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Category: Canning-Dehydrating-Prepping (Page 1 of 2)

How To Home Can Chicken

It’s getting to be that time of year. Time to buy good, healthy meat and can it for the winter. Once reason for canning meat is that organic, healthy meat can be hard to find and once you do find it, you can fill up your freezer, but it’s best to utilize several storage methods. Freezers can stop working and then you’ll be pressed to use or can the food any way.

Here are my methods for canning chicken on and off the bone. I use both the Hot Pack where you cook the meat first, and the Raw Pack, sometimes called Cold Pack where you put raw meat into the jars and can it. I’ve used these instructions since I was a kid at home and they have served me well.

Home-canned chicken and broth

A Few Notes

  • Chicken that is pressure canned may take on a pinkish color. Its not raw, that’s just the color of the meat when canned this way. Its kind of like pork in that way.
  • Be sure to keep the jar rims free from grease or the lids won’t adhere and seal.  You can use vinegar instead of water on a clean cloth to wipe down the rims before adding the lids. the vinegar will help remove the grease.
  • As with any home canning project you should purchase and read a Ball Canning Guide before beginning. These instructions came out of an old Farm Journal book that belonged to my Mother. I have updated the times that the jars are pressurized, but you should still get that Ball Canning Guide and that’s my disclaimer. 🙂
  • All of these instructions can be used for pork as well as chicken.
  • My favorite method for canning chicken in the Raw-pack without bone method which is the last one I describe in this post.


HOT PACK WITH BONE:   In Which you first cook the meat, then can it.

Bone the breast (because its hard to fit the breast bone into the jars) and, if desired, saw the drumsticks off short, I sometimes use a cleaver for this. (It isn’t necessary and you can choose to do it or not with all of the following instructions. Cutting off the snort end saves space because the meat usually draws away from the end of the bone and leaves a meatless bone sticking up there, just taking up space).

Leave the bones in other meaty pieces. Trim off large pieces of fat. I remove the skin. Place raw chicken pieces in water to cover and cook til meat is medium done, or until almost no pink color shows at center of pieces. Stir occasionally during cooking to heat meat evenly.

If desired, put 1 tsp. salt in each clean quart jar for seasoning. Then pack hot second joints and drumsticks into hot jars; place with skin next to the glass. Fit breasts in the center and add smaller pieces where needed.

Cover meat with hot broth, using from 1/2 to 3/4 cup per quart jar. Leave 1″ head space.

Process in pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure (240 degrees F)
Pint jars  1 hour 5 minutes
Quart jars  1 hour and 15 minutes

Allow to cool and de-pressurize naturally. This means to remove the canner from the heat source and do not remove the weight or open the vent.
Remove jars from canner, place on a clean towel to cool completely before tightening the rings and cleaning off the jars for storage.


HOT PACK WITHOUT BONE: In Which you first cook the meat without bones, then can it
Follow preceding directions for hot pack, with bone, but remove bone, and skin if desired, from meaty pieces  before or after precooking. 
Process in pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure (240 degrees F)
Pint jars 1 hour and 15 minutes
Quart jars 1 hour and 30 minutes

Allow to cool and de-pressurize naturally. This means to remove the canner from the heat source and do not remove the weight or open the vent.
Remove jars from canner, place on a clean towel to cool completely before tightening the rings and cleaning off the jars for storage.


RAW PACK WITH BONE: In Which you do not cook the meat before canning
I use this method the most because why cook the meat twice? The pressure canner cooks the meat just fine. This is especially a good method when you’re busy or when you run upon a sale on chicken thighs and legs. I bought 40# at .19 per pound and canned it all, staggering it over 4 days. I kept the chicken in the freezer, defrosting it as I was able to work it.

Prepare chicken as for hot pack, with bone, but do not precook. Pack raw meaty pieces into the clean jars the same way.
Set open jars in a large kettle with warm water extending to about 2? below the rims of jars. Cover container and heat at a slow boil until meat is steaming hot, about 75 minutes. You can test the temperature with a thermometer. The meat is ready to process when the center of the jar registers 175 degrees F.

Remove jars, adjust hot lids and rings.

Process in pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure (240 degrees F)
Process pints 1 hour 5 minutes
quarts 1 hour 15 minutes.

Allow to cool and de-pressurize naturally. This means to remove the canner from the heat source and do not remove the weight or open the vent.
Remove jars from canner, place on a clean towel to cool completely before tightening the rings and cleaning off the jars for storage.


