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Author Topic: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens  (Read 2689 times)

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Offline four + four

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Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« on: October 16, 2012, 11:28:22 AM »
Well, we pulled the last of the beets from the ground yesterday and we have a problem.  After processing them in our pressure canner and letting the pressure drop to zero, as we unload the jars we find the jars in the bottom row usually have loss of fluid.  It is almost as if the fluid was pumped from the jar, but the jar is sealed.  What are we doing that is causing this problem?

Also, as a sideline, we also made some pickled beets.  Some of the beets were rather large and so to be fancy I had the brainstorm to slice them like rolls of cookie dough.  I then used small cookie cutters (I use these these to decorate the top of my pies) and with the small star shape I cut out about three stars per beet slice.  Boy do they make the cutest pickled beets...very pretty on the plate.  The left over scraps, I then just canned...kind of odd looking. 

Finally, I filled the freezer with Hutterite chickens and now am ready to can them.  Any suggestions?  Needing help from ground zero.  I was thinking of canning the meatier parts and boiling the bones from the back for broth and would process the broth also. How long would the broth need to be processed?

 Amish...I really need your vote of confidence in this one...but very excited to get going on this.  Would I need quart size jars or the half-gallon sized jars?  Do you use water in the jars at all?

Help from all is appreciated.

And, "hi" all...have been away too long.  Life got in the way!

Offline Bonnie

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2012, 02:29:30 PM »
For canning meats & vegetables, don't use any jar larger than quart. The only food that is recommended for canning in half gallons is fruit juice.

If you are raw packing the meat, you can add water or broth if you want, but it isn't necessary. The Ball Book says to always add water or broth, but it's for looks, not safety. Tho they do say it improves the quality of the meat. Don't know about that - I've never noticed a difference. If you are canning cooked meat, do add water or broth.

Meat broth should be canned at 10 lbs (sea level - adjust for your elevation) for 25 minutes, quarts, 20 minutes, pints. It doesn't hurt to can them with the meat for the longer time. I often do that.

Beets - the most common reason for loosing liquid is fluctuation of pressure. If that wasn't it, here are some other possibilities: Is there a rack under the bottom row? If not, the jars could have gotten too hot.  Were the beets hot? Were the rings too loose? Air bubbles? Food packed too tight? Was the water boiling when you put the jars in? It should be just hot, not boiling. Same for water bath canners.

Those are all the ideas I could come up with. Amish might have other suggestions. Even with little liquid in the jar, the beets are still fine for eating. But I'd eat them first because of quality issues if they are stored for very long.

God bless,
Bonnie
Opportunity Farm
NE WA

"While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all." Galatians 6:10

BonniesBooks.net


Offline Bonnie

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2012, 02:31:29 PM »
Forgot to mention - that was a cute idea about the pickled beets!
God bless,
Bonnie
Opportunity Farm
NE WA

"While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all." Galatians 6:10

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Offline Amisheggpicker

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2012, 03:02:30 PM »
I agree with Bonnie...only use the 1/2 gallon jars for juices...

Depending on how many folks you feed at one sitting (its just my husband and me most meals) is how you are going to determine whether you use a pint or a quart.  A quart of canned meat is too much meat for the two of us.  I do can 1 or 2 canners loads of quarts for strictly when we have company. Mostly I can all my meats in pint jars now.  If I remember you have at least 4 in your family, so quarts might suit you better.

There are several ways to can chicken...precooked and boned before you can it and then chicken on the bone, either precooked or raw (the canning process cooks it) 

I prefer the chicken precooked and boned for several reasons.  One, I don't want to be taking the meat off the bones when I'm ready to eat it. When I'm cooking, I want everything to be as simple as can be. Two, when I can the precooked chicken, you use the water that you cooked it in to pour over the meat in the jar.  This will make a nice broth.  (you can skim off some of the fat if you like)  Also you can get more meat in the jar if it is off the bone.  I find this is the most economical way of canning chicken. 

Personally, I can very little straight broth.  You need to cook the chicken down alot to get a flavorfull broth.  I find just using the water that I cooked the chicken down in is a good start.  I can always add spices and vegetables later as I'm cooking the dish.  Also, if you are making chicken stock, you will remove the vegetables before you can it.  I find this to be a waste.  I hate wasting food!   If you still want to do broth, follow Bonnie's time chart.

Precooked chicken boned with the cooking water is canned at 10 lbs 90 minutes for quarts and 10 pounds 75 minutes for pints.
adjust for altitude.
The chicken on the bone is processed with slightly less times...and if you are interested in doing your chicken this way, let me know and I will tell you the processing times. 

By the way, good to see you back, we missed you.

