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How to Pressure Can Chicken Broth

How to pressure can chicken broth.

One of the easiest foods to pressure can is broth, and since it's so easy to make, it's a great first project if you've never used a pressure canner before.

Canning low-acid foods such as broth or stock requires a pressure canner. Fruits and fruit preserves such as jams and jellies are about the only foods you can safely can with a water-bath canner. Tomatoes can also be water-bathed if you add a bit of acid such as lemon juice. Pickles are acidic so they are safe to water-bath can. Everything else has to be pressure-canned.

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I was nervous about using my pressure canner for a long time. I finally took a class put on by my county extension office to gain some confidence before trying it on my own. I still held my breath when I used it for the first time, but the class gave me the courage to make that first effort.

Are you afraid or nervous about using your pressure canner too? We've all heard those stories about canners exploding and spewing hot food on the kitchen ceiling, right? You might even know someone who had one of these accidents - I do. It's scary!

I'm here to reassure you that it isn't hard, and as long as you follow the rules - especially the rule about letting your canner cool down naturally and completely before you attempt to open the lid - you'll be just fine. It gets easier with practice too, so the more you use it, the more comfortable you will be.

Are you ready to give it a try? For the purpose of this tutorial I'm going to can some chicken broth. If you'd like to know how I make chicken broth for free, you can click here for a guest post I wrote for Summer's Acres some time ago.

The process is the same no matter what you're pressure canning: once you've prepared your food and put it in the jars, the only difference is the time the jars must spend in the canner. Your recipe will tell you how long that will take, or you can use this guide from the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

First, assemble your equipment:

The tools you need to pressure can.

Jar lifter (affiliate link) 
canning funnel (affiliate link) 
tongs or a magnetic lid lifter (affiliate link) to take lids out of hot water

Warm up the canning lids.

New lids, kept in warm water to soften the rubber. Do not re-use lids.

Keep the canning jars warm until ready to fill.

Jars, clean and kept in hot water until ready to fill.

Canning rings, or bands.

Rings, also called bands. While you can't re-use lids, you can re-use the metal bands.

Pressure canner

Pressure canner. I use this 23-quart Presto pressure canner (affiliate link) and love it.

Now, let's get down to the nitty-gritty of pressure canning.

Heat the broth to boiling.

Heat the broth. Since I make broth one day, and can it the next, I put it in a clean stockpot and bring to a boil before starting the canning process. (Why does it take two days? It doesn't have to, but I prefer to break a large job down into two days; it's easier on my back. I refrigerate the broth overnight and in the morning I can remove the solidified fat off the top of the containers, which is a nice side-benefit.)

You're less likely to break jars by adding hot broth to hot jars that are then placed in hot water in your pressure canner. I prepare my clean jars and keep them in a sink full of hot water until I'm ready to fill them. And I've heated up my broth in the previous step, so it's ready to go in the jars now.

Add the recommended amount of water to your pressure canner.

Add the recommended amount of water to your pressure canner (check the instruction booklet). Mine uses 3 quarts of hot water, so I fill a quart jar three times and add to the canner. I also add two tablespoons of white vinegar to help prevent mineral deposits on the jars.

Fill jars, leaving one inch of headspace.

Check your empty jars for nicks or sharp edges on the rims. Using your canning funnel, fill your jars leaving one inch of headspace (the amount of space between the food and the top of the glass jar).

Wipe the rim of the jars with a damp rag.

Use a damp rag to wipe the rim of the filled jar. This removes any food or grease that might have splashed and would prevent the jar from sealing.

Place a warm lid on the jar.

Using tongs or a lid magnet, remove a lid from the warm water and place on the jar.

Tighten the ring until it's finger tight, but don't over-tighten.

Add the ring and tighten just until it's finger tight; do not over-tighten.

Use a jar lifter to put the jars in the canner.

The jars are hot, so use your jar lifter to pick up a jar and place it carefully in the canner. Try not to bang the jar against the side of the canner or against another jar, to avoid the chance of breakage.

Bring the canner up to pressure.

