All right, for those who really know me you know that I'm kind of a rookie when it comes to canning. In fact, I recently found a jar of mystery mush that I think may have been an ill-fated attempt at apple butter from a few years ago. There were air bubbles in it, it looked like a science experiment, and...oh yeah, it wasn't even sealed! I've come a long way since then, as far as canning goes (and in other areas I hope) and have found that I actually really like canning. And not just because I know exactly what's in the food I'm preparing, that it's 100% gluten free, or even that it's way healthier, but because it's WAY cheaper! I made the equivalent of 10 pints of broth for...(drum roll, please)...$0.

That's right, I didn't spend a dime. We were hanging with the in-laws for dinner and after we'd finished off the rotisserie chicken my mother-in-law turned to me and said, "do you want the chicken carcass?" and I said, "um, yeah!" If your mother-in-law doesn't randomly gift chicken carcasses to you then the next time you pick up a rotisserie chicken from Costco, don't throw it away when you're done eating it.

My first attempt at canning that was an actual success was some yummy {homemade} salsa. Even though I still sometimes get a little nervous about trying to can something new, now that I know the fundamentals it's awesome! So I spent a few minutes the next morning throwing things into a pot of water and then that evening spent about half hour processing it. And done. Simple, cheap, healthy, gluten free, homemade and yummy!

*Side note: If you want to get technical this is actually stock not broth since I used the bone and other scraps instead of the meat of the chicken, but whether you call it broth or stock you can use it in any recipe that calls it by either name.

1. Throw all your ingredient into a large pot or slow cooker

If you stop there you'll have tasty, healthy, and money saving chicken broth/stock to bottle. Or, I like to add lots of herbs to add some depth and extra goodness that just makes all the dishes I use it in that much better. So, I also added in...

2. Cover and simmer on low for 4-6 hours
Fill a large canning pot with water and get it heating while you prepare your jars. I filled about 6 pint-sized jars and 2 quart jars for this batch. ( I like using pint jars because that's usually how much broth I use at a time.)

Update: When I first started making my own chicken stock I thought I could process it like anything else. Thankfully, I've never run into any trouble, but that is probably because we go through chicken broth like crazy and it always ended up in the fridge. Nowadays, I usually just freeze the broth in ice cube trays once it's cooled. If you want to bottle it, use a pressure cooker. Here's a great link with information on canning chicken stock from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

3. Prepare and process the stock
When you're ready, take your pot of stock and pour it through a strainer into another pot. Or, even better, use a pasta cooker pot to begin with - you know the one's that have a strainer that nestles into the pot and then you can just lift the strainer portion out and ta-da, liquid in the pot and stuff in the strainer!  (I have one but didn't think of it till after)

Now just get a jar and using the funnel, pour some stock in, leaving about an inch of space at the top. Use the lid lifter to grab a lid and, without touching the lid with your hands, set it in place on the jar. Now you can touch the top to adjust and make sure it's on straight. Screw the jar ring on until it's just barely tightens and put it in the pressure cooker.

Follow instructions for the time and pressure for your altitude and particular kind of pressure cooker.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Meat Stock in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 - 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Hot Pints 20 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 25 11 12 13 14
Table 2. Recommended process time for Meat Stock in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Hot Pints 20 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 25 10 15 


Food Lamor by Melissa