Disclaimer: I have never canned by myself before - this was the first time I've ever done some thing like this. My mom used to bottle fruit all the time when I was a kid - so I was a little nervous for the first time, especially where this was meat and not fruit.
I got ambitious and decided that last Saturday, I was going to can chicken. I've been purchasing chicken over the past several weeks and my freezer was stuffed. I seriously could not fit one more thing in the freezer until I canned this chicken. So with my husbands help - we tackled this not so fun job.
We decided to just do the 20lb box I got from Macey's a couple of weeks ago. I also had 2 additional pounds in the fridge from a larger package I had used for dinner the night before. So I canned 22 lbs of chicken in total.I used pints because they will hold approximately 1 lb of chicken which is what most recipes call for. It took a long time to trim the chicken. I'm pretty picky when it comes to what my chicken looks like and I didn't want to have to deal with trimming chicken after I had it bottled.
Once we got the chicken in the bottles we put it in the pressure cooker. We had a few hiccups along the way. We got the water boiling, but steam was coming out of the lid, so I touched a small black rubber stopper that was on top of the lid and it fell into the pot. We had to stop everything and fish it out. So then we got started again and again steam was escaping from the lid. As we unfastened the lid we realized the gasket/seal had torn - meaning that we needed a new gasket in order to proceed. So we called Kitchen Kneads (it was 3:45 pm on Saturday) praying that they were still open so we could run and get one. Luckily they were open until 5:00 pm so I rushed back to finish the job. As we took the lid off the second time the lids on the bottles began to seal. We had to unseal all the bottles and start over.
So the third time was the charm. We finally had a tight seal and we able to get the pressure to 15 lbs. We fit 16 bottles in the first batch and cooked it for an hour and 15 minutes. We did a second batch with an additional 7 bottles. If you decide to use quart bottles (will hold 2 lbs of chicken - each, you need to cook them for 90 minutes at 15 lbs of pressure).
Here's the finished product. Once they've cooked for 75 minutes you have to let the pressure cooker release the pressure on it's own. You can't speed the process, needless to say we were finally pulling the last batch out at about 10:30 pm.
Okay - I have to admit, this doesn't really look yummy to eat right out of the jar, but I am pretty excited to have this on hand. It will certainly come in handy in an emergency and make certain chicken recipes (enchilada's, taco's etc....) much more convenient to make. I did not add any juice to the chicken. I did add a dash of salt and a little poultry seasoning - but you don't even have to do that.
Now that I've done chicken - I'm going to try some hamburger and other meats.