Home-Canned Chicken and Ways to Use It, Part 1

| 7/27/2015 9:06:00 AM

Tags: canning, food preservation, chicken, meat, recipes, Montana, Susan Gregersen,


After filling jars with delicious foods it's sometimes hard to find ways to use them. Last year, we raised and butchered 75 chickens. We have favorite ways to use it, such as chicken & dumplings, chicken pot pie, and chicken chunk gravy over mashed potatoes. But when you stare at more than 70 quarts of chicken in the pantry you start wishing you had more ideas for using it.

It begins with cooking the chicken. I boil the whole chickens in my five-gallon kettles for about an hour. While the chickens boil I round up jars and make sure they're clean, and get out lids and rings. I simmer the lids in a small sauce pan.

After the chickens are cooked I let them cool a bit, then lift them carefully out of the hot water into a strainer basket placed over a bowl. When they're cool enough to touch, I pull the meat off the bones. The meat goes in a bowl and the bones go back into one of the kettles to be simmered for broth. Later I strain out the bones and can the broth.

Spoon the meat into jars and cover it with broth, and add a teaspoon of sea salt. Then I run a narrow rubber scraper down the insides of the jar, up and down all the way around the jar, to release trapped air bubbles. I wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth, then use a fork to raise the edge of a lid out of the simmering water and place the lid on a jar and screw a ring over it. (There's a magnetic stick you can use to fish the lids out of the water).

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