Most people love turkey and gravy, but don’t get it but a couple times a year. However, with the nifty science of canning and also leftover turkey, you can enjoy it all year right from your shelf.
We have turkey and stuffing for both Thanksgiving and Christmas. I’m willing to have a different meal for Christmas, but my family just really wants turkey for both occasions, although I do change up the side dishes. So at the year’s end, we have a lot of turkey to eat. It’s always been my feeling that roasted turkey can get gamey if it isn’t dealt with within a few days. I’ve always used it in soup, casseroles, and the dishes everyone else makes for Thanksgiving leftovers. Our favorite way to eat turkey is with gravy and mashed potatoes, so I decided to can the turkey in gravy for quick dinners.
This isn’t just delicious, but it’s very thrifty. I make turkey stock from the carcass in my pressure canner, then use that stock to make gravy for canning. I use Clear-Jel for my canned gravy, a thickener which performs well in canning. I know Clear-Jel is approved for canning pie filling, but the USDA has not tested it with other recipes, so consider this a rebel canning method. My reasoning was Clear-Jel is safe with thick pie filling and only water bathing, so I feel good about a thinner gravy being pressure canned for 90 minutes. I’ve been doing this for a few years, and it works great, but you have to make your own decision.
Some might ask why not can the turkey in stock and thicken it upon opening. You can certainly do that, but the gravy seems to protect the quality of the turkey as opposed to just broth. I just like it better, and I don’t have to thicken when opening.
Use your frozen vacuum sealed mashed potatoes, pop open a jar of homemade cranberry sauce, turkey and gravy for a Thanksgiving-like dinner any night of the year with no mess.
Home Canned Turkey and Gravy
Yield 6 Quarts
12 cups turkey stock, seasoned to your liking (gravy needs plenty of black pepper)
Enough turkey to fill 6 quart jars, three quarters of the way
1/2 cup plus 2 TBSP of Clear-Jel
Warm turkey stock and add 6 cups to a pot. Do not boil.
Wisk Clear-Jel into warm broth and stir to combine.
Add remaining 6 cups of warm stock. Bring to a boil, and let cook for 3 1/2 minutes or until thick. Adding too much Clear-Jel can change the flavor, so I leave this a thinner gravy. However, if you do want a little more thickener make a thin slurry (Clear-Jel mixed with water) and add to mixture. If you add just the Clear-Jel, it will make balls of the thickener and will not incorporate.
Fill quart jars 3/4 of the way with turkey. Add gravy to jars, leaving one inch head space.
Pressure can quarts for 90 minutes, and pints for 75 minutes according to your canner;s instructions and elevation.