Oh here is a good hint when canning greasy meats like chicken etc.  Take a paper towel and dampen it with lemon juice, use this to wipe the rim of the jars before placing the lids on.  This cuts away any grease residue on the rim that might prevent your lid from sealing.

On the beets, ditto with what Bonnie said.  Lack of juice will not cause the beets to spoil, but they will get a little dried out "pruney" looking.  I also agree on eating them first.  But they should keep for a long time.   Something you could try is to periodically jostle the remaining juice around in the jar after they have sealed and set for a day or so.  But who has time to do this?  hahahahahah!  But it will keep moisture in the top beets....Sometimes I have this happen when I can potatoes, and that's how I keep them moist.  Otherwise, if I have a slightly dry potato in my jar, I remove it and give it to the chickens for a snack! hahahaha!

one other question for you is this....did the jars loose the liquid when they were in the canner, or when you were removing the jars from the canner.   If it was the later, there is a simple solution for that....but let me know at which point they lost the liquid.
Proverbs 21:20  In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,

but a foolish man devours all he has.

Offline AuricTech

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2012, 08:10:14 PM »
There are several ways to can chicken...precooked and boned before you can it and then chicken on the bone, either precooked or raw (the canning process cooks it) 

I prefer the chicken precooked and boned for several reasons.  One, I don't want to be taking the meat off the bones when I'm ready to eat it. When I'm cooking, I want everything to be as simple as can be. Two, when I can the precooked chicken, you use the water that you cooked it in to pour over the meat in the jar.  This will make a nice broth.  (you can skim off some of the fat if you like)  Also you can get more meat in the jar if it is off the bone.  I find this is the most economical way of canning chicken.

Just out of curiosity, what is your preferred process for precooking chicken for canning, including boning?  While I am not quite ready yet to try my hand at canning, I would likely find some way to make use of your advice in this area.  At the very least, learning new ways to cook chicken would certainly help improve the frugality-of-life/quality-of-life ratio for a single curmudgeon-in-training*.... :)

*Until I get a lawn of my own, I'll still be a curmudgeon-in-training, since I can't currently tell kids to get off my nonexistent lawn.... ;D
American parachutists...devils in baggy pants...are less than 100 meters from my outpost line. I can't sleep at night; they pop up from nowhere and we never know when or how they will strike next. Seems like the black-hearted devils are everywhere....

Offline Bonnie

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2012, 09:10:45 PM »
The only benefit to canning chicken or rabbit with the bone in is that the bones becomes very soft & the cats & chickens love them. So you need to decide it you're going to pamper your pets or yourself!

I'm a klutz so I rarely bone raw meat. (I really like my fingers!) It's easier to slow cook it (I've got 2 rabbits on the stove now for canning tomorrow) & take the meat off the bones. While I've often canned broth, I'm beginning to prefer making soup to can. We opened a pint of rabbit soup for lunch today, & with toast & fruit it was a nice light meal. And my rabbit soup got me another blue ribbon at the fair this year. (Can't help bragging - canning is one of the few things I'm good at!)

Beef, pork, venison, etc, can easily be cut into stewing size & raw packed. I've tried both browned & raw & can't tell any difference in the end product.
God bless,
Bonnie
Opportunity Farm
NE WA

"While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all." Galatians 6:10

BonniesBooks.net

Offline Amisheggpicker

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2012, 11:39:10 PM »
Auritech-when you precook the chicken, either by the crockpot method like Bonnie mentioned, or by boiling it, the meat will fall off the bone.  When you precook the meat by either method of cooking, the meat will fall off before the bone is soft, so it's easier to pick out the bones.

When pressure canning the meat, the bones do become soft, like Bonnie mentioned, but I prefer picking out the bones before I can it.

Canning chicken with the bone left on or taken off is the individual canners preference.  The meat tastes the same either way.  Canning with it on the bone takes up less time initially.

When I butcher the chickens, I have a good deal of them left whole and just a few cut up into pieces (breasts, thighs, wings and backs)

Then the whole chickens are put into a big soup pot.  I have a giant restaurant stock pot that my grandfather bought me at a sale.  Then the pot is filled with water until the chicken is well covered. I like to do it this way because I then can can a larger quantity of chicken.  But you can do a smaller amount.

Then the chicken is boiled until it is cooked.  Then I take out one chicken at a time and remove the meat from the bone.  The legs and the wings will have fallen off the main cavity of the chicken, but I just pull the meat off those parts also.  

At this point, I often strain the remaining liquid.  It will have tiny pieces of bone and some fat parts that didn't dissolve.  Once the meat is packed in the jars, this liquid is poured over the meat and then I pressure can it.

