Tuesday, August 6, 2013

I'm Canning Now!

Good evening again, friends!  Yesterday you read my slightly over-dramatic telling of my first experience with pressure canning a big ole pot of nothing.  Well, the story itself may have been a little dramatic, but the fear was completely real.  You know from the story that I did go on to actually can four jars of the meat I bought on sale for that very purpose.

It turned out so beautifully, I really wanted to share with you what I did.  It seems like a lot of work and steps, but really, it was very quick and easy.

I started with three pounds of boneless, skinless chicken breasts and a small beef roast.  The roast was small, it was on sale, and I never dreamed this first experiment would be a success, so I threw the package away before I took the time to notice what it actually was.  :)  Sorry about that!  For both types of meat, I cubed them up, doing my best to get the chunks as uniform as I could.

**When canning, make sure you follow all safe canning procedures as outlined by the USDA to ensure the safety of the food.**

For the chicken, I put it in the stock pot and threw in some Orrington Farms Chicken Broth Base & Seasoning.  If you have followed my blog for very long, you know that I am terrible about not measuring.  If I had to guess, I would say I had about 8 cups of water and 2-3 Tablespoons of the seasoning.  I went easy on the seasoning since I have heard flavors become stronger when pressure canning.  I let that cook some, but not all the way through.  Pressure canning finishes the cooking process.  Some people even prefer to raw pack. For my first time, though, I went right by the book.  ;)  While this was heating, I had another pot of clean water heating to a boil to use to pack my jars.  I'll get to that in a minute, though.

For the beef, I cooked it in another unmeasured broth.  :(  Guessed measurements would be six cups water, 1 tablespoon Better Than Bouillon Beef Base, 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder.  I had intended to just heat it through, but you know how it goes, the phone rang, and I got a little distracted, letting the meat get a little more done than heated through.  No worries, I knew it didn't make a terrible difference.

If I could do this over, I would have skimmed the top of this broth.  Newbie

Once the meats were done, it was time to get the meat in the hot jars that had been simmering in the canner while the meat cooked.

For the beef, I covered a hot jar with my nifty little funnel and used a slotted spoon to put the meat in my jars.  (I did one jar at a time to keep everything hot.)

I used the end of my spatula to go between the meat and the jar, pulling the meat to the center of the jar to remove as much of the large air pockets as I could.  After doing this, I was actually able to add a few more pieces of meat.  Then, I used a cup to scoop up some of the cooking liquid and pour in the jar to the lower rim.

Again, I used the spatula to go between the glass and meat, pulling the meat toward the center of the jar several times as I worked my way around the jar to remove any air bubbles.

Looks crazy, I know, but a girl does what girl must do.
Next, I wiped the top rim of the jar clean.

Yes, I know.  I make terrible messes in the kitchen.  Oh, well, it cleans.  :)
Finally, the jar was sealed with a two piece lid and put back in the simmering, uncovered canner while I continued filling other jars.

The chicken was basically the same process.  I used a slotted spoon to spoon the drained chicken pieces in to the hot jars, using the same methods to ensure a good pack.  Once the jar was packed nicely, I sprinkled 1 teaspoon of the chicken broth base and seasoning over the top of the packed chicken.

I then poured clean, boiling water into the jar to fill to the lower rim of the jar.

The jars rim was cleaned and sealed with a two piece lid and placed in the open, simmering canner until all the jars were done.

Once the jars were done, the jars were processed in the canner for 75 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.
Make sure you use proper canning elevation guidelines for your area!  Easy peasy!

It was so quick and easy, I actually got up yesterday morning and canned more chicken and dry packed ground beef.  So, so easy!  I can't believe I haven't done this before now!

Last night, I made peach and cherry jelly.  I will have to share that with you in the next post!  :)  Watch out world!  I'm canning now!  What have you been canning?  I would love to hear!

Until we meet again, may you be blessed!

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