RAW PACK WITHOUT BONE: In Which you do not cook the meat before canning but do remove the bones before canning. This is my preferred canning method for both chicken and pork.
Follow directions for raw pack, with bone, only remove bones from meaty pieces before packing into jars.  You can use boneless chicken breasts, tenders and boneless thighs for this as well.
Process in pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure (240 degrees F)
Process pints 1 hour 15 minutes and quarts 1 hour 30 minutes
Allow to cool and de-pressurize naturally. This means to remove the canner from the heat source and do not remove the weight or open the vent.
Remove jars from canner, place on a clean towel to cool completely before tightening the rings and cleaning off the jars for storage.


I have to add this because everyone cans differently.

When using any home-canned meat or chicken, turn it out of jar, add a little water if needed, cover and bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes before tasting or adding other ingredients. If it has an off-odor during or AFTER heating, DISCARD it. Burn or bury it so the spoiled food will not be eaten by animals.

A Few Cantaloupe Recipes

I’ve tried all of these recipes and the one we really like is Cantaloup in Lemon or Pineapple. Cantaloupe gets a bit mushy sometimes so use not-quite-ripe melons for canning. We like canned cantaloupe but some don’t so try it and see if your bunch likes it!

Canned Cantaloupe

Fill hot quart jars with diced cantaloupe. To each jar add

1/2 cup sugar and 3 tablespoons vinegar.
Fill with water. Some prefer to add one
stick of cinnamon to each jar.

Seal jars and water bath for 1 hour or
pressure can for 12 minutes at 5
pounds pressure.

Cantaloupe Jelly

• 1 pound cantaloupe
• 1 pound sugar
• 1 lemon

Chop up the cantaloupe and combine
in a large kettle with the sugar and
lemon. Cook until thick.

Seal in 1/2 pint jars and water bath for

30 minutes.

Cantaloupe in Lemon

• 1 pound cantaloupe
• 1 pound sugar
• 1 lemon

In a quart jar place the juice of 1
lemon, 1 cup sugar and 1 cup water.
Fill with cubed cantaloupe.

Boil in water bath canner for 15

Instead of lemon juice try using 6
chunks of pineapple and a little
pineapple juice.

Cantaloupe With Cinnamon

• 1 pound cantaloupe
• 1 pound sugar
• Cinnamon stick for every jar, cut to fit the jar
• Lemon juice

In a quart jar place the cinnamon stick, 1 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon lemon juice and 1 cup water.
Fill with cubed cantaloupe.

Boil in water bath canner for 15

Roasted Pumpkin Butter

Here is a repost from last year…… pumpkins are coming in and this Pumpkin Butter is a requirement around here! 

Pumpkin Butter is one of those things that, to me, doesn’t sound all that good. But it really is! Its so delicious and sweet. Really sweet. It seems to take more sugar to sweeten pumpkin than it does apples or other fruit. pumpkin butter toast

Here’s how I made Pumpkin Butter today. Its very easy and you can water bath can it as long as you add some lemon juice to the pumpkin butter.  The lemon juice increases the acidity of the butter and you will be able to can it like you would apple butter in pints in a water bath for 15 minutes.

First I roasted the pumpkins and I added some Cushaw pumpkins along with my Sugar Pie pumpkins. Its what I had and the two got along very well.  I cut the pumpkins open, scraped out the seeds and saved them to roast, then put the pumpkins on a cookie sheet in a 350*F oven til they were soft.

pumpkin- bake





Once they were nice and soft, I let them cool, then scooped out the cooked pumpkin. I put all the cooked pumpkin in a slow cooker.

Now, the ratio of sugar to pumpkin is shocking.  I use 1:1 sugar and pumpkin so if I have, for example, 3 cups of cooked pumpkin, I use 3 cups brown sugar. You could use rapidura or sucanat if you like.

For every 3 cups of cooked pumpkin I also add 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice, 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon and the juice of half a small lemon.

Homemade Pumpkin Pie Spice

4 Tablespoons ground cinnamon
4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
4 teaspoons ground ginger
3 teaspoons ground allspice
Stir well. Store in a tightly covered container.

