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A Day of Canning Chicken

Post by community member:

A few months ago, our local grocery store had boneless, skinless chicken breasts on sale for about 1/4 of the regular price. My mom, sister-in-laws, and I decided to take advantage of the sale and bottle some chicken. We kept the boxes in the freezer until the morning of the big project. This was a vital step in making the chicken easier to cut up. Nothing is worse than cutting up thawed out chicken breasts, trust me. The last package we cut wasn’t frozen and it took twice as long as the others.

Canned-Chicken

The first step in our process was to cut up the chicken and put it into bottles. After the bottles were filled, we added about 1/4 teaspoon of salt. We had three pressure canners running all day.

Canned-Chicken2

The day was long but left us all with a feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment. This is one more thing to scratch off my weekly shopping list.

Canned-Chicken3

Eight hours later we completed our 117th pint of bottled chicken.

How to make Canned Raw-Pack Chicken: Printable

Purchase chicken and freeze (any chicken will work, boneless or bone-in. I used boneless skinless chicken breasts because they were on sale!)

On canning day, wash all bottles and rings.

While meat is still frozen chop into chunks, or if using bone-in chicken break bones at the joints. Loosely pack chicken into clean jars, leaving 1-1/4 inch head space at the top.

Add about 1/4 teaspoon salt to each pint jar or 1/2 teaspoon to quarts (optional).

Wipe the rims of the bottles to remove any chicken pieces or salt.

Attach and secure rings and lids.

Place chicken in a pressure canner.

Processing times at 11 pound pressure (sea level):

Boneless: Pints–1 hour 15 minutes. Quarts–1 hour 30 minutes.
Bone-in: Pints–65 minutes. Quarts–1 hour 15 minutes.

Be sure to have your pressure canner tested by your local extension office regularly.

Jayme Payne blogs at Dreaming of Poultry.

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Posted by on May 2, 2012 | Permalink  

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  1. 5-2
    7:49
    am
    Avatar of wildcat

    How timely! The latest issue of Backwoods Home Magazine has a nice article about how to can chicken. But of course they started from the very beginning… killing and plucking the chicken. Ack. I’d much rather do it your way. How handy to have chicken in a jar. It’s not taking up space in the freezer! Genius! Gotta try this someday!

  2. 5-2
    7:58
    am
    Avatar of patbecky89

    Do you have to add broth or water to the jar?

  3. 5-2
    10:07
    am
    Avatar of CindyP

    I love canned chicken…it’s my go-to fast food!

    @patbecky89 If you’re raw-packing, you don’t have to add broth or water to the jar…only if the chicken is cooked.

    http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/chicken_rabbit.html

  4. 5-2
    11:40
    am
    Avatar of Joy

    I notice you didn’t add any seasonings but salt. Could you add a small pinch of herbs and pepper instead of salt for low or no salt chicken? It would be a nice to have lean, no salt chicken for soups, stews, potpies, etc. I’ve never done pressure canning but an intrigued by the possibilities.

  5. 5-2
    1:04
    pm
    Avatar of rhubarb rose

    My mother always canned chicken and beef as well! So handy for making a quick Sunday dinner – and tastey too. You’ve inspired me to do this.
    Question – I don’t have a pressure cooker – how long should you “steam” the jars if using a regular canner? I can’t remember.
    Thanks.

  6. 5-2
    2:50
    pm
    Avatar of kellyb

    Jayme,

    Great post. I’m sure you were exhausted at the end of the day but a job well done. Isn’t it wonderful seeing all those beautiful jars sitting on a shelf?

    rhubarb rose, the only safe way to can low acid foods, meats and most vegetables is with a pressure canner. They can’t be canned safely in a water bath canner.

  7. 5-2
    4:19
    pm
    Avatar of rhubarb rose

    Thanks Kellyb – Hmmm – I may have to invest in a pressure cooker.

  8. 5-2
    4:46
    pm
    Avatar of kellyb

    rhubarb rose,

    You want to look into a pressure canner not cooker. I’m not just splitting hairs here, there is a difference. You want a unit that has the ability to can at different weights depending on your altitude. The USDA also says that it should be able to hold at least 4 quart jars.

    Dede, wvcanner, is our resident expert and can help you even further. As you can see from Jayme’s great post, a pressure canner opens a whole new world of canning possibilities. Can’t wait to hear about what you can.

