In this episode, Kathy and guest, Peggy Gaudet discuss how to can chicken broth using a pressure canner.
They also discuss how they got started raising chickens and when they started raising meat chickens. Peggy explains her process for making 50 quarts of chicken broth.
Play the episode
Find the complete recipe for Canning Chicken Broth
Recipes mentioned in this podcast:
- How to make Chicken Broth
- Chicken Enchiladas
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Salad
- How to use a Pressure Canner
Other resources mentioned:
- Food, Inc. - documentary
- Outdoor Propane Stove
- Large Stock Pots
- Freedom Ranger or Red Ranger Chickens - available from several different on-line hatcheries. These are a slower growing chicken that are proportional in size, unlike many quick growing varieties that are bred for larger breast meat.
In this episode you'll learn:
- How to can chicken broth
- Process for making large quantities of broth
- How to process canned chicken broth in a pressure canner
- How to store canned chicken broth
- Some ideas for using chicken broth
Where to listen to the podcast
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Canning Chicken Broth
Kathy: Welcome to Preserving the Pantry where I talk about everything related to food preserving. I am your host, Kathy Berget
Hi and welcome back to the pantry. We have a special guest with us today. Peggy Gaudet. Peggy is a third-grade teacher who lives at an old farmhouse where she loves to garden, raise chickens, and can food. Peggy is going to be talking about canning chicken broth today. Peggy, welcome to the podcast.
Peggy: Thank you, Kathy. It's so lovely to be here.
Kathy: Thanks. Full disclosure. Peggy is my sister and she actually just lives down the hill from me, although it is quite a walk. We would have to if we were to actually walk, it would have to go through the pasture where the cows are and down a really steep hill. So we typically drive around and Peggy lives in the farmhouse that our grandfather built back in the 1940s.
All right, Peggy, why don't you tell us a little bit about how you got started raising chickens?
Peggy: Well, I have you to thank for that because it was my birthday. and you surprised me with four hens and you had already been raising chickens for a few years. And so you thought that would be a great thing, a great birthday gift.
And at the time I kind of just went, oh, okay. Thank you. But it turned out they. Such wonderful pets. Our egg layers, we keep as pets. And so it was so much fun. We started with four and just got eggs every day. We were able to expand from the four to, you know, 20, 25 egg layers and get a lot, a lot of eggs.
So yeah, it turned into from the birthday gift to we've had egg layers now for about 10 years.
Kathy: Wow. Yep. Nothing like me to give a great birthday gift!
Peggy: that is true. That was great.
Kathy: All right so then you still have egg layers now, but at somewhere in this, you, both of us got started with raising some meat chickens as well.
Why don't you tell me about how that got started?
Peggy: Yeah, so egg layers we probably had for maybe three or four years. And then we both did, we both decided to start doing some meat, chickens, and raising those, um, for butchering and then eating throughout the year. And it all started with me. I was watching a documentary called the Food Ink and it just really hit a chord about how our food was being raised.
I remember I had been a vegetarian for about 12 years and still newly back to eating meat. And I really wanted my food, I wanted to know where my food came from and how it was raised and what was going into it. So after seeing that and how chickens were processed in huge chicken farms, I decided I wanted to do our own chickens.
And so I think we got together and that first year, I think we ordered a hundred chickens. I think you took 50 and I took 50, mine were for, me and my husband and my mom and my brother. And then you had 50 for your kids. And I remember thinking, oh my gosh, 50 chickens. That's so many, but we ended up, um, just getting them in the late spring and then raising them and then butchering them and putting them in our freezer.
Kathy: I also remember we didn't have any experience with butchering chickens. And so that was a whole learning curve and our meat chickens were a slower growing meat chicken. I want to say there was about 12 weeks for them to grow from start to finish.
Peggy: Yeah, there are some faster-growing ones, but I don't like those.
I want them to be the slow growing ones. So about 12. Yeah. 12 to, yeah, 13 weeks.
Kathy: Mm-hmm so we did that several years together. And then and the whole butchering experience, like I said, was a process. We kind of made it fun. We got together. Did it outside in a cool shady area. And we invited all of our friends and family over and thought it was a great
Yay! Come to our house for a butchering party.
Peggy: Yes, we needed all the help we could get. And you're right. We didn't really know much about butchering chickens. I think your husband, Rod probably was the expert. And so my job I remember was plucking the feathers. Someone did the butchering, and then you would dump it in the hot water to get the feathers off.
And then my job was the plucking. And so we did that a couple years and that, that was hard. Actually. I think the hardest part still the hardest part is getting the chickens, like physically getting them and putting them to where you need them to be. Like, we used to just let them roam in with our egg layers, which is a huge, huge coop.
So it was hard to chase them around and grab, you know, and get them by the legs and put them in the pickup truck to bring to you. So to me, that's still the hardest part is physically getting the chickens into the car and taking them to get butchered and taking them there.