Let the pumpkin, sugar and spice mixture cook in the slow cooker for several hours, I normally allow it to cook for 6-8 hours on LOW. This will cook out a lot of the water and make your pumpkin butter thicker and concentrate the flavors.

pumpkin butter







Now to can the Pumpkin Butter, you’ll need all the trappings of water bath canning:
a large pot with tight fitting lid
jars, kids, rings
jar lifters
ladle or large spoon
canning funnel
plastic knife or small wooden utensil
stove top

Fill the water bath canner about 1/3 of the way with water and bring to a boil.
Allow the pumpkin butter to continue to cook in the slow cooker.
Heat a pan of water and put the jars in and let them get boiling hot.
Heat some more water and add the lids and rings.
Heat yet some more water to add to the water bath canner after the jars have been put in it.

Fill your jars (use pint or half pint) with HOT Pumpkin Butter leaving a 1 inch head space. Pumpkin Butter is thick and gloppy so a funnel is a necessity so your jars won’t get all messy and sticky. Also, you may need to stir around in the pumpkin butter once its in the jar to get the air bubbles out.

Insert a wooden utensil or plastic knife into the pumpkin butter in the jar and get the air bubbles out.
Clean off the rims and edges of the jars.
Add hot lids and rings.
Put the filled jars into the water bath canner water.
When all your jars are in the canner, add more BOILING water to cover the jars.
Bring to a boil, Cover the pot with its lid and start timing.
Allow the canner and water to boil for 15 minutes.

Turn off the heat, remove the jars from the canner using a jar lifter. Place the jars on the counter top on a clean towel. Allow the jars to cool completely before you move them.
Once the jars are cool to the touch you may tighten the rings.
Label and date the jars.

pumpkin butter canned


Homemade Strawberry Jam

Heaven in a jar.  Strawberry Jam is my favorite. I make it the old fashioned way; no powdered or liquid pectin.  I use fresh lemon juice and lemon peel for the pectin, just like my Grandma did. Its really handy not to have to go to the store for more ingredients to make this jam, I’ve usually got sugar and lemon at home all the time.

Strawberries are coming in here and my sweet sis-in-law and mother-in-law brought me a big tray. We at them til we had enough (is that even possible?) and the rest I will make into jam.








Strawberry Jam

4 cups berries, topped and cut into chunks
(or weigh them and use 2 pounds)

4 cups sugar

1/4 cup fresh lemon juice

1 – 1 inch wide and 2 inch long piece of lemon peel. I don’t usually measure this I just use a couple big slices of peel.

You’ll need 3 or 4 pint jars, lids and rings.

You’ll need a heavy bottomed pot. The heavier the better. Don’t try to make jam using a thin aluminum pan, it will probably burn.

Combine everything in a heavy bottomed stock pot and bring to a rolling boil. Turn the heat down a little, don’t let it boil over.  Allow it to boil for about 15 minutes. Sometimes it takes longer.

Stir constantly. You can test it and see if it is setting up by putting about 1 teaspoon of the jam on a cold plate and blowing on it. If its ready, it won’t come back together when you rake your finger through it.

What I do is put a small plate in the freezer to get cold while the jam is boiling. Then I put a little jam on the cold plate and set it back in the freezer a few minutes, then check to see how thick it is. Once it is as thick as I like my jam, I know the pot has boiled long enough.

When the jam is ready, put it in hot sterilized jars, seal and water bath the jars for 15 minutes.

Dehydrating Corn and Green Beans

dried veg

For years I have dehydrated all kinds of food for my family.  Fruits, vegetables, herbs, meat and even complete meals are on my regular dehydrating list.  Two vegetables that I have always dried without using the dehydrator though were Green Beans and Sweet Corn.

Stringing Green Beans picture found at http://samplers-and-santas.blogspot.com/

I used to take a needle and heavy string and string up green beans to dry indoors.  Green Beans dried this way are called “Leather Britches”.  This is a very old method and it works well as long as you don’t mind veggies hanging around your living room or kitchen. 

Cast iron corn dryer picture found online

Sweet Corn is another one I have always dried without a dehydrator. I just stuck the cob of corn on a cast iron dryer and let it hang around til it was dry, then I’d shell it and store it.

I tried something new for me this week though, I dried both green beans and sweet corn in the dehydrator.  It was definitely faster.

dried corn


Dried green beans can be used in soups and stews or just cooked the way you would ordinarily cook fresh green beans. The ones dried in the dehydrator are dried very dry, they are hard and crispy.  When I dry them on string they normally don’t ever get that dry, but I wanted them to be completely dry so I could store them in jars.  To dry Green Beans in the dehydrator, just rinse them off to get dirt and leaves off, break and string the beans, shell the over ripe beans, then place them in the dehydrator at 125*F. You can’t really over dry Green Beans so let the dehydrator run til they are so crisp that they break apart if you try to crush them with a hammer or heavy object.  I let these run in the dehydrator for about 8 hours.


