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Saturday, March 2, 2013

Canning Chicken Broth

In my last post, I discussed with y'all how to make chicken broth.  In this post, I am going to show you how to can chicken broth.  Canning food is awesome alternative for food preservation and it saves room on freezer and fridge space.  I started canning last year and I love the feeling of knowing that I can store food in my cabinets for years at a time and not have to worry about running to the grocery for "fresh" veggies that aren't in season.  It has become a wonderful addiction that will stick with me for the rest of my life. 

Note: The basic tools you'll need when canning food are a pressure canner, (or a water bath canner if you're doing jellies, jams, pickles, etc), a jar lifter, bubble remover/headspace tool, magnetic lid lifter, and a jar funnel.  (They come in one set so you don't have to buy each piece individually. I got mine at Wal-Mart.)

Okay, back to chicken broth.  When canning chicken broth you need a pressure canner because it is a low-acid food.  It needs to be canned at 10 lbs of pressure for 20 minutes (pints) or 25 minutes (quarts).

So let's get started!

First thing you're going to do is take the broth you previously strained and bring it to a boil in a large pot.  As you're doing this, you want to get your lids and rings near boiling and start heating your clean jars.

  To do this, simply toss your rings and lids into a smaller pot of water and almost bring to a boil.  You want to heat the seals on the lids but you don't want the water to be too much.  (I put my burner between 5 & 6 and they are fine.)

I heat my jars by putting them in an oven preheated at 170 degrees.  This keeps my jars warm while I'm preparing the rest of the steps which you will see below.  Normally when I can broth I use quart size jars, but because I only had pints on hand I used those.  This size is also handy to have in case you come across a recipe that only needs 1 or 2 cups of broth.

One picture that is not shown is the water in the pressure canner.  When you're using a pressure canner you want to fill it with 2-3 inches of water.  I usually start heating the water in the pressure canner when I put my jars in the oven because you don't want to put hot jars in cold water (nor do you want to put cold jars in hot water which is why we heat them first) because they may crack.  Then you'll be left with a nasty mess and have the process all over.  Not a good thing at all.

These are the basic tools you'll need when canning so make sure you have these right by you during the next step.  By now your chicken broth should be at a boil so you'll want to turn that off and start filling your jars.  Make sure you use your jar funnel and you'll want to leave 1/2 inch headspace.  1/2 inch headpsace means that you'll fill your broth til it hits the first line you come to towards the top of the jar. 

Once you've filled your jars, you want to take your bubble remover tool and remove all air bubble your broth may contain.  Keep in mind that you do not want to use any kind of metal product (butter knife in particular)  because the metal may drastically change the flavor of the broth.  

Take a clean wet rag and wipe off any broth that may have spilled on the rims of the jars.  This part is also crucial because if your have any grease or broth on the rims, your lids may not seal properly which will lead to an unsuccessful canning project and nobody's got time for that. 

Use that awesome magnetic jar lifter to lift your lids out of your water and place them on the jars.

Place your rings on your jars.  You only want to finger tighten these.

Place your hot jars into your hot pressure canner using your jar lifter.  Now, make sure you grab the plastic part of this tool and let the rubber part grab the jar because the first few times I did this it was very challenging.  Just remember that folks.  Once you've filled your canner it will look like this:

Put the lid on. Now here comes the fun part!

Turn your heat up (mine us usually turned up to 8) and let the pressure build until a steady flow of steam is constant for 10 minutes.  In the picture below you can see the steam if you look close.  

Once your steam has been steady for 10 minutes you want to put your pressure gauge on.  Remember it needs to be canned at 10lbs of pressure (there are 3 rings that come with this pressure canner and you use the bottom 2).  

When your pressure gauge starts to rock back and forth gently and gets into a steady rhythm, that's when you want to start your timer. If your pressure gauge is rocking too fiercely, slowly turn your heat down.  Mine never ends up going below 7.   Process this for 20 minutes (I am using pint jars).  Once the timer is up turn the heat off and let the pressure slowly go down in your pressure canner.  This takes a little while so be patient. 

Once your pressure goes down, take the pressure gauge off (if you take it off too soon it will hiss at you, put it back on and check back later) and let it sit for 15 minutes.  

Pay no attention to me in this picture.  It was getting late and we had a snow day--don't judge.  Anyhow--these gloves are very important.  When you take the lid off make sure the top of the lid is facing you.  You do not want the steam to hit your face or your hands cause it hurts

Take your jars out using your jar lifter and sit them on a folded towel and listen for the PING! After about an hour if your jars haven't "pinged" press down on the center of the lid.  If they pop back at you it means they didn't seal and they need to go in the fridge to be used before the others. It's rare to not have a jar seal if you followed the directions. 

And your done!  This is a timely process but completely worth it.  Hope you enjoy!

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