One other thing that some folks do is this. After removing the meat and bones from the broth, They place the liquid in smaller containers and put it in the refrigerator. The pulled meat is also placed in the refrigerator. The next morning, the fat will have solidified on the top and they remove this fat.  Then the meat is packed in the jars, the liquid is then poured over the meat and canned the usual way.

It sounds tedious, but I usually do at least 10 chickens at a time.  This will take me a greater part of a day from beginning to end.  But it's well worth it.

Chicken/rabbit etc. hamburger and sausage are the only meats that I precook or brown before canning.  All the other meats I can, I can raw.

I don't know of anyone whom cuts the raw meat off of chicken bones...they either precook them with the bone on and place bone and all in the jar or put the raw chicken on the bone in the jar.  And i have only seen chicken legs and wings done this way.  Again, I don't like this, because I want the meat off the bone when I go to open a jar.  Just my preference.

At the very least, learning new ways to cook chicken would certainly help improve the frugality-of-life/quality-of-life ratio for a single curmudgeon-in-training*....

Curmudgeon?  I would never have guessed.  I would recommend that when you decide to try a hand at canning, to purchase a few whole chickens from the market (they are actually cheaper to buy this way) and since you are single, I would recommend canning in pint jars...or even half pints (not jelly jars)  when you decide, tell us....We will gladly talk you through the process!  And then you will be hooked!

Bonnie, We love canning soups!  We actually just had a soup making day with my sister, sister in law and mother.  We canned 40 quarts of it.  I think I posted it under living off the land!  
« Last Edit: October 16, 2012, 11:46:13 PM by Amisheggpicker »
Proverbs 21:20  In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,

but a foolish man devours all he has.

Offline Drang

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2012, 04:37:11 PM »
Until I get a lawn of my own, I'll still be a curmudgeon-in-training, since I can't currently tell kids to get off my nonexistent lawn.... ;D
You can always quote Pink Floyd from The Final Cut: "Oi!  Get your filthy hands off my desert!"
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Offline four + four

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #8 on: October 20, 2012, 12:33:59 PM »
Quote
one other question for you is this....did the jars loose the liquid when they were in the canner, or when you were removing the jars from the canner.   If it was the later, there is a simple solution for that....but let me know at which point they lost the liquid.

What a great informational read from all of you!  Thank you!  Amish, The beet jars lost the liquid while in the canner and if they do lose their liquid, it is always the top row.  I have a large canner in which I can stack 18 pints. I never remove the jars from the canner until the pressure gauge reads zero.

Quote
.Sometimes I have this happen when I can potatoes, and that's how I keep them moist.  Otherwise, if I have a slightly dry potato in my jar, I remove it and give it to the chickens for a snack! hahahaha!

Amish, you shared where you have had this happen to your potatoes.  I have canned potatoes in the past, some lost liquid, some did not.  But the way I processed them was to merely peel them, cut the potatoes into chunks, pack in jars, add salt and put boiling water over the top and process.  We really like the flavor, but I found that some of the potatoes cooked away.  We had a great potato crop again.  We usually donate 100 -150 pounds to the woman's group of our church for their lefse money-making opportunities, and hence our crop must be large but we share with our neighbors also.  So, long story short, we will be canning more potatoes.  Any suggestions?

Oh, before I begin.  Thank you for the wonderful tip about the lemon juice in cleaning off the rim of the  jars to cut the grease.  I would have not known what to do there and, quite frankly, had not even thought of it until I got to that point and wondered what to do.

So, my understanding is that both you and Bonnie completely cook the chicken to the point of it falling off the bone, with this cooking difference; You do your chickens in the kettle and Bonnie does her's in the crockpot.  You both use the broth to fill the jars.  My question...how full do you fill the jars? 

Now here is another question.  I have a Kerr canning book that has a 1982 copyright and it has a recipe for canned fried chicken. Here is the recipe:

Dress and cut up fowl.  Do not roll in flour.  Sear chicken in hot fat until lightly browned.  Pack hot chicken in jars to within one inch of the top.  Add one teaspoon salt to each quart jar if desired.  Add three or four tablespoons of fat in which chicken was seared.  Put on cap, screw band.  Process the pints for 75 minutes and quarts 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.

Have you or Bonnie does this type of processing of chicken?  I am very intrigued by the recipes in my old canner book and last summer we canned the stewed tomatoes which turned out wonderfully.  Up until a few years ago, I only used this book but wondered about some of the techniques so purchased a newer canning book.

As usual, thank you for your help...how wonderful to visit with you all, again.  Trying to keep my health moving forward as well as working full time has been a challenge...but canning remains a joy!