The sweet corn is dry and crispy too, so when I store it in jars it won’t grow mold.  Sweet corn is naturally very moist so it can take a little longer than the beans but this batch ran 8 hours at 115*F and turned out great. To prepare sweet corn for dehydrating, shuck the corn, pull out all the silks, cut the kernels off the cob with a big, sharp knife.

If the corn is very milky, you can blanch it for about 5 minutes to “set” the milk then proceed with cutting it off the cobs.

Lay the kernels on the dehydrating mats in a single layer. Dehydrate at 115*F til completely dry, like the green beans. You don’t want to dry corn or beans at a higher temp because you can dry out the outside and leave moisture in the center, this is called case hardening and leads to mold growth.

This batch of dried beans and corn will be stored in mason jars but you could also store them in vacuum bags or in the freezer.  Dehydrated foods don’t take up much room so when you use them, think about how much they will plump up after cooking. I would use about 2 cups of this dried corn in a pot of vegetable soup, for example.

Try some dehydrating on your own.  Its one of the easiest ways to preserve your food.


Everyone Needs At Least One

A Thermos, that is.  You really do need at least one and preferably a big one. There are so many things you can do with a Thermos including cooking in it. Thermos is a brand name of a product known as a “Vacuum Bottle”.  I like my Thermos, though I believe now Thermos is part of Nissan.

Three or 4 summers ago I bought a big Thermos at a yard sale for $2.  It holds 8 cups of liquid, so it really is big.  Once its filled its not hard to carry because it has a folding handle and a strap.

The one I bought looks kind of like this:


Although, this one is a newer one. Mine is not as sleek looking. Plus this one costs about $40. I suggest you do like I did and look for one at yard sales. Be sure you get a really good one to cook in. Thermos  and Stanley brands seem to be the best for cooking and holding water at the highest temperature for the longest time.

So, why do I think you need at least one? Well, here are the things I do with my Thermos and I tell ya, it is really handy.

1. Saving hot water, of course.
Bring some water to a rolling boil, put it in the Thermos and cap it tightly. The water will stay HOT and I meaning steaming hot for about 4 days. Yes. This is really nice when the power goes out and you need hot water for coffee, hot cocoa, baby formula, etc. I put boiling water in mine this past Sunday evening because we were getting sleet and ice and, living in an older neighborhood, I expected the power to go out. It didn’t go out, thankfully. I opened the Thermos just today, Wednesday afternoon, and it was steaming hot.

2. Cooking
Seriously, you can cook in a Thermos. If you put boiling water and food like pasta or rice in your Thermos, it will cook  and will take 10 minutes to 6 hours depending on your thermos, the temp of the water you added and what you’re cooking.  The time is also dependent on how well your Thermos seals when you cap it. This method of cooking is great for when the power goes out, camping, backpacking, on a boat, traveling, etc. Just use it however you need to.

*Always pre-heat your Thermos with boiling water for 3 minutes before adding your food. You should pour out the pre-heating water and save it to use in your recipe.

*When you are cooking rice or pasta alone or in a recipe, you should give the filled and capped Thermos a shake to distribute the water through the grains/pasta and then lay it on its side so that all the grains/pasta have room to expand and the water can reach all the food.

*I don’t personally put uncooked meat with other ingredients in a Thermos to cook. I usually cook the meat separately because there is too much room for error and under-cooked meat.

Foods that can be cooked in a Thermos include:

Small grains like quinoa, oats, wheat berries, rice
Soups and Stews
Chicken and Beef that you will then use in another recipe
Reconstituting freeze dried or dehydrated foods
Most recipes that you would cook in a slow cooker, though you need to reduce the servings.

Thermos cooking is not instant. It takes up to 6 hours for some foods to cook in a Thermos and if you are cooking meat, potatoes, rice, then you must pre-cook the ingredients a few minutes (about 5)  before adding them to the Thermos.
Here are some easy recipes that I have tried.

Thermos Chicken and Rice for a 64 ounce Thermos

2 cups diced, cooked chicken

1 cup rice

2 chicken bouillon cubes

1 bay leaf

4 peppercorns

1 carrot, diced small

Pre-heat the Thermos, pour out heating water and reserve.

