When boneless chicken breasts go on sale for $1.79 a pound, I’ve been known to buy 30 pounds. It may sound crazy, but it’s just good home economics. I do many different things with this chicken – – I freeze uncooked in a variety of marinades, I grill and freeze, and I make shredded chicken burritos as a make-ahead meal. My latest discovery in using my sale chicken is canning.
Let me first say that canned chicken is no thing of beauty. Frankly, it looks like a science experiment in the jar, before and after its processed. (Once you open it, just looks like regular chicken – – in the jar, it reminds of something you would see in a mad scientist lab.) However, canned chicken makes the most tender, moist chicken you will ever eat, and my 10 year-old begs me to pop open cans of it for sandwiches. Having canned chicken means you have instant, high quality, low-fat protein to go with lunch or dinner. This also makes for great emergency food.
Canning chicken is the easiest thing I’ve ever canned by far. No need to precook or add any liquid unless you desire. (Since this article has been published, I’ve decided I like adding chicken broth to the jars.) Heck, you don’t even need to sterilize the jars, because it processes so long. Here’s how you can chicken:
Cut chicken in big chunks, or put large pieces in pint canning jars. One pound will fill one pint. If desired, add 1/2 teaspoon of salt and broth. Leave one inch headspace.
Secure with new canning lid, and a ring. Process for 75 minutes, following the instructions of your pressure canner.
The chicken will make its own liquid, which can be used in soup or other recipes. We often make chicken curry salad with our canned chicken. There’s no need to heat the chicken up before serving — it’s shelf stable and ready-to-eat! Add this to your list of homemade convenience foods next time chicken goes on sale – – you won’t be sorry.