This 101 is contributed by HOMEGROWN member Robert of Get Forked, an awesome blog and video series with a very HOMEGROWN bent. Thanks so much, Robert! Please keep the fantastic ideas and easy-to-follow instructions coming.
Walking down aisle 2 of the grocery store and picking up a box of chicken stock sure makes life simple, but do you really know what you’re eating? Take a closer look, and often the ingredient list shows it's mostly salty water. And what's up with those dried cube thingies? Yuck. I want my chicken stock to actually taste like chicken. By making my own homemade stock and pressure canning it, I ensure that I have a steady supply of real food.
HOW TO PRESSURE CAN CHICKEN STOCK
These instructions and the video below are meant to be a basic guide to get you started with pressure canning chicken stock. I used the Presto 23-quart pressure canner, but each brand and model of canner is different. This means the techniques here can be used in just about any canning or preserving project, but always make sure to follow your manual's recommended settings. (Let me repeat that: For food safety, always consult the manufacturer’s manual.) That said, there’s nothing more rewarding than opening up your own jar of stock and making a comforting bowl of chicken noodle soup—so let’s get started.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
» Pressure canner
» Jars and lids
» Homemade chicken stock (see recipe below)
WHAT TO DO
Start by sterilizing all of your equipment and your work area. Proper sterilization is extremely important, so—do we sound like a broken record yet?—be sure to read your pressure canner's manual.
After sterilization, use the canning funnel to fill each jar, leaving 1 inch of space at the top. Place a lid and ring on each jar, then lower the jars into the pressure canner. Following your pressure canner's manual, process your chicken stock at the appropriate psi (or pounds per square inch, a unit of pressure) for your elevation. At the end of the processing time, use the tongs to remove the jars from the pressure canner.
Once the jars are cool, check that each is fully sealed by gently pressing on the tops of the lids. If you hear any clicking, the jar did not seal. You can reprocess the unsealed jars in the canner or keep them in the refrigerator for up to a week.
Sealed jars can be stored in a cool dark space for 6 months to 2 years. Any mold or unpleasant smells in or around the jars is an indication of food spoilage; these jars should be disposed of.
WATCH THE VIDEO
More of a visual learner? Watch Robert’s excellent step-by-step video below. (And somebody
get this guy an Emmy. He's that good.)
BONUS RECIPE: HOMEMADE CHICKEN STOCK WITH ROSEMARY AND THYME
So, you want to can chicken stock—but you don’t have any chicken stock to can? People think I’m crazy when I say I make my own stock. They say things like, “Doesn't it take all day to make that?” or “I don’t have the time for that.” So then I explain that, using the pressure cooker method, you can have chicken stock in under 2 hours. Now, some would argue that the pressure cooker method doesn’t produce the same depth of flavor as stock simmered for a (slow) 12 hours, and they are correct. But by using a hybrid pressure cooker/simmer method, we can significantly reduce the time without sacrificing the richness or flavor. But for argument’s sake, let’s make it the slow way, the fast way, and then my way.
WHAT YOU’LL NEED
I created this recipe to work with 1 pound of chicken; to make more, just double or triple it.
» 1 lb chicken bones and meat
» 2 celery stalks
» 2 carrots
» 1 onion
» 2 cloves of garlic
» 2 sprigs of fresh thyme
» 1 pinch of fresh rosemary
» 1 bay leaf
» 5 to 10 peppercorns
» 5 c water
WHAT TO DO
Step 1: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Place all of the ingredients except the water in a parchment-lined roasting pan. Put the roasting pan in the oven and set a timer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, carefully stir to expose all of the bits that are unbrowned. Repeat this process 3 more times for a total roasting time of 1 hour. This browns and caramelizes the chicken and vegetables, helping develop a rich flavor in the final product. It also makes your house smell like roast chicken. Yum.
Step 2: This step is going to extract all of the flavors from the bones, meat, and vegetables. Transfer all of the ingredients from the roasting tray to your pressure cooker or canner and add the water. I used a pressure canner in this video, but a pressure cooker will work fine. As all pressure canners and cookers are different, consult your manual for appropriate timing. (These instructions are for the Presto 22-quart pressure canner that I used in the video.) Place the pressure canner on the stovetop on medium-high and latch the lid. When a steady stream of steam escapes from the stovepipe, cover it with the weight. Allow the pressure canner to come up to 15 psi, then turn the heat down to medium. Depending on your stove, you may need to adjust the heat to keep it at a consistent 15 psi. Set a timer for 20 minutes and take a break.
Step 3: When the timer goes off, turn off the heat and let the canner sit until the pressure lock releases. At this point, you can open the lid and—tada!—you have stock. Like I said, this is perfectly good stock and you can stop here, but if you want something even better, continue on. Turn a stovetop burner back to medium-low and simmer your stock uncovered for 4 hours.
Step 4: Strain the broth with a fine screen strainer or cheesecloth, then allow the stock to come to room temperature or until it’s cool enough to place in the fridge. Leave the stock in the fridge overnight. By the next day, all of the chicken fat will have solidified on the surface. You can remove it for a fat-free chicken stock or leave it, your call.
Step 5: Transfer the cooled chicken stock to storage containers and keep it in the fridge for 1 week or freeze for 3 months. If you want to can your newly created chicken stock, scroll back up to the top.
Note: If you overachievers still want to try the long and slow method, perform these modifications to steps 2 and 3: Transfer all of the ingredients from the roasting tray to your slow cooker. Set heat to low and let simmer for 12 hours.
WATCH THE VIDEO
See Robert in action: The video below walks you through his homemade stock recipe. Just don't
watch it on an empty stomach. We're drooling.
Got your own stock tip? Or a question? Post it below and keep the conversation rolling. First-time canners might check out the Canning Basics and Small-Batch Canning 101s. Beginners and experts alike can rub shoulders and share advice in the Food Preservation group, and don’t forget to consult Robert’s awesome blog, Get Forked, for further culinary projects. You can always find more things to cook, preserve, make, craft, plant, grow, and simmer in the HOMEGROWN 101 library.