Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pressure Canners Still Scare Me

Last night I roasted a chicken for dinner so, as usual, made chicken stock from the bones. Because it was really late, I put the stock in the fridge, saved the meat that came off the bones, and planned to make soup today. First of all, I had to get the pressure canner out and buy new jars. I found that stock in wide mouth jars doesn't really do well - it leaks out all over the canner and makes a mess which is difficult to clean. But maybe it's that the past few times I used the pressure canner, I forgot to let it vent for 10 minutes before putting the little weight on. Anyway, I bought the regular mouth pint jars for the stock. See how big the canner is?


The next step was reheating the stock and putting it in the jars. I had just enough to make 4 pints of stock, which are sitting in the canner in 1.5 inches of water. Then the top goes on. My canner does not have a rubber gasket. It's milled for a perfect fit. The screws are applied 2 at a time, on opposite sides (see below), until it's tight. Then it's heated and when the steam starts to come out, vented for 10 minutes (the step I always forget) and then the weight goes on. 10 pounds. Adjusting the heat to keep it at 10 pounds without a lot of rattling of the weight takes time. The stock was processed for 20 minutes, then I turned off the burner. When the pressure went down to zero, I took the lid off, removed the jars, and then replaced them with the jars of soup and started the process again.For the soup, I took the fat off the stock before I heated it up, and used it to saute leeks, celery, and onions. I added water, carrots, and the chicken meat I'd saved from yesterday, plus salt, pepper, and thyme. This simmered for about 2 hours. It made 2.5 quarts. These were processed for 90 minutes and removed when the pressure dropped back to zero.


6 comments:

  1. How complicated! At least it seems so. I made soup over the weekend, but I (gasp!) used store-bought chicken broth.

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  2. I used to store the broth in plastic bags in the freezer. But I have limited freezer space and it's nice to not have to wait for the broth to thaw. But it's not that complicated to make the broth and store it frozen.

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  3. Pressure canners scare me too. I've only canned beef in them...and then only when my dad was around because he used to make it many years ago. He doesn't seem to have the fear of pressure cookers like I do! Ever try canned beef? It's a beautiful thing! :-) There's nothing better on a cold winter's night with some mashed potatoes.

    Your blog is already inspiring me to try to be more creative in my canning. Maybe I'll try some soups in the pressure cooker!

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  4. Hi Donna - Came across your site because I made a couple of mistakes today canning stock and was looking for answers...

    1. I completely forgot to let the canner vent for 10 minutes before adding the weight.

    2. I did not hot pack the broth.

    Do you think I need to start over? They all sealed.

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    1. Considering that I've forgotten to vent it on more than one occasion, I think you're ok there.

      As far as the hot pack part goes, the reason you need to worry about that isn't the canning process itself but just to the jars don't break by too much of a temperature swing. I think if you processed for the recommended time and your jars didn't break, you're good to go. But if you're not sure, always err on the side of caution!

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  5. Soups and stews are among the easiest recipes to make in a pressure cooker. Start by sautéing the vegetables and perhaps browning the meats, add liquid and seasonings and bring to pressure. Pretty simple.MelissaBarajas

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