Date: 29 September 2015. Canning 10
Pounds of Chicken.
due to life, followed by bandwidth issues. I'll be adding to my
bandwidth starting in October. As for Life aboard Seaweed, it's been
incredibly busy, and productive. More about that in upcoming
Of late the
grocery stores have been having sales on chicken. At 49 cents per
pound in ten pound bags, that's quite a deal. Of course I could
never eat that much before it would spoil. Thus, I broke out the
crock pot and pressure cooker, canning the chicken leg quarters into
meal sized jars. Here's how I did it.
on the lookout for bargain chicken. The ten pound bags do go on sale
every couple months so when you get the opportunity, stock up. I
ended up buying six bags over the space of a week, canning one ten
pound bag per day.
couple bags frankly were a pain in the posterior. It took experimentation
to get it down to a science, and I think I'm there now. The final
four bags were a breeze. Today's lesson will cover what I did wrong
at the beginning along with the improved version.
meats is not about saving
money. It is about quality of product.
the half-century mark and goodness knows I don't need any more
fat in my system. The canned meats you buy at the grocery or
dollar store tend to be very high in sodium (aka salt) and
Plus, I enjoy canning my own food stores.
know what's in my jars, and what's not in them. For example,
there is no salt, no fat, and lots of meat. Nothing but a
little broth on top of a jam-packed jar of chicken. Yummy!
If you're going to opt for the bargain
meats found at discount stores, this is what to do:
Pick up can. Shake it. If it's real slushy
and you hear water, put it back. There's not much product
and too much gooey imitation gravy in the can. The ones that
don't slosh are okay. Barely.
Also, do not read the ingredient label
unless you've the stomach for "mechanically separated" and
words with multiple syllables, none of which are
pronounceable unless you have a degree in science. In that
case, you'd know what those words mean and would probably
opt for a peanut butter sandwich!
found bags of chicken. Good start. I bought chicken leg quarters
because that was the least expensive I could find. Also, I happen to
prefer the dark meat. Chicken breasts work too and are less
"trouble" in that there are fewer bones.
your canning project, so pick what you want to eat. And know this:
if you don't eat dark meat now, you won't suddenly like it when
you're at sea. Stick with what you like. All too often beginning
boaters go with what the "experts" say is necessary. While chicken
is one component of my happiness quotient, I realize not everyone is
I found if I
didn't like a food ashore, being afloat didn't change a thing.
Only preserve what you enjoy. Otherwise it's just a waste of time and
For me, I
opted for chicken leg quarters. The first step in my new improved
canning process is to get the chicken naked. Chicken fat migrates to
my aft end and goodness knows I don't need more of that!
For the men-folk who
don't know chicken, the easiest way to strip naked a chick is
to run their thumb under the skin along the
STRAIGHT FLAT AREA. Then pull
down the whole skin down and off the end of the leg.
It's not pretty, and
takes a bit of tugging. There will be some fatty areas left
behind and that's okay. We are not going for perfection here.
This is Good Enough territory.
This is the finished
the crock-pot goes the chicken sans (without) skin. I am using a larger
crock-pot belonging to a friend. Mine is just three quarts and fits
perfectly in my galley sink when underway. When doing a massive
amount of chicken like this however, having a larger crock-pot did
make the process quicker.
It looks icky when it first starts to cook. Keep the
lid on and don't worry: it'll be fine and taste great too.
The observant will notice the
broth above is chicken-y. This is one of the later batches. I do not
add water except to the first chicken leg quarters I'm cooking. The
crock-pot creates liquid. To the first batch of chicken, I add one
cup or two of water to the crock pot. Turn the crock-pot on high if
you're in a hurry or low if you'd prefer to let things cook
Note: Save the liquid for later batches. I reuse it. You also can
pour it off into a Tupperware container. Stick the broth in the
refrigerator. When it cools there will be a layer about 1/4" thick
of fat. Remove that and you've got yummy fat-free broth for future batches.
Next, pluck the chicken. With
the first two Batches-from-Hades I plucked the skin and bones
off for each set as needed for canning. The chicken was hot and
my fingers were scorched a bit.
Everything seemed to take
longer than it should and I was frustrated. Plus, at first I had
not removed the skins.
Finally, I got smarter. When the chicken is falling off the bones in
the crock pot, I remove a few pieces at a time. After letting it
cool a bit, pulling out the bones is easy. The gristle and bones are
set aside for the fish and crabs.
In areas without good tidal flow aka current, it is best to bring
food scraps to shore for disposal. Here on the Gulf coast, I tap
three times on the hull and over the side it goes. See
Fish Training 101
for my chumming method.
currently in St. Pete, on Florida's Gulf coast.
Ten pounds of chicken leg quarters becomes four pounds of chicken
To can the
chicken, you'll next put the plucked chicken into a pan with some of
the broth you cooked it in. Get it hot and keep it hot until you
process in your pressure cooker.
pressure has come up, time for the 1/2 cup jelly jars is 1 hour. I
do the half pint jars the same amount of time. Mostly that's because
I'm doing batches with both in the pressure cooker.
For me canning is a relaxing way to spend the day or three. I like
knowing that the food I eat is good for me. The quality of home
canned is better than what I could buy. Plus, the quantity suits my
isn't so if the amount of product spoils before I can consume it.
price isn't so critical for me. Often I'll buy smaller quantities at
a greater cost per ounce because I know I'll use it all. Too, more
and larger are not such a good idea when storage space is limited.
chicken is 49 cents a pound, its hard to pass up a deal like that.
I'm only limited by the number of jars I own, and the desire to have
a variety. Fortunately for the budget I like chicken.
Next I'll do some bratwurst.
It is three pounds
for $10 at Walmart. A few jars of sausage chips (1/4" thick wafers)
will be a nice addition to my larder.
Update: After buying
three pounds of bratwurst at Walmart with high hopes of a
bargain sausage for the larder, I tasted 'em. They are not my
thing. In the meantime, I'll add them to eggs for my omelets.
To can them for later would be a waste of time.
I've discovered that if I
don't like something now, I'm not going to care for it any
more in six months time. I'll eat the bratwurst now. To go
through the process of canning something I'm not fond of
simply won't happen.
yourself, I'd advise the same: If you don't care
for it now, you won't like it any better while out here!
Are you a canner?
Was canning foods a part of your younger life?
Locker Latch Alignment ~
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