Are you ready to step into the world of pressure canning? While you can use a pressure canner for any type of canning recipe you make, it’s key when you are making non-acidic foods. For our family, it’s perfect for soups, stocks and even vegetables we like to keep on hand!
I use a lot of chicken stock in my cooking, from risotto to soups or even just basic recipes. But each box at the store costs me $4 or more, even when you buy them in bulk at the discount stores they get pricey. I always wanted to try making chicken stock, and while it does take a while to make – it was really easy to do! And the best part, I ended up with 4 quarts of homemade, gluten free stock for just the cost of a small chicken!
Since Chicken stock isn’t very acidic (I’m actually pretty sure it’s not at all), this is a recipe you need to pressure can. Be sure you have the tools you need before you start canning the chicken stock so none of it goes to waste! That not only keeps the food safe from botulism once sealed, but makes it last a lot longer!
To can the stock I used the 6 qt pressure canner. It has a yellow button that pops up when the canner comes to pressure. When there isn’t pressure in the canner it’s down and flat, but when the canner is pressurized it stands right up. It’s a nice visual cue so you know when it’s safe to open your canner or not!
Now, how to make Chicken Stock – you probably have most of the ingredients at home already!
- 1 4-lb chicken, cut into pieces – discard the bag of inards. You can include them in the stock but I decided not to
- 16 cups water
- 2 stalks celery
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 1 Tbsp salt
- 10 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 4 (32 oz) quart or 8 (16 oz) pint jars with lids and bands.
- In a large stock pot add your chicken and water. Bring to a boil. Add in your remaining ingredients and return to a boil.
- Reduce your heat and simmer for 2 hours – yes, 2 HOURS!
- Remove your stock pot from heat and skim off the foam – there will be some.
- Remove your chicken and set it aside – it will be nice and tender and easily shredded for other recipes (or cat treats!)
- Place a large bowl in the base of your sink, put a large sieve in the bowl and drain your stock into the bowl. You can also use cheesecloth that is layered as well.
- Allow your stock to cool down and wait until the fat solidifies (this will take an hour or more). Skim the fat off the top of your stock.
- In a large pot sanitize your jars. Place your jars in and fill with water. Simmer on medium (do not boil) until they are are warm.
- In a smaller pan place your lids in water. Place this on low until you’re ready to use them.
- Prepare your pressure canner – place the rack at the bottom.
- When your stock is ready to be canned ladle into your quart (or pint) jars leaving a 1 inch head space.
- Add your lids and finger tighten the bands.
- Place your filled jars into the canner and pour in hot/boiling water around them until the canner has about 3 inches of water inside.
- Put your lid on and put the burner on medium-high heat. Have your lid at the venting position, until you start to see steam coming out of the lid. Let the steam come out of the vent for 10 minutes, Reduce your heat to medium then switch the dial to the 1 position (8 lbs). When steam starts coming out again start counting down your processing time of 25 minutes.
- When your processing time is over turn off your burner and let the canner naturally depressurize.
- Remove your cans from the canner and place them on a dry towel on the counter. Allow to cool and wait for those wonderful pops! After 12-24 hours check to see if the seals are good.
I was shocked at how easy making stock was! There is only one problem with making it at home, and it’s not that it takes a long time either. The problem – your house smells delicious all day long while it cooks! The finished stock looked and even tastes divine!
Since making stock is so easy, and really cheap – the most expensive thing was a $5 chicken, this one is going to be happening a lot more in our house. For around $7 in supplies (or less) I was able to get 4 quarts (32 oz each) of fresh gluten free stock. Now that is worth the effort!