  9. 5-3
    1:37
    pm
    Avatar of Beecie

    I’ve been looking for the thing that was going to push me over the edge into buying a pressure canner….and this could well be it. But I have to ask….what do you MAKE with the chicken when it comes time to raid the larder? Just soups, stews and casseroles? And how long would you keep it? My water bath canned yummies are good for a year to a year and a half (according to the powers that be)….is this the same?

    Thanks for the inspiration!

    B

  10. 5-3
    2:39
    pm
    Avatar of Anita

    I’m really intrigued with this idea, but have a couple more questions. Is the liquid I see in the finished jars juice from the chicken? If the jars are in the canner that long then the chicken should be cooked through, is that right?

  11. 5-3
    4:50
    pm
    Avatar of dkyoung

    Yes, the chicken is fully cooked and it makes its own broth too. Sometimes I will add boiling water for more broth. I can chicken, beef chunks, turkey, ham slices and chunks, and venison. I’ve also canned meatballs (just make them, drop carefully in the jar so they don’t flatten), chili, soups. You can use the meat chunks in soups, stews, casseroles, and salads. It’s so easy to make chicken or ham salad by draining the chunks and mashing with your mayo and stuff. Next I want to try ground beef and ground turkey. Oh, yeah,I really really like to open a jar of venison chunks, add some more water and cook noodles in it. Yumm. Give it a try and you’ll love the convenience.

    And like Jayme said, it can’t be stressed enough that you have to use a pressure canner with a gauge. I know our grandmothers used a boiling water bath but it just isn’t considered safe anymore. Not just only for meats and soups, but also for most vegetables other than tomatoes.

  12. 5-3
    4:58
    pm
    Avatar of dkyoung

    Forgot to say that I’ve used my pressure canner as a pressure cooker when I’ve cooked a BIG batch of something that was more than would fit into my 6-quart pressure cooker. But pressure canners and cookers really are two different critters.

  13. 5-3
    10:59
    pm
    Avatar of Ross

    This is a superb post. You can do almost anything with canned meat. Soups, stews, cassaroles, salads, sandwich spreads, appetitizers. Saute onions.carrots, celery, and mushrooms add the canned meat extra broth as needed and noodles and you have a fine soup.

  14. 5-3
    11:47
    pm
    Avatar of Ross

    I have often made note of the need to keep your knives very sharp. Slicing frozen meat is very easy and neat with a moderately sharp knife. But with a very sharp knife fresh raw meat can also be sliced precisely and neatly.

  15. 5-4
    6:31
    am
    Avatar of Suzanne Arlene

    I really like this idea. I have never used a pressure canner nor a cooker before. I have seen my MIL use hers.If i were to buy one which would you recommend i get.

  16. 5-4
    8:41
    am
    Avatar of CindyP

    There are a bunch of topics over on the forum about selecting a new canner! We’ve all been there…and asked :)

    http://chickensintheroad.com/forum/?search=1&forum=the-canning-pot&value=canner&type=1&include=2

  17. 5-4
    8:45
    am
    Avatar of CindyP

    Oh! And the salt is optional!!! I don’t can anything with salt in it. That’s the beauty of doing it yourself…salt-free food without the salt-free price out of the store! You wouldn’t think that little 1/4 tsp of salt would be worth about $1 more a can in the store for anything. It should be cheaper, not as many ingredients. LOL!

    I don’t add any more seasonings, I do that when I use it if I have to. I love the chicken especially for chicken salad sandwiches…like tuna fish, but that’s getting ridiculous in the store now, too. And I don’t know where to get my own tuna…cheap.

  18. 5-4
    10:47
    am
    Avatar of BSue

    Chicken Enchiladas, chicken spaghetti, chicken nachos… and my favorite in the winter – combining a jar of home-canned vegetable soup “mix” and a “can” of chicken and dinner’s ready in the time it takes to re-heat the cornbread ;0)

  19. 5-4
    6:19
    pm
    Avatar of Jayme Payne

    I’ve been in the hospital having a baby all week and was delighted to come home to see such a great conversation about canning chicken! Thanks for all the tips, input, and answered questions!
    -Jayme, Dreaming of Poultry

  20. 5-5
    3:33
    pm
    Avatar of becka

    I love the discussion about food preparation. I recently started canning chicken, but did 2 to 4 whole breasts in pints or quarts. I like the idea of cutting it frozen and chunk size. It is delicious in chicken salad and so tender. Thank you.

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