Friday, April 21, 2017

Canning Shredded Chicken

Between softball games, Bible Bowl, and school many times our meals are on the fly.  I'm not a fan of fast food because it's no usually healthy and it can be expensive for a family of four all ordering off the adult menu!

There are options for quick meals but most of those options include prepackaged food but you usually don't know what ingredients are included!  So what's a girl to do?

Many of our favorite meals include chicken like Chicken Burrito Bowls, Shredded Tacos, Chicken Pot Pies, Chicken Club Sandwiches, even Chicken noodle soup.  All of these can be made with canned chicken. But have you ever wonder what pieces and parts make up a can of "store bought" chicken? Sometimes it doesn't even look like chicken. And sometimes there seems to be more water than chicken in those cans.

So today I'm canning my own chicken, something I've done many times I've just never put it on the blog. Now I have to confess, I started off with Kroger's Simple Truth rotisserie chicken.  It is fully cooked, it has no hormones, no preservatives, organic, grain fed, blah, blah, blah.  Here's what I like best is they are always 50% off at my local Kroger store on Friday mornings when I do my grocery shopping.  Today I picked up two whole chickens for about $8 total!

When I buy these on Friday morning they are cold because they were roasted the day before and then refrigerated.  To heat and re-hydrate I place the whole chickens in my 6-Quart crock pot along with two cups of water.  I let this re-hydrate and heat for about 3 hours.  The next part is to de-bone the chicken separating chicken from bones and skin.

Because it was re-heated on a low setting on the crock pot the meat is very moist and literally falling off the bone!  For now I bagged up the meat in gallon baggies and placed it in the refrigerator. I could go ahead and can it now with chicken broth. But I'm going to make chicken bone broth that takes 12-24 hours and can the meat with it's own stock.  So, the meat went in the frig and tomorrow I will can it.

To can the chicken pack the chicken into your sterilized jars, leaving at least a half inch of head space (I aim for where the threading area begins). Fill the jars with chicken broth. I removed any air bubbles using a plastic knife around the jar. If the broth is salt free, you will want to add 1/4 tsp canning salt to each pint. Wipe the jars down with vinegar to remove any grease before sealing with sterilized lids and rims.

Process the jars in my pressure canner following the instructions provided with the canner. For pints, chicken is processed at 10 pounds of pressure for 70 minutes.  Shelf life for canned shredded chicken is 18 months to 3 years. 

Each pint jar contains two cups of meat equal to about 1 pound of meat. 

I like to can because I find it relaxing, mostly.  I also feel great knowing what exactly I'm serving my family.  But if you are driven by numbers, here you go: 

My two half price rotisserie chickens cost $8 and yielded a quantity of twelve 16oz pint jars!  That's 192 ounces of meat!  If I were to purchase that much canned Wal-Mart's Great Value chicken I would need to buy sixteen 12.5oz cans at $2.38 for $38.   That's a $30 savings and mine will have more flavor and not taste like a tin can!! 

She looks well to the ways of her household,

And does not eat the bread of idleness.
Proverbs 31:27

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