A whole new ball game

I play with the big dogs now – I canned homemade chicken stock in a pressure canner for the first time!

Remember back when I told you that a friend of mine had gifted me the pressure canner that I’d always wanted? Well, I got it working and I didn’t burn down the house or explode anything.

Turns out it was pretty easy. I just made everything very hot (including the stock, which I had to first cool and skim and then reheat), and filled the jars with a bit of extra space. I filled the canner with 1.5″ water, brought it to a boil, put in the jars, let it vent for 10 minutes and then closed it and brought it up to 10 lbs pressure for 25 minutes. It was amazing how much pressure was left in it after the needle had already gone back down to zero though – I was glad I’d used a potholder to open the vent back up because it sure spat and hissed at me!

All in all it was a quick and easy experience – much faster than waiting for that huge water bath canner to come to a boil. I wonder if I can can high-acid foods in a pressure canner as well? It seems so much more efficient. Does anyone know?

I make chicken stock a lot, about two gallons at once (the other gallon this time became chicken noodle soup), so being able to can it will come in quite handy. I’m especially glad I could can this particular stock that I made with blackened chicken bones (I had stuffed it with bacon and then it caught on fire! -laugh-). It tasted reeeeeeally good.

By the way, making stock is like the easiest thing ever. Save all your chicken bones – especially the roasted ones! and freeze them. Also save any leafy celery tops, mushroom stems, and all those chicken parts that come inside a whole chicken except the liver (floppy slimy thing). I generally amass a gallon bags’ worth of carcass and veggie bits. Put them all in a big stockpot. Add 2 bay leaves, 1 onion very roughly chopped, 4 cloves garlic smashed, 1 tbsp various dried herbs (oregano & thyme for instance, easy on the rosemary), a couple stalks of celery very roughly chopped, and 3 or 4 carrots broken in large pieces and dropped in. (Don’t bother to peel the carrots or chop things small; leaving them large is fine and will help you strain the broth later.)

Edited to add – fill the pot until it covers everything by about an inch. Can’t believe I forgot the water – doh!

Bring to a boil then lower to a steady simmer, uncovered, and basically ignore it for 4-6 hours (you can/should stir it at least a couple times). Strain through a colander and season to taste with salt, seasoned salt, pepper, sugar, and a splash of cider vinegar (you’d be amazed how this can instantly perk up a bland dish).

To make the stock into chicken soup, add a few nicely chopped & peeled carrots, celery sticks, and an onion to the strained stock. Boil 10 minutes then add noodles; boil 5 minutes and then add finely chopped raw chicken to poach until both noodles and chicken are done, about 5 more minutes (I like to brown my chicken first, actually, and drop it in just before serving; it comes out less dry but the raw chicken method is much simpler). Add chopped parsley, taste, and you’re done! From-scratch chicken noodle soup in 30 minutes or less. :)

13 Responses to “A whole new ball game”

  1. Erin Says:

    Not sure if you have the freezer space but I freeze my broth. As we generally use it all before we collect enough bits to make more stock, canning would be pointless for us. Also if you put your vinegar in at the beginning, it will help breakdown the food/flavors and take less time to cook;) We eat a ton of soup try this recipe I used last week it was yummy!
    http://allrecipes.com//Recipe/spicy-sweet-potato-soup/Detail.aspx

  2. diana Says:

    Hey thanks! Good tip about the vinegar too I’ll try it. I don’t like to freeze my broth because then I have to wait for it to defrost and it condenses all over the place; and some recipes call for only a cup or two. -shrug- There’s only so much chicken noodle soup I can serve my family! -laugh- Thanks for the link to the sweet potato recipe. I just harvested about 20 pounds of sweet potatoes, so I will definitely check it out!

  3. Erin Says:

    Is that an identical scale I see?!? lol

  4. diana Says:

    I wondered if you’d notice that! 😀 It was part of the birthday swag. I remember yours being prettier, and mine was $10 instead of $5, but I did think of you when I bought it! 😀

  5. Ayse Says:

    Yes, you can can anything in a pressure canner. It’s the other way that it doesn’t work.

    I have got to get one for myself.

  6. diana Says:

    Wow Ayse, awesome! It means I can be ready to can in 10 minutes instead of 60 – and use that much less electricity. Of course the water bath canner fits more jars (it’s yuge!), but I bet I could process enough in the pressure canner in the time saved, to let it all come out just about even.

  7. heidi Says:

    yum.The chicken soup sounds delicious. I wish I had a pressure canner, but I can’t lift even the spaghetti pot filled with water to make it into a boiling water bath anymore.You sure have a lot of neat ideas.I may try freezing bones again when I’ve eaten out some of the freezer space.
    And your friends sweet potato soup looks really good. May try it too.

  8. Mrs. Brent Parker Says:

    Giving this a try. Thank you for sharing the recipe.

  9. diana Says:

    Cool, let me know if it works for you! You know, I think this recipe might actually be a good candidate for doing in the crock pot!

  10. Mrs. Brent Parker Says:

    I ended up with 10 cups. I plan on using some for stuffing and the rest is being frozzen in 1 cup containers.

  11. Julie Says:

    Pretty much the way I make my stock, though yours is more precise. I basically freeze all the veggie and meat scraps until I have a bag or two full, and then toss them in the pot – never comes out quite the same way twice, but always good. If I have a batch of scraps that is short on some particular necessity like onions or carrots I might add some, but I hate wasting perfectly good veggies to make stock, so I usually have plenty of onion root sections and carrot tops in the freezer bag to make it work.

    Also, soy sauce makes everything better – adds a nice meaty flavor, as does tomato paste, so I’ll often add a bit of soy sauce in place of salt.

    One of these days I’ll get motivated enough to try pressure canning the broth. I used my pressure canner for green tomatoes once, but that was years ago.

  12. Diana Guillermo Says:

    Hi Julie! I love your idea of adding a bit of tomato paste. I generally don’t season the stock I can; but mostly it gets made into chicken soup anyway, which I love to put Tamari in, along with some apple vinegar and brown sugar. I’ve started saving onion root sections too! And mushroom stems. :)

  13. Julie Says:

    Oh, and yeah, that approach will work just fine in the crock pot – I’m about 50/50 whether I do stove top or crock pot with it.

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