Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This post is about canning chicken.
There is nothing eloquent or exciting (for most) about canning chicken. As a matter of fact, it is messy and gross, but it is fabulous. However, because it is messy, gross, far from eloquent, and still fabulous, this post is going to be more entertaining than educational. Don't misunderstand, you may learn many things and indeed feel educated, but if you are looking for specific and detailed direction just jump right down to the bottom and look for the link to the blog "Food Storage and beyond".

If you're looking for a good read, you have my permission to continue on...

About a month ago my friend Liz sent an email about the "chicken event" with Zaycon Foods.
Being the personally prepared individual that I am and wanting to continue following the council of our Church leaders I jumped right in.

(Zaycon Foods sells hormone free chicken, in bulk, at a fraction of the cost of what you can buy at the grocery store.)

My sister Kelly and I decided to order one 40lb box of chicken each and on a bright & beautiful Saturday morning in January I made my way to the pickup spot only a few miles from my house. This is what I found:
Yes, I found a man and a box truck full of chicken in a church parking lot.
The man was nice, the process was simple and I was literally there for about 5 minutes.
He put a plastic bag down to protect my seats and loaded both boxes into my Cruze for me.

"The chicken has been captured" was the text to Kelly when the produce had been collected.
I know, I'm funny like that.
I do wish there had been a (handsome) man waiting at my apartment when I returned, because do you know what it feels like to carry a 40lb box of chicken down a flight of stairs?


Or maybe this...
But I managed on my own and the chicken made it safely inside without any unforeseen droppage. Once inside I was so curious to open the box, I had no idea what to expect.

Big was CHICKEN!
I went right to work cutting the chicken breasts apart and fitting every last piece into the jars I had cleaned the previous day.

* Side note: speaking to the quality of Zaycon Foods chicken, I was super impressed. The breasts were enormous and not very fatty at all. Very comparable to what you might find at a pricey grocery store but generally just looked better (it was fresh, not frozen) and larger (so much larger.)

Here we go...first batch in the pressure canner:
Thank goodness I have such an amazing family. My brother Levi came over as my first batch was processing (90 minutes in the canner) and brought his pressure canner with him! It cut my time in half, it was wonderful.
Yes, my kitchen is messy (I told you that canning chicken is not glamorous) but look at my cute antique cast-iron cornbread pans hanging on the wall.

Chicken processing and waiting...
First batch of chicken after it had processed.

I believe this was also the last batch that was processed in my canner, as the pressure would not hold and Levi assures me I need to replace my gasket.

A little semi-final product cooling and popping:

All in all it was a huge success. I canned every ounce of my 40lb box of chicken and Kelly froze all of hers. If I had a deep freeze and a generator I would probably have frozen most of mine, but canning works. Only three of my 52 jars of chicken did not seal and they are hanging out in my freezer waiting for me to have another reason to cook dinner.

Yes, it was a long day but it was a great day and I felt super productive. After my canner wouldn't hold any pressure I was back to only one which just extended the time I was in the kitchen, or at least stuck at home watching the pressure build and timer tick down.

I know, you're all wondering how a wonderful single gal like me with such a wide range of talents can stay single...oh, it's tough, but I manage. Who am I kidding, any guy would be lucky to have me...I am amazing, even if I'm the only one who thinks so.

Now, if you're wanting much more detailed instructions on how to can chicken, here is my sister Anne's phone number: ###-###-####
Yeah, she would kill me!

If you know Anne, call her, she is amazing but you know her so you know this.
If you don't know Anne then visit the blog "Food Storage and beyond" HERE for the direct link to her detailed instructions.

I'm not sure what is next on my list but don't come knocking on my door when you run out of food, or the roads are iced over and trucks can't make it to restock the grocery store shelves (hello Ice-lanta 2011). Or heck, come on over...I'd love some company!

Thanks for reading, now leave a comment already!


Landlocked Shores said...

Awesome! Love that Levi brought over his canner to help out!!!

Melissa said...

Ok I seriously didn't know you could can/bottle chicken. To be honest, it scares me. I am kind of freakish over meat/poultry - yes, I have issues.

LOVE the old fashioned cornbread thingies. I grew up with those.

And btw... you are awesome. And any guy would be L-U-C-K-Y to get you :)


Alison said...

I think you're awesome.

Charisse Baxter said...

You're a food-storage rock star. (I would know.) If you want any tips or suggestions or have any questions, you should call or email my mom - did you know you can bottle BUTTER in addition to chicken and beef? True story.