Country Living Series

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Canning leftovers

Last week I made curry chicken for our neighborhood potluck. I way overestimated how much folks would eat and ended up with a large amount of leftover chicken in curry sauce.


I thought about freezing it, but you know what would happen then... it would fossilize in the freezer until some unspecified future date when I would purge it along with other fossilized freezer deposits. So... I decided to can it so it wouldn't go to waste.

First thing I did was cut the chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.


While the chicken and sauce heated up...


...I washed some jars.


Filling the jars.


Scalding my Tattler lids.


In the canner, venting. Can you see the steam coming from the petcock on the right?


At proper pressure for our elevation (2700 feet above sea level). I'm actually a touch over required pressure in this photo.


Seven pints of curry chicken, ready for the pantry.


This is the secret to building a preparedness pantry: inch by inch, little by little. A few pints here, a few pints there. Canning leftovers, canning garden produce, canning windfalls... in short, canning whatever you can.

22 comments:

  1. Can can!

    I have to say this is the least appealing looking food you've shared with us, but having eaten my share of curried chicken and curried goat, I know what a healthy treasure you have here in those jars.

    I caught part of one of the new prepper show episodes last week, where they showed a pantry full of jars sporting Tattler lids. Cool!

    ~A.McSp

    ReplyDelete
  2. i sure am glad someone beside me cans the leftovers...that curry will sure taste good when you dont feel up to cooking from scratch too! i just got my tattlers lids from the fed. express man...cannot hardly wait to give them a try...but will have to be careful that jars with these lids do not go out as gifts cause i never get my jars and rings back.

    ReplyDelete
  3. This is something I have really wanted to do. Where do you find out how to can left overs? Is there a book somewhere with the instructions?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The secret to canning anything "mixed" (such as leftovers) is to mentally break up the food into its component parts and process it for the ingredient requiring the lengthiest processing time. A good reference book such as "Putting Food By" is essential for this. In the case of these particular leftovers, the curry sauce is just a white sauce with curry powder, so it was the chicken itself which required the longest processing time: 75 minutes (for pints).

      - Patrice

      Delete
  4. Maybe there is a reason they didn't eat your curry chicken. Did you taste it before you canned it?

    ReplyDelete
  5. Thank you for the tip. I will have to look for the book.

    ReplyDelete
  6. Amen! You are a woman after my own heart. There's just two of us, but I cook like there is still six and then I can the leftovers. It's like having a grocery store in your own home!! :-)

    ReplyDelete
  7. Canning is in the air! I spent the day canning pork, beef, and pinto beans. Love seeing the jars lined up on the counter. I ordered more Tattler Lids when they had the big sale last month. I love them.

    ReplyDelete
  8. I didn't realize you could can white sauce without it 'breaking' or curdling. Thank you for posting this - I will go back to my canning books and see what else I've been missing out on! :)

    ReplyDelete
  9. Awesome article. Thank you for the share :)

    A. Jones Florida

    ReplyDelete
  10. Very interesting. I love seeing reading your posts!

    Lana

    ReplyDelete
  11. I recently started canning a few months ago and I love it! I took a part-time job at a bakery and now subject to a lot of leftover bread. Have you tried to can anything with leftover bread?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. LOL -- having just finished writing the FAQs on canning and giving myself a Master Food Preserver course in the process, I can state unequivocally -- do NOT try to can bread. Flour and flour products (i.e. bread) are considered very prone to botulism. No one has yet been able to come up with a reliable recipe and canning direction that doesn’t produce botulism some of the time.

      On the bright side, bread freezes beautifully... What a yummy job you have!

      - Patrice

      Delete
  12. can you can leftovers that have been refridgerated?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I do it all the time. I would suggest heating up the leftovers first. The rule of thumb is, process the food in accordance with the ingredient requiring the LONGEST processing time. No shortcuts!

      Avoid canning foods that contain flour, lots of oil, or dairy -- these foods are prone to botulism even after being pressure-canned.

      - Patrice

      Delete
  13. This means I could can my homemade soups, as long as I skim the grease off first, and as long as I don't make noodle soups... correct? Where do I find out about ingredient processing times?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You are correct. As for ingredient processing times, I recommend a good canning reference book. Many people swear by the Ball Blue Book, but I find it's not comprehensive enough for me. My personal favorite is Putting Food By. It's wonderful.

      Remember to process a "mixed ingredient" item according to the ingredient requiring the LONGEST processing time. This means you'll have to list the components in your soup, then list the processing time for each component, to determine how long to can your soup.

      Happy canning!

      - Patrice

      Delete
    2. I'm confused. Doesn't the processing time pertain to "raw" ingredients? Wouldn't processing it for that long over cook the leftovers? Obviously, I'm a newbie to canning leftovers. I've done all sorts of veggies, jellies, etc, just never already cooked foods. Thanks for the clarification.

      Delete
    3. Cooked, raw, doesn't matter -- the object is to safely sterilize the food. Just because something is cooked before canning doesn't mean it hasn't been exposed to the air and picked up the germs which will contaminate it if you underprocess. ALL meats (since I was canning chicken) have a processing time of 75 minutes/pints or 90 minutes/quarts (10 lbs pressure, adjusted for your elevation).

      In other words, better safe than sorry.

      - Patrice

      Delete
    4. Thank you, that helps clarify. I bought the Putting Food By book you mentioned too.

      Delete
  14. What about my home made spaghetti. We always have left overs of that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sauce, yes. Noodles, no.

      The sauce should be pressure-canned at 10 lbs. (adjusted for your elevation) for 75 minutes/pints or 90 minutes/quarts.

      - Patrice

      Delete