker

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    2. http://extension.psu.edu/food/preservation/news/2012/versatile-canned-chicken

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  8. 15 PSIg is equivalent to about 250°F, which would be a standard process temperature for low-acid canned foods. A process time of 75 minutes at 250°F for a pint jar of chicken meat is likely to be safe. To do this commercially one would need equipment that met safety standards and was equipped with the proper control and data recording systems to insure and to be able to document that the temperature did not drop at any time during the process. One could also need to document net weights, total fill weights, and in-container initial temperatures at the start of the process in order to be sure that a sufficient thermal process had been delivered. Clearly this is beyond what any home canner can do – hence the fact that no one is allowed to sell low acid foods canned in a home-style pressure cooker.

    Bottom line: if a person knows what he or she is doing and understands what can go wrong, the home-canning recipe described in the link should be safe. That said, I see seven huge oversights in the link: 1) The author doesn’t specify a fill weight for the chicken going into the jar or talk sufficiently about how important it is not to overfill the jars; 2) The author doesn’t talk sufficiently about how important the fill level of brine is and how either underfilling or overfilling can cause issues; 3) The author doesn’t mention that it’s crucial to start with chicken that isn’t too cold – refrigerated meat is probably fine but partially or completely frozen meat could be disastrous; 4) The author doesn’t talk about how important it is to be sure there are no air pockets in the jar before sealing; 5) The author doesn’t discuss how important it is to examine the jars after processing and dispose of any jars with a suspect seal; 6) The author doesn’t mention that the entire process of 75 minutes at 15 psi must be followed with no exceptions or alterations or else the results could be deadly; 7) The author doesn’t stress how important it is to immediately discard any jars that show any signs of swelling or spoilage during storage while being very careful to avoid coming into direct contact with the jar’s contents or any leakage.

    In fact, it wouldn’t have hurt for the authors to have at least mentioned that if something goes wrong, the canned chicken could kill you. And for just that reason, I don’t think I’d ever encourage home canners to try canning low acid foods unless they’ve educated themselves on the potential risks and are very sure that they’re comfortable with those risks and know how to minimize them.

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  9. Holy crap above anonymous poster, lighten up! This is her personal blog, not an FDA approved book on canning. People have a responsibility to educate themselves when learning something like this, such as canning. For instance, reading the manual that came with their canner. She is offering "her" advice and tips on what has worked for her. I am learning to can and this is just one of many internet searches I have done, in addition to reading my manual. Geesh!

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    1. Haha...no problem. That person's post just made me laugh. I am learning to can chicken and will doing my first batch tonight. I found your site to be very informative :) Thanks!

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    2. I ate canned meats that my mother canned my entire childhood....my favorite was venison, but I shouldn't mention that. :) My mom did it with a hot water bath (not a pressure canner) and processed it for 4 hours. None of us ever had a problem. I wanted to thank you for posting this! I got a pressure canner for Christmas last year and it never dawned on me to buy chicken on sale and then can it. We are HUGE chicken salad sandwich people around here!

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    3. I totally agree with you. This post is for canners and they should know the basics if they have gotten as far as canning low acid foods. This blog is not a basic canning class.

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    4. I agree. This is not a basic canning class. This is a personal blog, and I assume by the time one gets to pressure canning, they should know the basics. I love this blog and appreciate the information, since I am new to pressure canning. I know all the safety and basics of canning,since I have been canning for the past two years.

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  10. I have been canning fish for 10 years now and just started with chicken. I love canning and storing my own food. I'm always looking to try something new. To our over cautious friends, I submit that our grandparent weren't commercial grade and it's not rocket science, a good book and some support from people like you are sufficient to keep us "self sufficient" and our pantries stocked with supplies for quick easy home cooked meals. Thanks for an excellent post with good advice and most important - encouragement to try something new. Woot for you!! : )

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    1. Bless you. I really appreciate your support and input. Canning is such a dying art. I don't think we need to make it sound so scary. People do need to be smart about things, research and follow directions, but not get so bound-up that they never try. Thank you again. That other comment bothered me for weeks and it is great to hear I am not a total failure at canning posts :0)

      Vanessa

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  11. Great canning idea! My brother-in-law just bought chickens this year and we were trying to figure out the easiest way to store it all. When they are ready we'll have to try this. By the way, don't worry too much about that over analytical poster. You did mention the time and temps, that you squash the meat down to take out the air bubbles, and that a person should not fill above 1.5 inches from the top of the jar. Don't worry you are great!

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  12. I just canned my first pot roast last night. Its an experiment so I hope it turns out well. If so chicken is next.

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  13. Me like want reading on your website pages on caning! Hope hear from you on of caning!

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  14. I am so grateful for your instructions! I just wanted you to know that more than three years after you wrote this, people are still the entry helpful. It is precisely what I was looking for and I can't wait to fire up my canner and get some chicken on the shelf.

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    1. Wohoo! I read this over Christmas Break and wanted to let you know you totally put a smile on my face. So glad you could use this. I have been canning raw chicken and hamburger for years now and have never once had anything but free time thanks to pre-cooked meat at dinner time! Good luck and Happy January!

