Build your Food Storage from Scratch: Canning Chicken Breast

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Canning chicken breastIt makes me a bit nervous having a freezer full of meats… the grid goes down and we’re up a creek. There’s no way I could can it all fast enough to save it. So, while we’re in a grid UP situation, I try to can a batch of SOMETHING at least once a week, if not more. We try to buy only when there is a really killer deal and buy in bulk at that time. Recently we found a reallllllllly killer deal on locally grown chicken breast, so I loaded up. Canning chicken breast was now on my schedule!

Canning meats is not only handy, pop the seal and VOILA you have prepared food, but it’s also a “stocking the pantry thing”. I like having my food in a state that does not require any ‘grid’ resources. The fact that it is safe and healthy is a win–win.

Canning Chicken Breast is a very simple endeavour, that reaps nice rewards!

My steps for canning chicken breast

First, I get out my Dutch Oven, my chicken breast, my meat scissors, an onion and a quart of chicken broth. Plain water will work in place of the chicken broth.

I like to get all my onion cut up first in fairly small pieces, get my chicken breast cut up in nice bite size-ish pieces and then heat up the Dutch Oven on my stove. Toss in the onion and chicken, add a dash of salt and a big dash of pepper (we like pepper!).

This mixture is going to cook until the chicken is almost cooked through. You may want to pour in a bit of the chicken broth after the onions have cooked up a little bit. Then, I get two pots of hot water going to sanitize my jar lids and another to ladle hot water into my jars to cover my chicken mixture for the actual canning process. Once my chicken is almost cooked, I dump in the rest of my broth, and let it finish cooking until all the chicken, onion, and broth is nice and hot.

Sanitizing and filling the jars

At this point I prep my jars. Some folks warm them in an oven, some folks warm them in a dishwasher, some folks don’t warm them at all. I don’t own a dishwasher, and don’t like to put them in the oven, so I’ve opted to fill them with pretty hot water to temper them that way. I’ve had too many crack and break when I did nothing to pre-warm them, and I do not want to waste my food or a perfectly good jar. Also, a jar breaking in a pressure canner can be a problem.

Once I have my lids hot, my ‘filler water’ hot, my Dutch Oven is done cooking and off to the side, my jars are tempered and I have all my supplies at the ready– it’s time to get started canning chicken breast!

IMPORTANT! Meats must be canned in a PRESSURE CANNER! You cannot use a water bath canner. (A pressure canner is not the same as a pressure cooker.)

I get my pressure canner on the stove and turn up the fire.

Chicken Breast Canning

I take my first jar and empty that hot water I was using to temper it, into my canner (why waste it!?). Then, I fill my canning jar with chicken. If my chicken is not covered with liquid, that’s fine. That’s why we put on an extra pot of hot water or ‘filler water’ to finish filling up the jars to the thread line.

NOTE: The chicken broth/water used to cook up the chicken breast will not be enough to fill your jars and cover your chicken. This is why I have that extra pot of very hot water standing by.

Once I have my jar filled properly to the thread, or leaving 1 inch head space, I lightly tap my jar down on a surface covered with towels to get any little air bubbles out. You can also use a wooden spoon or a chopstick to poke around in your jar as a method for releasing those air bubbles. At this point, it’s helpful to have a set of canning tools on hand.

Next, I take a clean washcloth and dip a corner of it in hot water and wipe the rim of my jar, where the lid is going to rest and SEAL the jar. For a proper seal, that rim MUST be completely clean — not a speck of food or liquid left or you won’t get a seal between your jar and lid. Once I have wiped down the rim of the jar, I put on my lid and ring and put the jar in the canner.

Into the pressure canner!

I can at 15 pounds pressure for my elevation and  90 minutes for quarts, 75 minutes for pints. It’s very important to refer to your BALL BLUE BOOK or County Extension Office for specifics on canning for your location.

I love canning chicken breast because it can easily be made into a ton of meals! Soups, casseroles, stir frys, drain the liquid and make chicken salad, chicken tacos, etc. The first jar I opened from this batch, I dumped into a hot cast iron skillet, with some minced garlic and made chicken fettucini– quick and easy. It’s a very nice convenience food to have on hand, and in a grid down situation, I can easily make all types of meals with this chicken already prepared! This is a wonderful way to preserve meat and stock the pantry at the same time!

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Lisa Barthuly lives in the mountains of the American Redoubt with her mountain man husband, amazing children, a jersey milk cow, a few dogs and a menagerie of farm animals.