Offline Bonnie

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #9 on: October 20, 2012, 03:43:44 PM »
I've never done that, but I don't see how it would be different from searing beef before canning. Tho canning chicken with the skin on can get greasy. Which may be why it isn't in the new books.
God bless,
Bonnie
Opportunity Farm
NE WA

"While we have the opportunity, let us do good to all." Galatians 6:10

BonniesBooks.net

Offline Amisheggpicker

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #10 on: October 20, 2012, 06:46:48 PM »
The loss of liquid could be from any number of reasons as Bonnie pointed out. I have a theory based on the fact that it's only the top row...it could be that's where the steam comes out (top of canner)as the pressure reduces....don't know...just a theory

 Even Jackie Clay, my hero, has had liquid loss sometimes!  And she has been canning longer than I have...she is older than me and I have been canning for 40 plus years if you count helping Mom and Grandma...


I would do chicken in the crockpot or roaster pan if I was only doing a few at a time.  I ususally can chickens when we butcher chickens...and this means 10 to 12 chickens a batch...that's why I boil them in the large soup pan.

I pack the chicken in the jars leaving 1 inch headspace.  Then when the liquid is poured in, you want to cover your chicken and still leave the 1 inch headspace.  Occasionally, I might pull out a piece or 2 to make sure I have the 1 inch headspace after pouring the liquid in. I do not Pack the chicken in tightly.  Just plop it in the jar.

I also, like Bonnie, see no problem with canning the chicken the way the old Kerr books states.
I keep my old canning books and cross reference them with the newer ones and the USDA canning site on the internet.  Most of the time the recipes haven't really changed much and the newer ones have newer recipes.

One thing I have noticed is the difference in canning tomatoes....I personally pressure can tomatoes with any added vegetables.  When I first began to can, years and years ago, we actually did a method called "open" kettle...this is where the hot tomato sauce was poured into hot jars and a hot lid was screwed on....and then left to seal by heat alone....This is NOT recommended any more...and we ate tons and tons of sauce done this way...EVERY one did it...but I don't do it now...nor would recommend anyone doing it....with all the cross breeding of our tomatoes and the hybridizing of them, they have lost there acidity count...and this makes this method unsafe!

I glad to see you back and wish you good health.


oh, my husband MUST not see your post...he is Norwegian and has been after me to make lefse for years....I hope to surprise him at Christmas time..maybe you could make a post on how to do this...I have the recipe from his late mother, but I haven't tried to do it yet....so please please please....pretty please....post about it.

« Last Edit: October 20, 2012, 06:51:10 PM by Amisheggpicker »
Proverbs 21:20  In the house of the wise are stores of choice food and oil,

but a foolish man devours all he has.

Offline four + four

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Re: Beets and chickens...but don't beat the chickens
« Reply #11 on: January 02, 2013, 09:08:33 PM »
Wow!  You probably thought I fell off the map again.  Well, in a digital sense I did.  My computer crashed over Thanksgiving and then it took me three weeks to get another purchased and up and running.  It hurts when you lose everything...losing the address book was particularly painful.

Got behind at school because I could not do much of my school work at home (prepping and creating new lessons) so was going to school uber early in the morning...the stars are still out when I am pulling out of my yard just to make new lessons.  I am finishing up a curriculum on safe social networking for high school students.  Getting it finalized now to send in for copyright.  Sigh. 

Then...over Christmas break is another digital whamo!  Here is the story and yes it does begin with an innocent-looking power pole.  This power near the turn-off to our home and we believe it has a bullseye painted on its stalk!  It has been knocked down twice by drivers on icy roads, hit once by lightening and now over Christmas a driver full of holiday "spirits" was evading the Highway Patrol and ran smack into the pole.  This time it took out my printer.  Thankfully, the new computer was not even on...or could you have imagined (oh my gosh...the credit card is not even paid on that one). Each of these wipe-outs literally takes up to 4 to 6 hours for repair and we do get to experience living off the grid (yes, we get out the Coleman lanterns) for just a brief time. 

But, now that all of these electronic catastrophes are a part of "last year" we can only expect a happy digital 2013!

I am ready to do our chickens now.  ALL OF YOU!  THANK YOU!  You have given me courage to give it a try.  I am going to print all your comments as I am building a canning book based on things I am learning on this site.  Surely, I will keep you posted.

Over Christmas my husband and I did make some wonderful jams from various fruits stored in the freezer.  Have some wonderful combinations and they are tasty.  My favorite is the strawberry, rhubarb and blueberry jam.  Only made 8 half pints merely to use up the odds and ends of fruit.  But, believe me it turned out wonderfully.  We also did 76 half pints of strawberry and raspberry jam.  These usually are Christmas gifts placed in baskets with herbs our daughter grows, the husband's famous fudge and maybe a bread (usually chocolate zucchini bread).  What a fun way to tell our neighbors we like them.  It would be fun to share some with you also...maybe we could somehow arrange an anonymous jam swap...


 

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