"Commentary from the Countryside"
Thoughts on current events,
history, homesteading, preparedness, real food, and anything else I find interesting, from a cranky, middle-aged woman's common-sense perspective.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Ten Pounds of Pressure

The food co-op had boneless chicken breasts on sale this week, so it was time to get out the Creature and have another go at pressure canning.  This time I did it a little differently and did not cook the chicken, but raw packed it instead.  It took longer than expected to get it cut up and in the jars; I'm convinced it's time to spend a bit of money on a decent cutting board.  This whole cutting stuff up on a paper plate thing is getting old fast.  I filled each jar with bite-sized chunks of raw chicken, leaving 1" of head space, and got them in the canner.  I always add a splash of vinegar to keep the minerals in my well from leaving a white film on my jars, so got that in with the required amount of water, and turned up the gas.  It's not quite so scary now when the Creature hisses and spits and whistles as it comes up to temperature, thought it's still enough to drive the dawg into hiding.  I was feeling pretty good as it merrily rattled along, thinking this isn't so hard, after all, and the seventy-five minutes went by fairly quickly as I did some chores around the house.  After the timer went off, I let the canner cool for about 30 minutes, then took the lid off and waited another five minutes before pulling the jars out.  It was a bit of a shock to pull up on one of the jars, only to have the bottom of the jar and all the chicken stay in the pot.  Uff da!  New discovery for today:  if I have a bit of an issue getting the empty jars off the high closet shelf, and one of them bounces off my head, hits the stool I'm standing on, and rolls down the hallway, don't use it for canning anymore!  (And no, I'm not entertaining any speculation as to which impact actually damaged the jar!)  The jar stayed in place while the canner was heating; the bottom of the jar simply separated from the rest in one piece when I tried to lift it out.  Thankfully there's no glass shards, the chicken was salvageable and is now in the fridge for lunch tomorrow.  Of course the bottle of lemon juice fell on my foot when I opened the fridge, and all this after a jar of jelly jumped off the pantry shelf and hit my ankle bone while I was trying to get the Creature down from it's nest.  Wasn't the full moon last night?

Call it bravery or foolishness, but despite all the mishaps I loaded the canner with the second batch of jars and put it on the stove again.  It's chortling away as I type; what the outcome will be this time I hardly care to guess, but I'm really hoping for an uneventful end to the evening and eleven pints of canned chicken ready for the pantry.

Until next time, may the Good Lord bless you and keep you.



  1. I'm not an expert, but I sure wouldn't try to eat that chicken that came out of the broken jar. You may not see any glass, but if its there its not worth a trip to the hospital over a pint of chicken. Just my opinion.

  2. Cat,
    So sorry to hear you had such bad luck with your chicken canning.
    I was wondering if you are getting a proper seal if you say your canner is hissing and spitting so loudly. ????? Think the gasket's alright?
    Sheri (Claygirl)

  3. What a bummer that your jar broke! I've had that happen from time to time. Hey, have you ever experimented with adding a second rack to your pressure canner? Especially when canning pints? I've heard about people doing it successfully.

    You may want to check out Zaycon Foods. I don't know if they ever come close to you, but I bought some great chicken from them a few months ago. $60 for 40 pounds of BLSL, no hormone chicken! It is great stuff! They are coming back to Grand Rapids toward the end of this month. I'm hoping to be back from vacation to stock up again!

  4. Alright, Sheri, Oldie, you convinced me and I'll toss the chicken. I suppose it's the better part of valor at this point. The work was worth it, really..I have 11 pints of chicken for plenty of future dinners.

    Melissa, my canner is just a tad too short! I can double stack half pints, but not pints. What does BLSL mean?

    1. BoneLess, SkinLess chicken breast. :)

  5. Yep I have had jars do that to me on occasion. I have never eaten the contents when a jar breaks, jus dont like the idea of injesting glass fragments. The dropping probably was the cause of failure but heck ya can clang 2 jars together an the end result will be the same. But ya doin good and learnin and puttin good stuff in the pantry, so keep doin it. hugs

  6. Yep, Cat, I agree with Oldie,Sheri and Stella. I wouldn't eat the chicken either. It just makes ya soooo mad to waste anything though.

  7. Cat, sorry about questioning your gasket. I guess I read through too quickly the first time and thought all of your jars of chicken had broken during the canning process. I agree with Stella, - just clanging two jars together can cause a stress crack. I had that happen one time and it sure makes a mess to clean up! Glad you chose to toss the chicken from the broken jar. That makes me feel better! Sheri (Claygirl)