Saturday, July 20, 2013

Canning chicken stock

Since we've been so screamingly busy of late, cooking proper meals has been a rare thing. When I cook, it has to be something easy. Orange roast chicken is an easy meal to make, so earlier this week (at least this one time) my family got fed something good and hearty. For once.

I was about halfway through deboning the carcass when I decided that, pressed for time or not, I wanted to can some chicken stock.

So I put the carcass and all other scraps into a stock pot...

...and filled it with water.

Thanks to some reader suggestions, I also added about a quarter-cup of vinegar in order to draw out the marrow and additional nutrients from the carcass.

I brought the whole thing to a rolling boil...

...then turned it down to the lowest-possible barely-on level and let it quietly simmer all night long.

My intention was to can the broth the next day but, well, we got busy. Really busy. All day long and all the following night, the broth stayed at a low simmer. It got to the point where I was either going to have to discard the entire thing, or somehow find the time to can it. I really wanted the stock, so I found the time.

The following morning I got up at 4 am and prepared to can the stock... which, at this point, was very hearty.

I set a colander over another pot...

...and drained the larger stock pot.

This is all the bones and meat scraps...

...and this is the chicken stock.

I washed some canning jars and started filling.

I wasn't sure how much broth I'd get, but I ended up with fifteen pints, which pleased me.

Counting out Tattler lids, most of which still had labels from other canning projects.

What kinds of other projects? Well, I was reusing lids from canning garlic, pinto beans, raspberry jam, pizza sauce, turkey stock, turkey gravy, and a few labels that only had dates (presumably because the contents were easily identified, such as corn or green beans).

I keep a basket in the kitchen into which I put all canning-related lids, rings, gaskets, etc. Once in awhile I'll put everything into their proper storage spaces, but more often I just fish what I need out of this basket.

I scalded the lids and gaskets and prepared to cap the jars, just as a shaft of early-dawn sunlight inched into the kitchen.

Lids and gaskets on.

Rings on.

Into the canner.

Because the stock is meat-based, I played it safe and pressure-canned it as I would all meats, 90 minutes at 13 pounds (for our elevation). Last November we had a lively discussion about whether poultry stock needs to be canned that long, but I decided to stick with the full 90 minutes because I only coarsely-strain the stock and it still has bits of meat floating around. Better safe than sorry.

Actually, since these are pints I could have canned them for 75 rather than 90 minutes. But I'd been up since 4 am and clearly wasn't thinking straight. An extra fifteen minutes in the canner won't hurt.

Before the rest of the family was awake, the jars were out of the canner and cooling.

Hey, sometimes getting up at 4 am has its advantages.


  1. That looks like it is worth the work, I use Tattle lids and like them. Nice!

  2. Excellent! I'm sitting here canning my very first batch ever. I'm canning some chicken legs and thighs - raw pack. Just put the regulator weight on and waiting for pressure to come up to 10 lbs. I hope nothing blows up.....

  3. Wow what timing! I literally was just about to search thru old posts to find some info about canning chicken stock and wallah! its right here in front of me! thanks for all the info and tips. I was wondering if you ever can leftovers, like chili? I made delicious chili 2 months ago, canned it at 15lbs pressure for 90 min, but somehow I am afraid to use it now because its not a "trusted recipe." Do you always follow a recipe? or do you ever just can leftovers at the highest required time for the ingredients?

    1. The rule of thumb for processing personal (as opposed to "trusted" or "official") recipes is to CAN THE FOOD IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE INGREDIENT REQUIRING THE LONGEST PROCESSING TIME. This means you have to list EVERYTHING -- every single ingredient -- in the recipe, and look up the processing time for each ingredient.

      Any meat, by default, must be processed for 75 minutes (pints) or 90 minutes (quarts).

      As for chili, see this post:

      For stuff I learned on canning, see this post:

      - Patrice

    2. thank you, loads of info in those posts. I opened one of my chili jars and saw hundreds of white dots. they dont look 'fuzzy' or hairy like mold....they look wet. almost like fat separation, but tiny while dots. Im too nervous to try it so in the trash it goes :(

    3. Hold your horses! Don't toss that chili yet. A little bit of fat is fine; what you shouldn't be doing is canning up something in pure oil. It sounds like your chili is perfectly safe.

      - Patrice

  4. I do the 90 minutes with all my stock from meat...good call

  5. That's it. I'm totally getting a pressure canner.

    I'm fairly good at water bathing: My strawberry jam is outta this world and my beet pickles are a force to be reckoned with.

    But the possibilities with a pressure canner are so WIDE! Oh, how I would love to be able to can up some homemade stock.

    Just Me

  6. There is nothing to compare with homemade. Your mugs are just beautiful, such wonderful craftsmanship.

  7. I envy your energy. If it was me, the stock would be in containers in the freezer for canning another day, there is no way I'd get up at 4 a.m.! You're an amazing person.

  8. I love to have homemade chicken stock on my shelves and make it often. But 15 pints from 1 carcass? I usually get 6 or 7...maybe the secret is to simmer it for 2 days? You probably used your own homegrown chicken, that probably has more flavor? I have to take my stock to the basement to cook because the smell drives my dog absolutely nuts and he whines and sits by the stove all day if it cooks in the kitchen :)

  9. Patrice,

    Adding a 1/4 cup of vinegar draws out the marrow, I had no idea. So I assume I can do the same with beef bones? This week I have to can and stock up on my beef stock.

    Getting up at 4AM is almost an everyday time for me to wake up.

  10. What kind of tape/labels did you use that would stick to the tattler plastic lids????

    Hangtown Frank