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Saturday, April 17, 2010

Canning Chicken Broth

In my post yesterday I explained how I make homemade chicken broth. I divide my chicken broth into 3 unequal parts: some to freeze, some to refrigerate, and some to can.

Freezing is a great option because it keeps the nutrients intact and preserves for a long period of time. For me though, it definitely has some down sides: it takes up freezer space (which can be at a premium if the freezer is well stocked) and you have to thaw it. I don't like to use my microwave because when you do, you lose nutrients. So that means freezer food is not convenience food for me. I have to plan to get it out of my freezer about a day in advance to let it thaw in the fridge. And sometimes that works great. But other times I may not have realized I need it and I forget to thaw it... that's when I'm glad not all of my chicken broth is in my freezer.

Refrigerated chicken broth lasts for 3 to 5 days if you leave the fat on top. After that, you could remove the fat, boil and put it back in the fridge for another 3 to 5 days... but that sounds like a lot of work to me when you could just use it at that point.

Canning does destroy some nutrients, but from what I can find the jury's out on how much is really lost. (I found different sources saying anywhere from 10-90% of some vitamins are lost!) That is the downside. The things I love about canning are:
Work one day, have food for many days.
Shelf storage: even if the power goes out or there is an emergency, you can use your canned food.
It doesn't take up freezer space.
It lasts a long time.
Cans of food on the pantry shelf gives me a sense of accomplishment and security. Really. I can go in my pantry and think two  things, "Wow, I provided this food for my family." and, "No matter what else may go wrong, at least we have food."

How to Pressure Can Chicken Broth:

Remove the fat from your chilled broth.
Heat lids and rings over low heat. Simmer.
Wipe lids and rims of your jars. Top with hot lids and rims.
In a separate pot, boil 3 quarts of water.
Pour boiling water into pressure canner. Add jars.
Close pressure canner and turn heat on high. Let steam flow for 10 minutes.
Add pressure regulator.
Process at 11 pounds pressure. 20 minutes for pints, 25 for quarts.

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