Bring 2 cups of the heating water back to a boil. You can pre-cook the carrots a bit to soften them if you like.  Add the water and all the other ingredients to the Thermos, Cap tightly. Allow to sit for 1-1/2 hours.  Don’t open the Thermos until the time is up.   When the time is up, open it up and serve right from the Thermos or pour the Chicken and Rice into a bowl to serve. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.

 How To Cook Rice in a Thermos

2 cups rice

4 cups boiling water

Pre-Heat your Thermos for 3 minutes using boiling water. Reserve the water and re-boil it, once it is boiling, add the rice. Let it cook for about 5 minutes. Next, pour the rice and cooking water into the preheated Thermos, add a pinch of salt, cap tightly, give it a shake and lay it on its side, and let sit for 1 – 1/2 hours.  Brown rice takes 4-5 hours.

Why would you do this when regular rice takes only about 25 minutes to cook?  There are several reasons. 

1. It takes less energy to cook in the Thermos, even though it takes longer. When your electricity is out and you are trying to boil water over a camp stove or fire, this method will save fuel.

2. When you are camping or backpacking it also saves fuel. You can light a backpacking stove, they normally will get water boiling in about 7 minutes. The rest of the cooking time is in the Thermos, so you don’t have to spend your fuel.

3. It frees you up to do other things. When you are cooking rice over a fire or camp stove or even a propane stove, you have to stick around. When you fill up the Thermos, you can lay it down and leave it.

How To Cook Pasta in a Thermos

Pre-heat your Thermos.

Bring water to a boil on the stove.  Use enough water to fill the Thermos to the top.

Once the water is boiling, empty your Thermos, add the boiling water and add the pasta. Add a pinch of salt.  The amount of pasta depends on what kind of pasta it is and that will take some experimenting on your part. I use about 2 cups of elbows to 4 cups boiling water.

Cap the Thermos tightly, give it a shake, lay it on its side, and allow it to sit for about 10 minutes.

 4. Storing Cold Foods or Medicines

In a pinch, you can store medicines that need to be refrigerated in a Thermos.  I use small pieces of Blue Ice that have been frozen and that won’t make the inside of the Thermos super wet as they defrost. Also, wrap your medicine in plastic bubble wrap or other wrap to keep it dry when the Blue Ice condenses.  The temperature in the Thermos with the Blue Ice stays very cold, but you’d need to check the temp before using it if you are storing meds like insulin.

Foods that need to be stored in cold can be stored in the Thermos as well. I’ve stored yogurt, milk, cold drinks and applesauce. I always pre-chill the thermos in the freezer for an hour or so.


There ya go! I will post more recipes using the Thermos as I figure them out. I didn’t want to use other people’s recipes that I haven’t tried in this post, only things I have actually done and been successful with. If you have questions or comments please share.

Canning Season ~ Sugar Pie Pumpkins

When I got in from vacation last week, I expected to be met with lots of garden produce to can and freeze. Because of the weather,  I didn’t get nearly what I had hoped for but I got busy with what I found.

We harvested 13 Sugar Pie Pumpkins this year.  These little jewels are sweet and delicious. They  make great pies or other pumpkin desserts.  Seriously, when you think of pumpkin, these are the ones that define the word.

In the past I have made puree and frozen it but some years I can pumpkin. I don’t can puree, that would be too dense and might not get hot enough in the center of the jars. I canned chunks of pumpkin. Here’s how I did it.

First I cut the pumpkins in half and scooped out the seeds. I saved the seeds; some for planting next year and some for roasting.  pumpkin- scoop

Next, I baked the halves on a foil covered baking sheet, 350*F for about 20 minutes. This isn’t long enough to make the flesh mushy but its long enough to make the peel soft so you can peel it easily.

pumpkin- bake

pumpkin- peel

After I peeled it, Lydia cut it into chunks that would fit in the pint jars.

pumpkin- cut

Then we put the chunks in hot pint jars and added boiling water, lids, rings and processed the jars in a pressure canner for 65 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.

pumpkin- jars



The finished product looks very nice!  To use these, I will open up a pint, drain the water, put the pumpkin     chunks in a bowl and mash them with a fork. This pumpkin can be used anywhere pure pumpkin is called for. Pumpkin must be pressure canned because it doesn’t have enough acid in it to be water bath canned and adding acid would probably make the pumpkin taste “off”.

pumpkin- finished

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