11 thoughts on “Build your Food Storage from Scratch: Canning Chicken Breast”

  1. how lone can you store canned chicken also how long have you stored your chicken that you canned. thanks for your time you do a outstanding job. thanks loner

  2. This is a great idea for stocking the pantry and saving money and time. We can all types of meat, beans and fish. The difference is we can the raw pack way instead. It saves so much preparation time and you still reap all of the benefits. We can chicken, pork, beef, salmon, and tuna by cutting into pieces, placing in sanitized jars, add a 1/4 teaspoon of salt, apply lids, and process in pressure canner for the required amount of time and pressure according to the Blue Ball Book of Canning. For beans, just add one cup of dry beans, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and water to the fill line of a quart jar, apply lid and pressure can according to the book.
    We use pint jars for meat because that is the perfect size for our family of two (big eating) teens and two parents. Quart jars leave way too much food left over.

  3. Meat was one of the first things I ever pressure canned. Fruit, jams and jellies were easy, but I was terrified of the pressure canner. Now my 14 yr old granddaughter is almost expert with it. We also raw pack our meat and it is wonderful! Things go so much faster during canning and meal prep. There is nothing like arriving home exhausted to realize there is nothing ready to make a meal with. Pasta or rice, canned meat, some veggies and dinner is served in no time. Besides the knowledge that power outages, financial difficulties, etc will all be easier to handle with that little bit of work done.

  4. I can chicken with my DIL when chicken thighs go on sale for 99 cents/pound. My 23 qt Presto pressure canner does 8 pint+half or 7 quarts in a batch, and we do hot pack, skinned but with bone-in. We find the thighs far tastier, and somehow moister, even though the breasts are canned the same way. We just spend the day getting 14 quarts done for her soon-to-be family of seven. Pints are all my empty-nester household needs. Even though we can ‘bone-in’, later preparations are easy, since the bones slide right out upon opening the jars for meal prep. I struggle to find recipes to use my canned thighs (I’m most often a from-scratch cook), but her family loves her dishes. I have found that trying to use recipes with spices (like curry) or thickening, in canning doesn’t last through the canning (or storing) process. So, best to adapt by using spices or thickeners after canning, not before. I feel frugal and virtuous, as well as accomplished, when I pressure can good stuff for my family!

  5. I raw pack my chicken with no salt and a few pieces of yellow onion. No added liquids. It fills the jar with a clear tasty broth. I can add it to dishes and not have them over salted. It makes fantastic chicken salad too. I save the broth from the jar in the freezer to make soup or enchilada sauce, gravy, or whatever a little broth is needed for. I don’t buy broth anymore.

  6. I was scared of my pressure canner, so the first thing I canned was water. LOL. Once I got over that fear, I never looked back. I PC’d a 20 pound turkey last T-giving. We have been eating home made turkey and brown rice soup, turkey salad, turkey and rice casserole. I made extra stock and PC’d that as well. We also PC’d chili (without the beans of course). I am waiting for our local grocery store to have another sale on chicken. For a cheap turkey, I guess I’ll have to wait for T-giving. I know what goes into my food and can eat if the power goes out. We have a gas stove, so as long as the pilot lights can be lit, we can eat.

  7. When we cull our flock, I skin, stew and hot pack in pint jars because the pressure tenderizes an otherwise tough old bird. Obviously, the same applies for any older animal you butcher. About every three years we raise broilers and the family wants them all in the freezer but I’d need a separate freezer just for chicken. I freeze the 10 biggest and can the rest. I’ve been pleased with raw packing whole chicken breasts in quarts for ‘whole piece’ recipes. Kid #3 wants to grill everything and these work well slathered in butter or a marinate and heated on the grill.

  8. I prefer to dry can chicken/rabbit/hamburg/steaks. When I plan on opening a jar, I bring it upstairs to warm up a little, empty the jar into a colander and save the broth which I make into a gravy. Quick meals come from jars. Thnx for your tips.

    1. I’ve not heard of dry canning chicken/meat, but unless it involves a pressure canner, it IS NOT SAFE! Dry canning is sometimes called oven canning, and after a lot of research, I don’t recommend that for even dry foods, such as beans, cornmeal, etc.

  9. I have been canning for almost 50 years and LOVE it! There are two canners sitting in my pantry that hold 18 pints and my mothers canner she taught me on. Canning meat or anything else is the best way for a survivalist (is preaper the new word?) I’m so glad that there is a younger generation into canning. Go!!!!

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