July 31, 2015
Hello all and thanks in advance for your help. I am brand new to canning but I am an avid researcher and literally had 3 sets of printed instructions from 3 different websites guiding me through the process of canning my first batch of chicken. I felt very confident. I’m using a Granite Ware 20 Qt pressure canner.
Everything seemed to be going well. I have an electric stove that I put on high and after exhausting the canner for 10 minutes I put on the weights as instructed. There was quite a bit of steam coming from one of the safety valves and finally after about 15-20 minutes the weights started to rock. Unfortunately, they rocked a lot so I turned the heat down just a bit. They stopped rocking but there was still constant steam coming from under the weights and from the safety valve. Eventually it started rocking again and I reset my timer for 75 minutes. During this time the stove would light up red and the weights would start to rock. Then the stove (as is usual) would go black for a minute or so and the rocking would knock back and forth. I felt it was rocking harder than it should but turning it down before made it stop so I left it alone. About 45 minutes in we started noticing a chicken smell. This surprised us as we thought we wouldn’t smell the meat cooking since they were in jars. Within 5 more minutes the smell turned to a burning smell and we turned off the canner knowing something was wrong.
After 15 minutes or so of cooling down we were able to open the lid and were surprised to see the canner had no water left. We had added 3 quarts as indicated in all 3 sets of instructions. Within a few minutes all the cans started to ping stating that they had sealed. The liquid inside was still boiling. I opened the one with the most chicken and the internal temperature read 183 degrees.
I am much less confident now and have several questions.
1. Is the chicken safe to store without refrigeration? Total time from adding weights to turning off the stove was approximately 60 minutes or so. I know that is not the desired length of time but since I obviously cooked it at a higher temperature, how do I know if its safe or not?
2. Should the canner be releasing steam from the weighted valve AND a safety valve?
3. Should the timer start from the time of adding the weights or from the first rock of the weight?
4. Is the weight supposed to rock a teensy bit or a considerable amount? One forum read that as long as steam is coming from that valve at all, it is at the desired pressure.
October 15, 2011
Since the chicken did not process continuously for the correct amount of time, it is not safe to consume now!!! After the process was halted, it would have been safe to consume immediately, put in the refrigerator like any cooked meat, or put in the freezer.
When I first started using the pressure canner, I decided to do some trial canning to get the hang of how to use it and feel more confident. I felt this would be a good thing to do so I didnt make major mistakes with a full canner load of meat. I started out with canning potatoes (red are best for canning) and then also some beans. I hydrated the beans over night prior to canning. Now it might seem silly to can these things, when they can actually cook pretty quickly and store easily, but they do come in handy and are cheap. If you mess it up…no great money loss. a few pounds of dry beans will do a canner load.
I highly recommend investing in the Ball Big Blue Book of Canning. Available at Amazon and many places that sell canning supplies
This book will cover the basics and beyond. Do not go against what you see in the book. It may seem like not that big of deal, but bacteria can grow in an improperly done batch and sicken you or your family. Its just not worth it.
After you bleed off the steam, and add the weights, your time does not start until the weights start rocking. Be sure to read your complete instruction manual on proper procedure along with accessing the directions in the Ball Big Blue Book.
You can process just a few jars at a time until you get a feel for what you are doing. Place empty jars between the filled ones to keep everything upright. Also, a suggestion….label and date each jar, using a batch number if you dont process them all at the same time. such as 8/15 batch 2.
Your next batch will go better!!! I find that i have my stove turned down just a bit off the highest setting. you need it just high enough to keep it at a steady pace and maintain the pressure, rather than up and down.
February 22, 2010
I used to have problems with my pressure canning when I used an electric stove…My mother never had trouble with hers. I think it just takes longer and more diligent watching to get the hang of canning with electric. My flat top stove was not meant for canning…although some people never have problems with it. I just prefer my gas stove. Makes it frustrating when you put in all that time, effort and money and it doesn’t turn out like it’s supposed to. Keep trying!
May 6, 2011
I, also, use the Ball Big Blue Book of Canning. It is a good guide and will serve you well. Be sure to keep notes on what worked and what didn’t. If you use information from websites online I would make sure that they are from a state extension service website.
Another thing I make recommend is that you have your local extension service make your pressure cooker holds pressure. Not sure if they type you are using can be done but it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Good Luck with your endeavors and the people here are always willing to help.
July 25, 2012
October 15, 2011
I am canning chicken again today. the IGA had the chicken quarters for 35 cents a pound in a ten pound bag. The first canner load netted 2 quarts and 6 pints (i think it was 6) of chicken and stock. I canned them this way so its just enough meat for a meal for two and there is broth in the same jar.
Makes for an easy thing to throw in with some rice or noodles in the electric pressure cooker. mmmmmm. Ex. I throw in a handful of kluski noodles, cover with water, dump in a pint of chicken/stock. Set electric pressure cooker for 3 minutes under pressure. ten minutes to get up to pressure and ten to cool down. Can you say yummy goodness by the time i have my clothes changed and get something cold to drink.
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