Thursday, April 8, 2010

How to: Can (bottle) chicken

Items needed:

-chicken (we used boneless/skinless.. I don't know if this is a requirement.  Does someone know?)
-bottles/jars and tops
-pressure canner

This is the chicken we used, thawed.

Clean your jar rings by boiling them in water for a few minutes.

Make sure your jars are clean, too.

Place the raw chicken in the jars, pretty much filling them up.

Then add a teaspoon of salt to each jar.

No need to add water; just put your lids on and screw them shut.

Place them in your pressure canner.....

....which probably looks something like this.

Next, add water to the pressure canner.  Each pressure cooker manual will tell you how much water to add for canning chicken.   There are a couple different factors, so refer to that.

Bottles + water

Screw the lid on tightly.  Make sure it's evenly tightened along the top (not crooked or loose in some places).

So how long does it take?  It depends on how much chicken you are canning, and it depends on where you live!  Your pressure canner's manual will give you all the information you need to know, so refer to that.

This is the pressure gauge.  You start the timer when the pressure reaches a certain point (again, find out in your manual).  I think we had to wait 45 minutes or an hour - something like that.

That round metal thing controls the pressure.  There are three holes in it, which are the pressure settings.  Your manual will tell you which setting to use for chicken.  When it gets up to high pressure, this thing rattles and shakes like crazy.  It's a bit scary.

When it's done, you'll turn off the heat and wait for the pressure to let up.  The gauge will tell you.  Then it's safe to open it up and take out the chicken.  Be careful - it's hot!

Ta-da!  Canned chicken.  It's cooked from the pressure canner, and ready for your shelf.  And was nothing but raw chicken and salt.  There will be a lot of liquid in it now.

This was a lot of fun to do, but I'll admit that it was kind of scary, too!  It's kind of unnerving to see something so big and with so much pressure inside sitting on your hot stove.  And when that pressure gauge starts shaking, it's scary!  I didn't want to stand too close.  Thankfully, my mother-in-law knew what she was doing so everything was great.

Probably the biggest piece of advice I have is to read your pressure cooker manual.  It answered all our questions, and was very clear about all the directions for how to bottle everything you could possibly want to bottle.  It was great.

Does anyone else have any bits of advice for bottling food?  Any suggestions?


pam said...

Thanks for sharing I have been wanting to do this. My neighbor gave me their father's old pressure cookier when he passed away, I have no book, so this will be fun trying to figure out what pressure, etc... The first time I used it I made sure my husband was home, so if it blew he could help clean me up (heeheee). Hey have you ever tried roast beef? I had bought a can from costco one time for my 72 hour kit and I made a quick roast beef dinner by just adding everything to a skillet (I had can some potatoes, so they were cooked). any way it turn out really good.

Rachel said...

Thanks for posting this! Just this morning after our meat chicken post went up I was thinking about what to do with 25 chickens other than freezing them. You don't always want to rely on the freezer working when you could really use the food.

Jake and Krystal said...

Fantastic! I've wanted to can meat for a while now. My first experience canning in a pressure cooker was last year, and it was scary! Way to go! I can't wait to do it again this year. Although, I will not can corn again! It was disgusting and we threw it ALL out. What a waste!!! Maybe I'll figure out dehydrating next. :)

Kristine said...

My mother used to can chicken with bones a lot. The meat falls off the bones easily and you can find this kind of chicken on sale more often. But, of course, boneless is always easier.

Sharron said...

Here is the link (http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/ ) to the best overall site for home canning. I usually get the chicken when it hits about $.50 / lb. in the summer time and can that. I remove the skin but leave in the bones.

If you are suing the kind that has a dial, it is so important to have the gauge checked each year. Most county extension offices have the ability to do this or can tell you where to have it done.

The gal that had the gross corn, it may be your gauge. If corn is over processed, it gets so tough hogs would have a hard time eating it and a soapy taste develops. Been there, done that.

I have done ground beef, beef & pork roasts (the cheaper tougher cuts are the best for canning)& ground sausage So handy in a time crunch.

Anonymous said...

I haven't done much canning, but I would suggest that anyone without an instruction book FIND an instruction book for their pressure cooker (on line). It's not a difficult process (obviously) but there are rules that must be followed to be successful. Better safe than sorry. Make good use of county extension agents - they're a great resource. One thing we all forget is that it costs money to keep food frozen. This is a great way to save money on electricity.

Brandi said...

We have a glass top stove. I have read that many pressure cookers won't work on glass top. Anyone know why and where I can find one that is good for glass top?


Anonymous said...


A great lady in my ward taught a mini class on canning meats. I was afraid to do it before but after tasting hers I was hooked. Here is the basic recipe that makes it tasty...it is in the brining. Wow! So yummy. I have more recipes from her if you want them (for meat).

Laura in AZ

Recipes for Canning Pork, Beef and Chicken

¼ cup of kosher salt
½ cup of sugar
1 quart cold water

The best meats for brining are chicken, turkey and pork because they are lean and often mildly flavored.
Chicken, turkey and pork also have a tendency to overcook and brining leaves them plumped and seasoned. Plan to brine the meat for 1 hour per pound.

If you do not brine, add ½ teaspoon salt to pints and 1 teaspoon of salt to quarts.

Kristine said...

I have a glass top as well. I figure I won't be buying a pressure cooker until I move. :(

Kathleen said...

I have done this with chicken and with ground beef (separately, of course!) For the chicken I used boneless, skinless chicken thighs; I removed the meat from the bone and cubed it, filling the jar. I also tried adding chicken broth or using just plain water, and the taste was the same, either way. For the hamburger, I browned it (to remove fat and to improve the color) and it came out just like professionally canned ground beef -- there was a "tuna" smell -- liked canned tuna--that went away once the ground beef was rinsed in warm water before it was used. Each half-pint jar contained approximately 2 c canned meat.

