As many of you know, we produce chicken here at Liberty Hill Farm. This past season, we had quite the surplus, and we decided to try our luck at canning.
Freezer space is quite the commodity around here. Additionally, we never want to sell meat that is close to its shelf life. So we decided to can the surplus of chickens, as opposed to watching them become less-than-desirable in the freezer.
The first time is always a learning experience and we learned that canning chicken is easy-peasy!!
We used: whole chickens, quart jars, flats, rings, salt, water. (Some vinegar for the canning water)
1. We cut off the wings and legs and put them to the side. (We fried them for dinner, and invited over family!)
2. Debone breasts and thighs into a large bowl.
3. Throw the rest (backs, skin, etc.) into a large stock pot. I used the water bath canner. This is for the bone broth. Cover over with water. Throw in a splash of apple cider vinegar and generously salt the pot. Simmer on LOW. (We will come back to this later. )
4 . Cut the deboned chicken into 1” chunks. Don’t measure. No stress. Just cut it into chunks. It really doesn’t matter, I just like them smaller if possible. Once cut, just put them in the jars. I used quart size. Fill to 1 inch from the top. Add 1 teaspoon of salt.
5. Wipe rims with white vinegar on a cloth and place lids and rings.
7. Place in pressure canner. We can fit 7 quart jars at a time in our canner. Put about 3 inches of water in the pot with a splash of Wilhite vinegar. Secure the lid. Steam will start coming out of the nipple – when it does, put the cap on it. Build pressure to 12 pounds. Maintain the 11 pounds for 90 minutes. (This actual picture is from the broth we canned the next day – but you get the picture…haha).
8. Allow pressure to come down naturally, then remove jars! I let these sit on the counter for a day, then I removed the rings, and stored in the pantry!
9. I’ve used the canned chicken for quick and easy dinners like: chicken noodle soup, chicken chili (a crowd fave), and chicken and rice just to name a few. I’ve also given some jars to friends and family and they LOVE it.
We found that after we cut off the wings and legs, and deboned mostly just the breasts and thighs, we got about one chicken per quart jar. So when we do this project, we usually only have time on the weekend to do two canners per day – so 14 whole chickens will do 14 quart jars. BUT REMEMBER, that means we are EATING 28 wings and 28 drumsticks too!! (So better invite guests for dinner!)
IN ADDITION to that – we also had TWO water bath canners on the stove simmering with bone broth that we canned the next day. We were able to get 21 quarts of broth plus a little more that we froze in quart freezer bags. I’ll explain that process in another post.
Happy canning! Please let me know what you can!