Canning Homemade Chicken Broth

Last week I shared my recipe for Homemade Chicken Broth. This week’s post is about canning that broth.

I always cook my broth on a Sunday. Before I go to bed the broth is done. I strain out the bones, meat, and vegetables, and refrigerate the clear broth.

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Next I set up the kitchen for canning. I like to have things lined up and ready to go first thing in the morning. I wash 17 pint jars and put them into a big pot of water on the stove. I organize the counter next to the stove with canning equipment. I cover the counter with a towel (this makes final cleanup easier) and line up a timer, my funnel – I set the funnel in a flat soup bowl lined with a dish cloth to keep hot jars from breaking, a second dish cloth for wiping jar rims, rings, ladle, spoon – for removing broth from the jar if I over fill it, and jar lifter – the tool needed to safely lift the jars into and out of the canner. I count out the number of lids I will need and place them in a small saucepan on the stove – they will be covered with water in the morning. This picture is actually of what things look like just before I begin to fill jars but it helps you see how I organize things on the counter. You can see my new All American canner is ready to go.

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For many years I used a Presto pressure canner with a gauge. I always had to stay in the kitchen and nurse that canner to be certain that it stayed at 10 pounds pressure. I find that when my new All American canner reaches 10 pounds pressure it stays steady – I don’t have to baby it to keep it at 10 pounds. Although I still use the Presto canner along with the All American when I do a big batch of canning, I prefer the All American. Isn’t she beautiful!

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Now – off to bed.

The next morning, about 6 a.m., I turn on the heat under the pot of jars and bring the broth out of the refrigerator. I skim the fat from the surface of the broth and put it on the stove and bring it to 180° or a simmer. While things heat up I have time for breakfast and then I begin canning. When the jars are hot – 180° I slide the pot off the stove to the counter to the left of the rest of the canning equipment – you can see this in the previous picture – I keep the lid on and the jars stay hot until they are all filled. Now I have room to slide the pot of broth to the left front burner, closest to the counter, and heat it until it reaches a simmer. I use the right hand front burner for the pressure canner. I add a few inches of water to the canner and bring it to a simmer or 180°. I cover the lids in the saucepan with water and bring them to a simmer or 180°.

Finally! The jars are hot – 180°, the broth is hot – 180°, the lids are hot – 180° and the canner is simmering – 180°. Let’s can . . . Fill the jars with the hot broth, leaving one inch head space – meaning the space between the top of the broth and the top of the jar rim.

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Remove the funnel and wipe the jar rim with a clean dish cloth. Remove a lid from the hot water – I use tongs for Tattler lids and a lid lifter for metal lids – and place it on the jar. A lid lifter is a small plastic wand with a magnet at one end.

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The magnet snaps up a metal lid from the hot water and helps you carry it over the the jar. If you are using metal lids screw on a ring just until you meet resistance and than a bit more – don’t crank it down! If you are using Tattler reusable lids tighten the ring until you meet resistance and then back it off about 1/4 turn. This allows the Tattler lid to vent while it processes. This point is important so I will repeat it – process jars with metal lids with the ring tightened but with Tattler lids tighten the ring then back off about a quarter turn. The trick with Tattler lids is to loosen the ring about a quarter turn – but not so loose so that they float off during processing – ask me how I learned that! I loosen the ring and then pick up the jar by the ring – if the ring holds and is slightly loose it is good to go into the canner – if it pulls off I tighten it until it is loose but still holds the weight of the jar. Use the jar lifter to place the jar into the pressure canner. The Tattler reusable lid is on the left and a classic metal lid is on the right.

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Continue to fill jars and place them in the canner.

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When the canner is full place the lid on and clamp it into place. Follow the manufacturers directions to tighten the lid on your canner. Turn the heat to high and heat the canner until steam constantly flows from the vent. Allow the canner to vent for 10 minutes – or follow the venting direction that came with your pressure canner. Venting is necessary to remove air from the canner. After the proper venting time – I use a timer – place the 10 pound weight on the vent or close the pet cock – depending on the type of canner you have. and allow the canner to come up to 10 pounds pressure. Ten pounds pressure is obviously reached when the weight begins to rock or the gauge reads 10 pounds – depending you the type of canner you are using. Chicken broth in pint jars must be pressure canned at 10 pounds pressure for 20 minutes. When 10 pounds pressure is reached I set my timer for 20 minutes and allow the canner to process. After 20 minutes of processing I turn the heat off and allow the canner to cool to 0 pressure. Cooling down could take 1/2 hour or longer depending on the canner – my All American canner takes about 40 minutes to cool to 0 pounds pressure. When the gauge reads 0 carefully remove the weight – I use an oven mitt because the weight will be hot. Carefully loosen and remove the lid – hot steam will escape so hold the lid between you and the steam. Carefully remove the jars with a jar lifter – don’t tilt them – hold them upright. The sealant on the lids will still be hot – so keeping the jars upright at this point is important because you don’t want the jar contents to spill out and interfere with the still hot sealant. Place the jars on a towel in a draft free place – if you are using Tattler lids now is the time to tighten the rings – if you are using classic metal lids do not tighten the rings. Allow the jars to sit undisturbed until completely cool.

When the jars are cool remove the rings – wash them in hot soapy water and dry them carefully for storage. The jars should be stored WITHOUT the rings. Storing jars with the rings on can hide poor seals – scary! – and cause the rings to rust and shorten their useful life. The clean rings can then be used for the next canning project – I store all my rings in a big rubbermaid storage container. You can check the jar seal by lifting the jar by the lid – if the lid holds the seal is secure.

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Rinse the jars and dry them well – they always need rinsing after they come out of the canner. Label with contents and date of processing. If I do more than one batch I add that information to the label – eg. batch one, batch two etc. If there is a problem with one jar I will know which batch it was processed with and can check the other jars from that batch for problems. I use file folder labels for labeling. I found a big container of these labels for .50 cents at a rummage sale. These labels soak off easily and I have a lifetime supply! I do not write on Tattler lids because they will be reused.

Store your canned broth in a cool, dark place. I like to do a batch of broth three Sunday/Mondays in a row. This gives me 51 pints of broth. When I am down to about a dozen pints I go through the process again.

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I have already used 3 pints of this broth to make a pot of Potato Leek soup for a friend that had oral surgery – hope you are feeling better Laura! I hope you will give serious consideration to making your own broth. If you can’t can it you can freeze it. It is FAR better than anything you can find at the grocery store.

FYI: Every home canner NEEDS a copy of The Ball Blue Book – it is the gold standard of canning books. Any store that sells canning equipment should sell this book. Don’t have one? GET ONE!

Hey from the farm,
Fran The Country Cousin



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