Following the directions for your canner, close the canner and bring the temperature up. Steam will begin to flow from the vent pipe. After letting the steam vent for ten minutes, add the pressure regulator and wait for the dial gauge to register the correct amount of pressure.

Bring the canner up to pressure.

When the pressure is reached, begin timing. Pints of broth require twenty minutes at eleven pounds of pressure at my altitude. I seem to always have the pressure higher than needed, but as long as it doesn't go below eleven pounds, it's ok.

When the timer tells me my broth is done, I turn off the heat and move the canner carefully off the burner. It's hot and it's heavy, so be very careful! DO NOT take the top off or try to hurry the cooling-down process in any way. Let the canner cool down naturally. The air vent/cover lock will eventually drop down, and you can then remove the pressure regulator. Wait another ten minutes after removing the pressure regulator before you remove the lid of the canner.

Let the air vent/cover lock drop down.

When you open the lid, be sure to lift the side farthest from your face first so that any steam will be directed away from you. Set the lid aside and use the jar lifter to carefully lift each jar straight up - do not tilt them - and place on a padded surface such as a towel-covered counter.

Let jars rest undisturbed for 24 hours.

The jars are still VERY hot. Do not bump them on anything. Let them rest undisturbed for 24 hours.

Test the lids after 24 hours to make sure they've sealed.

After 24 hours, test the lids to see if they've sealed. If one "bounces" up and down, it did not seal, and you need to either use it or put the contents into the freezer; you cannot store it on a shelf if the jar did not seal correctly. You can process it again in your pressure canner, but you must replace the lid with another new one.

How to pressure can chicken broth.

Wipe down the outside of the sealed jars to remove any residue. Remove the rings for storage, label, move to your storage area, and admire your hard work. Good job!

The first time is the hardest, and from now on you'll feel more comfortable using your pressure canner. From now on, the sky is the limit, right?

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Related posts:

Pressure canners - are you nervous about using yours? This tutorial shows you how to pressure-can chicken broth.

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  1. Kathy you always do a great job with your step-step instructions. Kudos to you!

  2. Thank you, Tracy. That's sweet of you to say!

  3. Very good tutorial. Thanks for sharing on the Homestead Blog Hop.

  4. This is one of the things I keep meaning to do. We use so much chicken broth and for some reason I keep buying it in the store when I have chicken backs in the freezer waiting to be made into stock. Crazy. LOL

    I'm stopping by from the Homestead Blog Hop. I've chosen your post to be one of this week's features. Please feel free to grab a Featured button to add to your post. http://www.notsomodern.com/homestead-blog-hop-46.html/

  5. Bonnie, thank you so much for featuring my post. I hope you'll give this a try, chicken broth is so easy to make plus you already have the chicken backs in your freezer. ;-) It's one of the easier things to pressure can too, if you're new to the process. Good luck!

  6. There is nothing like having jars of homemade chicken broth in the pantry! We also enjoy beef broth. Thank you for sharing this on the Art of Home-Making Mondays! :)

  7. Homemade Chicken Broth is so lovely - and so nutritious too! This is an excellent tutorial. Pinning! Thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Hop, Kathi!

  8. Thank you, April!

  9. I just made a batch of chicken broth---we had to cull a rooster, so he ended up in the pot. I've never canned it before, because I'm scared. Yep. I admit it. I have two pressure canners, one electric, and one for the stove top. You did a great job going over the steps, and I love the pictures too. Great tips! I may just give this a try! We've already used all but one of the quarts of broth, so I'll have to wait until another chicken is ready to go. Thank you! I'll be sharing your article and using for future reference!

    1. Thank you for sharing it, Heidi! I'm glad it looks helpful, and I hope it IS helpful when you are brave enough to try for the first time. I'm here holding your hand!

  10. Thank you for this tutorial. Hubby turned a pressure canner into brewing equipment, so I've seen them, but never used them. It doesn't seem so scary now. Thanks for sharing on the #WasteLessWednesday. blog hop!.

    1. Once they're familiar they aren't as scary, so you have a headstart.

  11. I often break a big job into two days. I think you're very smart.

    1. It's nice to know I'm not the only one who does this, Michele, thank you for sharing that you do it too.


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