Kathy: Yeah, that is hard.
And we have gotten away from raising meat, chickens, ourselves. It got to a point where we just had too much going on. Kids got to a certain age and you needed to dedicate enough time. And then also just being here to make sure that they were well watered and fed but you have continued on with raising the meat chickens, and now you take your birds to be processed with a local person who has a similar process to what we did, where it's just a small batch. Uh, it's not in a factory or anything like that. Does she do hers outside?
Peggy: Yes. We bring our chickens in the night before, and then they are up at 4, 4:30 and butchering, and I think we've brought our highest number we've brought her was a hundred chickens.
And so that will probably take her about four hours and it's her and her daughter help. And then we go back and pick 'em up and they're, she has them sitting in garbage bags in ice cold water. And then we just put them into our coolers, bring them home. And then for us immediately, we start chopping them up.
We like to save our meat, chickens in different packages. We cut them all up. So we package them with thighs and, legs and then the breast in a separate one. And then the chicken wings and a separate one. I love taking them to our local butcher because the whole butchering process was a little too much.
Um, and the smell from butchering chickens from their wet feathers. That was the hardest part for me to, to get over. So it, I will gladly pay. I think for us now the cost of taking him to the butcher is about $4 a bird, but it's, it's well worth it.
Kathy: So you, you pay for the cost of the bird, the feed, and then you're paying for the butcher.
It's still probably cheaper for an organically raised bird than you would purchase at the store.
Peggy: Yes, I used to really keep track of the cost. And I would say it's probably about anywhere between 15 to $20 a bird. About the time that it takes to, uh, take care of the chickens like you have to put in and it is, you know, you do have to feed 'em, um, in the morning and in the evening, make sure they have enough water.
And make sure they have enough room to run around. And last time I remember it was really, really hot. So we, we always have a shade over the top of them for two reasons. One so the Hawks can't get in when they're little and then to keep them a little colder, but we ended up setting up like a misting system with the fan blowing in just to keep them cool when it was really, really hot.
So you do have to be there and be prepared to take care of them, but it's. 12 week window. We try to get ours the 1st of April, sometime in April. So then they're ready to butcher by mid-July.
Kathy: Okay. And I recall too, it seems like the birds were much bigger. Normally we would be at about eight pound birds where sometimes in the store, it seems like you're getting smaller.
And, and I know we had a range within there too. So you get your birds home, you cut them all up. You freeze them. And you make chicken broth. So that's what we're talking about today is that chicken broth. And you tell me first about how many quarts do you can a year.
Peggy: Well, it does depend on how many chickens you have. Last year we did about 50 chickens. So we got about 50 quarts last year. We take the backs and my husband will grill them. So they're cooked. And then we put 'em into huge stock pots, two huge stock pots and just boil that down all day. All night even.
Then it's ready to, can probably about 12 to 15 hours later. So you could plan to get about one quart per bird
Kathy: Oh, okay. That's a good estimate number. And you typically can in quarts or do you do pints as well?
Peggy: I do quarts. Yeah, that's the size I'm gonna be using.
You could do it in pints just depending if you need like a one or two cup, but typically what we always make, you know, beans or even rice or chicken soup, anything you need. If I always use that, uh, quart size, if not more. Okay.
Kathy: Well, and I think you'd be canning forever. If you did pints with the amount that you're doing, you would be making.
So Peggy, do you cook your stock outside when you're cooking that? Or are you inside?
Peggy: Yes, we do. We take it outside. We have a big two burner propane grill that's made just for boiling. So we keep our stock pots on the two burners and set it up. So it boils through the night.
Where I live, there's quite a breeze that comes down the mountain. So we have to make sure that the propane, the flame is protected. I usually try to check it a couple times a night to make sure that it's still going and still boiling. It'll take us about a day and a half to do all of that chicken broth.
So two huge stock pots boiling for 10 or 12 to 15 hours. And then you can, can those, then you get the next ones going. And the next ones, I think I put about eight backs in each stockpot.
Kathy: Wow. Okay. And are you adding anything else to that? Stockpot like carrots and onions.
Peggy: mm-hmm yeah. So I like to add some vegetables. And so I'll start collecting like my celery tops or anytime I have any extra carrots or anything, I just throw in the freezer and then you can pull 'em out and just add 'em right to your stockpot.
Kathy: And you're doing an outside because this is mid-July and it gets very hot. That's a lot of heat in your kitchen year in an old farmhouse that doesn't have air conditioning.
Peggy: Yes. Especially all day. I mean, all day during the day, your house would heat up, it would be really hot. So mm-hmm, putting it outside and outside at night.
Kathy: Okay. All right. So then once you get the pot first pot done, then you start your canning process.
Are you saving the meat or anything from there? Yes.
