Folks, if you have been holding back on canning meat for any of the reasons I listed above, stop! Canning meat is so easy. In fact, chicken breast is the easiest thing I've ever canned, period. It really couldn't be simpler. Here's how to do it.
- Pack your jars with chicken. I trimmed and sliced chicken breasts into large chunks and placed the pieces in clean canning jars. A pint jar will hold about 1 lb of chicken. Maintain 1" headspace. (For those new to canning, that means fill the jar with meat up to 1" from the top of the jar.)
- Pour hot water into the jars over the chicken. Some people skip this part. A couple of my canning books said to add water, and I followed their advice.
- Free any bubbles and adjust water to maintain the 1" of headspace. Run a plastic knife or bubble freer around the edge of the jar a couple of times. It was amazing just how many bubbles were trapped in the jar. I had to top each jar up with water to keep the headspace at 1".
- Clean off the jar rims with a damp paper towel. I had chicken gunk all over the rims of mine. If you don't take the time to clean the rims, your jars might not seal properly.
- Place boiled lids on the jars, tighten rings to "finger tight", and can it!
|Chicken packed into jars|
|Using the bubble freer to release any air from the jars|
|Ready to can|
6. Check every so often to make sure your canner maintains 10 lb of pressure for the full 75 minutes.
You might have to adjust the temperature on your stove. It takes remarkably little heat to keep the
7. After the 75 minutes, turn off the heat. When the pressure reads zero, open the petcock. I wait a
couple of minutes before I open my canner, just for insurance. Open the canner lid AWAY from
you and remove the jars. They are still very hot, so be careful.
8. I let the jars rest on my counter undisturbed for at least 12 hours. My jars and lids were a
bit greasy and schmutzy, so I put some white vinegar on a kitchen towel and wiped them clean.
9. Label jar with the contents/date canned and enjoy! For best quality, use within a year.
|The finished product|
Canning ground beef is very similar, but there are a few differences.
What's the point?
Why should you can your own meat? Well, if you like to eat meat, you'll definitely want to have some on hand if you're living off your food storage! I know Hubby Dear gets grumbly if I feed him too many vegetarian meals in a row.
Does home canning meat save you money? Here's what I found:
|Sam's Club chicken|
7 lb of boneless, skinless chicken breasts - 14.05 + tax
12 pack of pint jars with lids - 10.69 + tax
I added in tax and prorated the cost for the 7 jars I filled with chicken. It came to 18 cents per ounce. If I hadn't had to buy any canning jars or lids, it would have cost me only 13 cents an ounce.
If you get a crazy good deal on chicken and have a ready stock of canning jars, home canning meat will indeed save you a few pennies.
What about the taste?
I don't know! I haven't tried it out yet, but I've heard great things about home canned meats. I'm going to do a blind taste test of my home canned chicken vs. the Member's Mark chicken I have in storage and I'll post the results.