      Vanessa
      The Sew*er, The Caker, The CopyCat Maker

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    2. It's now June, 2016 and I've just found this article. Thank you for sharing your experience. I'm new to pressure canning and today will can chicken for the first time. (Boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.59/lb!)I will do cold packing today and pre-cooked tomorrow so we can decide which way we prefer. I'll then teach my nieces what I've learned and, one family at a time, we'll keep this art alive.

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  15. i just found your web site and it is awesome. you really can teach an old dog new tricks. I have always wondered about canning meat and poultry. I do can my own salmon and tuna, but have never done Chicken. Tonight I will rectify that. I read all the posts regarding this and was appalled by anonymous from 2012. She really needs a Zanex or something similar. Thank you for your blog and I am reading all your recipes. We live on a sailboat and planning on cruising. They don't have super markets on little islands out in the middle of no where, so the poultry and meat canning will provide well balanced diets for myself and Hubby.

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  16. I have the same method as you do for chicken but process at 10lbs for 90 mins. Canning is a lost art and wish more people would use and teach it. I can everything I know how to. As far as the one LONG winded reply from 2012, FDA does not give any recommendations on canning poultry but ... it's obviously done and the temp at 10psi is 240deg. hot enough to kill any bacteria and 90min time is surely long enough.

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    1. Agreed! Thanks Shell D. I am so happy to hear you too can your chicken this way. The bean recipe I have does say 10lbs for 90, but I end up throwing cans of beans in the same batch so I think that is where I just went with the highest poundage required by the group. It makes sense that 10 lbs would be enough though. Thanks again for backing up my post!

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  17. So what happens if there is a air bubble that was discovered after it's been processed? Should I toss it out?

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    1. Sorry for the late reply!!! I just was cleaning out email and saw your question. My unprofessional opinion is you don't need to worry. If you see the jars when they come out of the canner, the juices are just boiling like crazy. I find it really hard to believe that there would be any area the steam and the juice has not reached. With pressure canning you really should be fine no matter what. If you are concerned, I would just keep that jar in the fridge and use it first. I have been canning meat for years now, never have inspected a processed jar for air bubbles and never have had any issues, but as always, use your best judgement. I am not a professional and cannot give you a guaranteed yes or no :0/

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  18. I get canned food from stores that has some air in it (re-fried beans, cranberry sauce, etc), so the air isn't too much of an issue as long as MOST of the air is on top of the food. LARGE air pockets are the problem, pin-head sized bubbles are PROBABLY fine. :) Now to convert this recipe to 8oz jars, I'm making dog food and would like to use one jar per day. Small dog, small jars :)
    ~KD6AAJ~

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  19. I find tiny bubbles (pin-head sized) in commercially processed food all the time. LARGE bubbles are what we need to worry about. :) Would you use the same PINT time if using 1/2 pint jars? We have a small dog, so I'd like to use one jar per day for her "dog food" (just chicken breast with chopped up chicken-gizzards and chicken-hearts). Would adding a little water to the jars hurt at all? If not, how much (thinking 1/4-1/2 of the jar after meat is packed, maybe even more)? Thanks, great article!

    ~KD6AAJ~ First time canner, and a man to boot! I have a 15QT American Canner, with an added 3-pressure weight PLUS the gauge. My GrandMa canned, and my friend's Mom canned EVERYTHING and made dog food all the time, so why can't I ??? :)

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  20. I've been canning beef & chicken for a few years now. My family loves it and it's real handy. Never had a problem with storing it or using it after it has been on the shelf for a while. By far one of the easiest things to can!

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  21. I've been canning chicken & beef for a few years now. My family loves it! I've found it to be one of the easiest things to can! No problems with storing it on the shelf As long as it's in a cool dark place should last a long time. The chicken is my favorite!!

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    1. Wohoo! I love it! Keep it alive. This is SUCH a simple way to have a meal in minutes. I have been canning chicken for years and never had one issue. Good luck to your whole crew!

      Vanessa
      The Sew*er, The Caker, The CopyCat Maker

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  22. Thank you for a very informative post.

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  23. If you cooked in a canner not a pressure cooker how long would you cooked it?

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    1. Hey Judy, Its best and safest to use a pressure canner. People did used to can chicken, and probably still do, but it can mean spoilage of your product. Pressure canners are great and you can do your tomatoes in it as well as beans, potatoes, stew meat or even beef stew and broth that you make yourself so it doesn't have any other unwanted ingredients in it. Pressure canners run about $50 to $75 more or less. I've just started using mine and if you read and follow the instructions its easy. I just read a hint that if you are using a pressure canner for the first time to do a trial run with just water so you can see how it works. I wish I had done this but I didn't have any problems as I kept the manual handy. So far I have canned stew beef, 23 pints of tomatoes and 7 quarts and my project today is chicken. I do wish I had read this article first though.

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  24. I have been canning for 40 years. I believe it best to always follow your pressure cooker manual. We buy our beef from a local farmer and store in the freezer as I'm sure a lot of people do. In the fall, we clean out the freezer to make room for the fresh beef, I cook and can all of last years beef. Soup bones cooked with the other cuts add flavor and makes wonderful broth. The canned meat will then keep in the pantry a very long time. (Hate to even admit how long I have kept and used it) It is great for beef and noodles and lots of dishes! I have not tried chicken yet, but after I get finished with my garden bounty, I plan to try.

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