Peggy: Yeah. So I usually save it. It's funny in the beginning, I'm like, oh, there's all this extra meat. So I save it, I strain it through. And then I pick through the meat. You have to be very careful though, because there's a lot of little bones and so I usually pick through it with my fingers and kind of shred.
So it's perfect for chicken salad, you could make chicken tacos or fajitas with it. Uh, put it in enchiladas. Yes, but by the time the fourth or fifth batch stockpot comes through, we've had so much chicken.
Kathy: Okay, so your chicken broth is all done. Now you've cooked that down. You've you've strained it off. So that's just the pure broth and you've saved that meat discarded the vegetables, and you're ready to start canning. I'm going to talk about the process for canning chicken stock. For those who don't know how the process works.
So you're going to fill your canning jars with the chicken stock. It should be hot and your jars should be nice and hot as well. You're going to leave one inch of headspace from the top. Wipe down your jars (rims) with a clean cloth and place the lid and the rings on tight. Just finger, tighten them don't over tighten them.
Place your jars in your pressure canner with at least two inches of simmering water. Now this may vary depending on your pressure canner so you want to look at the specific directions for your canner.
Repeat within remaining jars until your pressure canner is filled. Put the lid on and lock it into place, and then turn your heat up to medium high heat.
Make certain that the vent cover is off at this point. Once the steam begins to vent in a consistent stream time for set the timer for 10 minutes and let that steam come out for a full 10 minutes. After the 10 minutes, put the vent cover on the steam and your pressure will begin to rise. You'll want to keep a close eye on that pressure.
And you're looking to bring the pressure up to 10 pounds of pressure. Now this is going to vary depending on your elevation. So we are at about 2000 feet in elevation. And so we have to set our pressure to 12 pounds of pressure. It's going to be depend on exactly where you live. And I have a chart in my blog that it shows you how you'll be adjusting the pressure for your elevation.
You're going to process your pint jars for 20 minutes or quart jars, like you are doing Peggy for 25 minutes. When that 25 minutes is up, you're going to turn your heat off, but keep the lid and the steam vent cover in place until the pressure completely returns to zero. Then you'll carefully remove the vent cover.
I wait for another five minutes and then remove the lid. Then let the jar stay in the, hot water in the canner for another 10 minutes. This helps make certain that we don't have siphoning, which is that liquid starting to come out of the jars and then use your jar lifter and place it on a cooling rack with a little bit of space between each jar.
Don't tighten or remove the bands and don't touch the lids. You want these jars to completely cool, which is at least 12 hours before they're completely cool. Then you'll remove the bands, check the seals and wash your jars. So in case there's any residue on the outside, label them with the dates and, and contents in the jars, and then you store them in your pantry and they are good for one to two years.
Peggy: Yes. The hardest part about canning is waiting for the jars to completely cool. Sometimes I want to go over and test the lids to make sure they've popped, or I'm doing another batch and I want to move those over and start washing them and putting them down into my pantry. So being patient part that's the hardest part.
Kathy: You are right!
The reason you don't want to touch the jars at all is because as they're cooling, those, that seal has not fully formed and you don't wanna do anything to disrupt that seal or to cause a false seal. If you have a jar that didn't seal, you can just put that in your refrigerator or into your freezer and then use that right away.
Peggy: One thing I always do is check the lid. Because my chicken broth is about a year now, so I always check the lid to make sure it doesn't move up and down that it still has that firm seal. And you can see too inside. I have had a couple cans of peaches that didn't seal all the way and you don't realize it until half a year later, but you can clearly see that what's inside is no longer good.
Kathy: Yeah, that that's really important to just double check your contents before you use them. If there anything seems off at all, you going to discard those contents. In home canning, there are some risk involved. However, the risks are small. If you're taking all the precautions and then just checking, and I have a full list of things to check before you use your home canned goods and that's on my website and I'll include links to this recipe as well.
The other recipes we've talked about in the show notes page, as well as it'll be linked to the description of this podcast. Peggy, is there anything else that we forgot to talk about with canning chicken?
Peggy: I think we covered it all. I love it when my pantry is full of all my canned goods. I love looking at it.
And it's just a great feeling, knowing that you're going into the fall and winter stocked up and I keep my pantry is in the basement. And so just running down to the basement and getting chicken broth or beans or corn or apple sauce. It's, it's really a good feeling to know you have.
Kathy: It is a great feeling that you're stocked up and it's stuff that you have grown and raised and, and processed.
Peggy: Absolutely. Yes.
Kathy: That's it for today for canning chicken broth. Peggy, thank you so much for joining us today. I really appreciate that you were here.
Peggy: You are welcome. This was a lot of fun. Thank you for having me!
Kathy: Thank you. All right, everyone. We will see you in the Pantry. Thanks and goodbye.
Thanks for listening and be sure to tune in again next week. For more episodes of Preserving the Pantry.