For this installment in our Pressure Canning 101 series, I’d like to tackle Chicken Soup.
Having home-canned soup on hand is a great way to save both money and time. A large roaster full of chicken soup is a simple way to stretch a chicken into a cost-saving plethora of jars full of goodness.
Instead of reaching for that can of “who-knows-what’s-in-it” for a quick lunch, you can reach for a jar of your very own homemade chicken soup. For a little effort put out now, you can enjoy a hot bowl of yummy homemade soup for any time. It’s great to have this on hand for those nights when you don’t feel like cooking, for a speedy lunch, or when you have a sick family member in need of some chicken soup lovin’.
I make this in my large 18 qt roaster oven. This is simply the best way to make a large amount of soup (or anything else- chili, spaghetti sauce, large turkey, etc). If you don’t have a large roaster oven, you could certainly make this in large stock pots. I tend to “cook big”, so when I can, I want to do it all at once. I can pressure can 7 quarts at a time. I want that canner full whenever I use it!
The first step is simply to cook 2 large chickens in water, with lots of seasoning. Remember this water is turning into broth, so I tend to season heavier than if I was making a small pot of soup. I add salt, pepper, Kick’n Chicken Seasoning, thyme, bay leaf, rosemary, garlic, onions (whole), celery (cut in half), carrots (cut in half), and chicken soup base.
Spray the roaster oven insert with non-stick spray, then place the chickens inside. Cover the chicken with spices, add vegetables, then add water. I fill the water about half-way to the top. Put the lid on, turn the heat to 300*, and let it cook. Low and slow cooking results in a moister, more tender bird. Cook this chicken at least 3 hours. Once the chicken is cooked through, remove it to a bowl with slotted spoons.
You won’t be using the vegetables that you cooked the chickens with for the final product. They were present to give the broth flavor. Separate those out when you shred the chicken meat.
While the chicken is cooling down, add your desired vegetables. I add 2 quarts of home-canned green beans, a bag of frozen corn (thawed), a large onion, several diced carrots, and several chopped potatoes. Add the vegetables that your family likes. Just be sure to add plenty. They give the bulk to the soup, saving on meat cost.
When the chicken is cool enough to work with, pull the skin off and chop or shred the chicken from the bone. Be especially careful to remove all of those little tiny bones from the meat. I like to shred the chicken onto a plate, then sift through it after it’s shredded (or chopped) with my fingers to be sure I haven’t missed a bone. Add the meat to the roaster oven. Allow to cook at 300* for another hour or so. Taste the broth occasionally to be sure it’s to your liking.
Once the soup is ready to can, it’s time to set up the canner, sterilize the jars, get the lids and bands heating up, and prepare your work space. Ladle the hot soup into the jars. Once all of the jars are full, leaving 1″ of headspace, wipe the rims of jars well. This step is especially important with something like this as there is fat in the product being canned. Any fat left on the rim will result in a failed jar.
Add the lids and bands, hand tighten, then add the jars to the pressure canner.
When you can a mixture of foods like this, you will follow the timing and weight directions listed for the longest component. Normally, that would be the meat component. The Ball Complete Book of Home Preserving recommends 90 minutes for quarts at 10 pounds of pressure. Be sure to adjust based upon your altitude. If you need a refresher in pressure canning basics, visit Pressure Canning 101- Getting Started.
If you’ve made the full roaster pan full, you’ll either have a nice large amount of soup for supper and leftovers, or you will have enough to can another 5-7 quarts of soup. Since the first round of soup in the pressure canner will take awhile to be completed, you’ll want to turn the roaster down so that you don’t overcook the soup. Remember, the soup is going to further cook while being canned.
*as always, follow the instruction manual that came with your pressure canner!*
Be sure to check out the previous installments in this Pressure Canning 101 series- Getting Started, Pinto Beans
Have you canned soup? Which type is your favorite?
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