Anonymous said...

My mother cooked dinner with a pressure cooker all the time when I was little (long before microwaves were common). The rattle of the pressure gauge was such a familiar sound to me. An odd sound, to be sure, but nothing scary about it - it meant dinner would be on the table soon! Congrats for tackling a challenging project to show us how it's done.

lindaharper said...

I've been canning meats for a long time. You can go to Sam's and buy meat by the case as a discounted price. I've done chicken, pork, sausage, hamburger and sirloin tips (roast in a jar, umm!) This is a great addition to food storage or a way to have meat on your shelves and is much better than what you buy!
For those of you with glass tops, if you go to Presto, they now have a pressure canner that is for glass top stoves. Canning meat is one of the easiest canning foods to do so try it!

melissa's life said...

I can all the time- both pressure canning and water bath canning on my glass top stove and have never had a problem.

Anonymous said...

One thing to remember... there is a difference between a pressure canner and a pressure cooker. A regular pressure cooker should not be used for canning.

When canning meat (or anything really) be sure to leave the correct headspace in the jars. For pressure canning this is usually one inch, but check your manual to make sure. You don't want to fill jars to the top.

Processing times for poultry and meats are 75 minutes for pints, 90 minutes for quarts. What will vary is whether you use 10 or 15 lbs pressure and that is dependant on your elevation. Again check your manual for instructions.

I have to agree with a previous comment... if you don't have a manual for your pressure canner, find one. This is not the time to experiment. Meat is too expensive to waste not to mention the dangers of eating improperly canned meat.

Etana said...

I started canning meats last summer. I also have a glass top stove, so have rigged up a cooking station in my garage. Two folding sawhorses (plastic & lightweight), an old door for a table and a two-burner propane camp stove. The benefit is should this thing blow, I can hose down the garage and be done.

Anonymous said...

My mother uses her pressure canner on a glass top with no issues. The risk is that the glass top cannot support the weight. That said, her pressure cooker is not that big (21 quart I believe) and even with everything inside, it still weighs less than he huge pot of spaghetti she cooks. YMMV. She also uses a propane single burner outside in the summer to keep the heat down in the house. If you are nervous about the glass top, you can buy one of these for cheap.

Karisa said...

I agree with "Super mom". If you can, I'd go back and edit your post to say "pressure canner" instead of "pressure cooker". They are two totally different things. The pressure canner is for preserving food in jars, such as the meat. A pressur cooker is for cooking meals, beans, rice, etc in them.
As for using a a flat top, I know several women who do it on a flat top with no problems. Wendy DeWitt is known for food storage and pressure canning meat and she's done it on her flat top for years. So I'm saving to buy myself a canner and use on my flat top.

pam said...

I have one more question if you can help. You know when you can in your pressure canner; is it normal to loose some of the water out of your jars you are canning? I did some beets last year and some of the jars 1/2 of the water came out. They taste fine and are fine, do you know if I'm doing something wrong? Yes I need to find a book for my canner, but not sure if I would be able to its that old, pressure is fine been tested.

Hannah said...


I don't really know why you would lose water from your jars. My only guess would be that maybe you are over-filling the jars with water, and then when they are in the pressure canner they are boiling over inside, and then sealing afterwards?? That's the only thing I can think of.

Good luck!

2Sammi said...

I have a glass top stove and have not had a problem using my pressure canner.

Sometimes if you cool your canner off to quickly or leave the weight on after it reaches zero pressure it can cause fluids to leak out of the bottles.

Love the idea of the brine....i brine pork and chicken for regular cooking just didn't think of it for canning.


Melissa said...

Wow - I was so intimidated but I think I can do this! I have been freezing my chicken.. but I think this is the better way to go! Thanks for you "in lame man's terms" instructions!

scott champlain said...

i love cooking with chicken broth. so useful for many things. so whenever i roast a chicked or a turkey during the holidays, i always cook down the carcass. its easy. just boil the whole kit and kaboodlein a pot of salted water. keep a boil going for aout an hour or more depending on the strenght of the flavor desired. the meat will fall off or u can strip it by hand. then process it in jars with or with out the meat. sometimes i add herbs and spices. i use this for making rice, mashed potatoes and its great for ramen noodles.

Karen1027 said...

Awhile ago an anonymous person posted a recipe for brine to use when canning meat. If you are out there I would love to get other recipes!

monasuz said...

Thank you for posting your tutorial on how to can chicken. I'm new to pressure canning so trying to gather up all the info I can get my hands on!
I recently purchased the same cooker that you are using here...and just wanted to pass on the information I have gathered about the weight. It is only supposed to jiggle three or four times per minute. If it is going crazy,...you have your pressure too high for your weight. I saw a youtube video of an example of the proper way it should act. It will jiggle, stop for seconds, and jiggle again. Assure that you are using the proper weight for your altitude. I'm at 1168 feet and instead of using 15lbs as recommended for my altitude I used 10. The weight did not jiggle when the gauge said 10. I'm assuming this is because I should have been using 15.
My main concern with this type of preservation is safety. Spoilage can cause death and there's not a real good survival rate! There's no way to tell by looking or smelling.
One of the most useful sites with the most up to date information I have found is: http://www.uga.edu/nchfp/index.html
They are considered tops in the US. I had no idea when I bought my cooker that no one should use recipes that haven't been scientifically tested. It's that dangerous! Safe canning! :)

Anonymous said...

I noticed in one of the pictures that you are using the wrong end of your jar lifter. The thing you take out the hot jars from your canner, The blue end is what fits around the top of the jar and the flat round black things are what you use as a hadle. Only saying this because it couldbe dangerious to use the wrong end, It lets the jar slip out of the holder.