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Canning chicken is super easy, and it’s a great way to store chicken to be used in soups, sandwiches, casseroles and more. Here is a great method to use, especially for those of you that don’t have a lot of freezer space. When you find a great deal on chicken breast, you can use this method to stock up and can the chicken for future use. I love being able to grab a jar of pre-cooked chicken to help me make a quick and easy dinner!
I am going to how you how to can your chicken using the “raw pack” method. There really isn’t too much prep work involved, but this method requires the use of a pressure cooker, and you can’t can your chicken like you would raspberry jam, as it requires a different processing method. You will need to consult your manual for instructions related to the specific size and model of the pressure cooker you own, the amount of time needed will vary for every model.
What you will need:
- Pressure Cooker/Canner
- Canning Jars (quart or pint)
- Canning Lids and Bands
- Pickling/Canning Salt (optional)
- Dish Towel
- Cutting Board & Knife
- Jar Lifter or Tongs
What you need to do:
Step 1: Clean and sterilize your jars, by boiling them, or washing them in hot soapy water.
Step 2: Set your lids in hot water until they are ready to use. Boil the water that will be added to the pressure cooker for the canning process (check your pressure cooker’s instruction book for the exact amount of water to add – this will vary according to the size of your pressure cooker.)
Step 3: Prepare your chicken, by washing and cuttin your chicken into chunks or pieces, the size doesn’t really matter. Keep in mind that smaller pieces will be easier to use in soups, casseroles, sandwiches, etc.
Step 4: Add the chicken to the jars, making sure to leave 1 inch of space between the chicken and the top of the jar. You do not need to add any liquid. You may add salt if you desire, but it is best to use canning or pickling salt. If table salt is used, it may turn the liquid cloudy over time. If using salt, you will want to use 1/2 tsp for a pint jar and 1 tsp for a quart jar.
It’s very important that you wipe the rims of your jars clean after adding the chicken, because they need to be totally clean in order to seal properly.
Step 5: Prepare the pressure cooker for the canning process. , putting the canning rack on the bottom of the pressure cooker, and adding the boiling water. Don’t forget, you will need to consult your pressure cooker instruction manual for the exact amount of water that is needed. My pressure cooker tells me to add 3 quarts.
Helpful hint: To prevent water stains on the jars, add 2 tablespoons white vinegar to the water inside the canner.
Step 6: Carefully place your jars into the canner, and close the lid.
Step 7: Follow the specific instructions for your pressure cooker in regards to what pressure you should use to cook chicken. My pressure cooker needs that I need to process the chicken at 11 lbs of pressure.
Helpful hint: To more easily maintain the pressure you need, you may want to lower the temperature. on your stove when it gets to within 1.5 – 2 lbs of where it needs to be.
Step 8: Once the gauge on the canner reaches the required level (mine needs to reach 11 lbs), you will need to add the pressure regulator onto the vent pipe. You will then need to cook the chicken for the desired amount of time as detailed in the instructions of your specific pressure cooker. For chicken without bones in pint jars my book says it needs to cook for a total of 75 minutes. You may need to adjust the heat on your stove to maintain the level of pressure needed. Its okay if it goes a little higher, but you don’t want the pressure to go below the required pressure.
If the pressure drops below the required setting, it is necessary to bring the pressure back up to the correct setting and begin timing it again.
Step 9: Once the time is up, turn off the stove and remove the canner from the heat source. Do not open the canner right away as, the jars need to stay inside until the pressure has been completely reduced. You will know when it’s safe to open, because the overpressure plug on your canner will drop.
Step 10: When the pressure has been sufficiently reduced, remove the pressure regulator from the vent pipe and let pressure cooker cool for an additional 10 minutes before opening the lid to the canner.
Step 11: Remove the jars from your canner and set them on a dish towel or board. Once completely cooled, check the seals on the jars and date the lids, so it will be easier to rotate your food storage and ensure the oldest product gets used first.
Step 12: Enjoy the chicken in some of these great recipes!
- Six Can Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Best Chicken Salad Ever
- Simple Ranch Chicken Macaroni Salad
- Chicken Spinach Pesto Pasta Salad
- Ziti Chicken Casserole
Buying chicken in Bulk: I get my fresh boneless skinless chicken in 40 lb boxes from Zaycon Foods. You can register at Zaycon Foods, and they will send you an email when there is a chicken event coming to your area. They will be coming to the Northwest in June 2011, several of the locations are sold out, but you can still create an account and be put on the waiting list in case more chicken becomes available.
Please let me know if you have any questions!