Saturday, October 10, 2009

Pantry Gold.......

You may wonder what this means. Well, it is the term that the LRH's sister uses for canned meat. Many of you have said that canned meat costs so much money....and you are correct. However, consider the following option.......canning your own meat.

"Are you kidding!!!!" (I can already hear you say it.....loudly!). No, I really am not. I first learned about canning your own meat when I lived in the Northwest. I couldn't think of anything I didn't want to do more at that time.....because I was so cool and had a reputation to think of (or so I thought). However, a wonderful friend named Marilou Hutchison (who has since passed away), kindly showed me how to do this....and it was really easy. I am indebted to her kindness and patience when she taught me how to do this. And, my family has benefitted greatly from her instruction over the years.

Some folks say, "It probably costs too much to do that....and it's gross to touch raw meat". Well, if it is less expensive to buy it canned....then do it. If you don't want to touch it....use gloves (I do!). Let's see how much it costs per ounce to can the chicken I did today:

First of all, I bought boneless, skinless chicken breasts for $1.38 a pound, which works out to be about 9 cents an ounce. Compare that with the Hormel brand of White and Dark Turkey in water (5 ounce can) at 31 Cents per ounce. That is a 290% mark-up in price.

Also, please know that this is so very simple to do....and when I do show others how to do it....they often say "Is that all there is to it?". The answer is an overwhelming..."Yes".

So, let's take a pictorial tour of canning chicken.

First, cut up your chicken into chunks. If there is any fat, please remove it. With these chicken breasts, there was hardly any......I really lucked out! Notice that I am using gloves....not only to be hygienic....but also because I really don't like to touch raw meat. It took me about 10-15 minutes to cut up enough chicken to put into 8 pint jars.

Place the pieces in sterilized bottles. Here I am using Pint jars. I sometimes use half-pints because that is about 1 cup.

You can add seasonings if you wish. I choose to add some salt. If you have issues with sodium, you could add herbs or nothing at all.

Add broth, or hot water.

Be sure to get all the air bubbles out. Some advocate a plastic spatula, I use a knife to do this. Just make sure you get the air bubbles out. After this step, you sometimes have to add more liquid.

Wipe the rims with a clean cloth to prepare the jar for a sterilized lid.

Put the lid and clean rings on the jar. Prepare to place the filled jars in a PRESSURE cannot do this in a Hot water bath canner or a Steam canner. The pressure is required to heat the food hot enough to kill bacteria etc.

Place the jars in your canner. Now, how long do you process it? According to the Ball Blue Book of Preserving (copyright 2006), it states the following: "For boned meat (i.e. no bones) process pints 1 hour and 15 minutes, quarts 1 hour and 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure in a steam pressure canner". However, this recommended "pressure" is for an altitude of 0-1000 feet. I live up in the mountains. Therefore, according to the same source, I would adjust the weight to 15 pounds with a weighted gauge (which is what I have) or 13 pounds if I had a dial gauge.

It is very important to let the Pressure Cooker cool naturally, you cannot use the quick-cooling process as this food is a protein. After the canner is cool, remove the jars. When I took my jars out of the canner, they were still boiling inside. Here is what they look like:

This is the "Pantry Gold" that my sister was referring to. If you have ever lived off your food storage, meats become very precious to you. I have frozen meat, freeze-dried meat, and canned meat. If one method fails, I have 2 other methods available to me to feed my family. Using only pint jars, the 40 lbs yields about 40 pints.

I realize it is not the ordinary canning most people are familiar with, but think of the money savings you could enjoy. I bought 40 lbs of chicken ($1.38/pound) at a total cost of $55.20. If I were to purchase 40 lbs of the Hormel canned chicken, I would have to spend $198.00. That is a savings of $143.20! An additional cost would be the lids, but if you have the bottles and the canner, this is a very realistic savings. Heaven's you could even buy a canner with at the savings you could get just from this example alone. Even if you had to purchase the bottles at ~$9.00 a box, the savings would be $116.20..

Just an FYI, you are able to can most meats raw, but not all. For example, you must cook hamburger and rinse it first. Check with the USDA guidelines or a source like the Ball Blue Book of Preserving for more information. The USDA guidelines can be found at the following link:

If you are wondering how to use them, they are very versatile. They can be used in soups, sandwiches (think of chicken salad sandwiches), and casseroles. Make it a goal to try this.....soon.

Get your own "Pantry gold" for your family.


Gayle Lambert said...

Thanks Carin for the update. I've done this before, but forgot about it and it was a good refresher for me.

The Little Red Hen said...

Wow, I am open to any pointers that you may have. Thanks for leaving your comment.

Anonymous said...

A nice easy tip is to---partially freeze the chicken breasts frst, then they are so much easier to cut up. Less slippeage and less cut fingers. :-)

Darla White

Laura Macklem said...

I just got a pressure canner, and I'm so excited! I was wondering, does the chicken cook in jar while pressure canning? Wasn't sure if you end up with canned raw chicken, or cooked canned chicken. Thank you!

The Little Red Hen said...


Your chicken will be cooked after pressuring. This is what makes it so convenient. Enjoy your new Pressure's a wonderful thing!

Holly said...

I've been canning chicken and meat for almost 15 years now. I've never added any water to the makes it's own broth while cooking. I've also done raw hamburger the same liquid. I add 1/2 tsp garlic salt to each pint of meat...I like the flavor it gives. I can meat 2-3 times a year...whenever it's on sale. We love it! Have many friends who now can meat too!

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