- Author: Lauria Watts
Home-canned chicken is wonderful. And the broth/stock that forms in home-canned chicken is worth every penny you spent on the chicken, jars, pressure canner. . .
Oh, man-oh-man, do I love a sale BIG TIME! Caught a local market with fresh, name-brand chicken thighs, drums and split chicken breasts on sale for 67 cents a pound!. I had not seen any fresh chicken at that price for a very, very long time--so of course I bought my limit of thighs--they have so much more flavor than breasts. I rushed them home and they sat in the coldest part of my fridge for a day, waiting for me to pressure can them.
These thighs were fresh--Great! Wide mouth pint jars were dug out of storage, washed and made ready. Lids were rounded up and cleaned for sealing. National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP)/USDA canning instructions checked for time and weight at my altitude. The chicken was rinsed, cleaned, skinned and de-fatted in preparation for loading into jars. However, I found that I had not considered the size of the thighs when I purchased them. I mean, how big could they be, right? After all they are chicken thighs, no?
. . .At the last minute I dug out wide mouth rings. . . I don't have too many of those, and some were of questionable roundness. . .
Surprise! These were monster chicken thighs. This is good, because big chickens equal larger thighs, and larger thighs have more connective tissue and more meat. The chicken juices would have plenty of gelatin, making for great flavor and smooth, rich feel in the mouth.
BUT -- the thighs were so large that I could only fit 1 full thigh and maybe a little more. So as I packed the thighs I cut chunks off of other thighs to fill each jar. Some jars had one thigh bone, some had two. It worked. The good stuff I wanted, all that good gelatin at either end of the thigh bones, was preserved.
Lids and rings were applied, the canner was loaded. I checked the canning directions again. The canner was sealed and vented appropriately, loaded, and brought up to weight-jiggle. The processing went great, the weight jiggled just right, all was well in my little kitchen. After cooling, jars were unloaded, merrily boiling.
But wait! THREE of those jars were not boiling. Remember those rings I mentioned? Alas, three no-seals and I think it was because of the "funky" rings--or maybe it was the old lids? Into the fridge they went--what a pain! Note to self: Buy a whole bunch of boath regular and wide-mouth lids WITH rings, regularly, like every year. The unsealed jars went into the fridge and my husband was very happy with his chicken stew with dumplings the following night.
(BONUS--My tip for today: When you find a deal on lids, DATE each box! AND inspect all of your rings regularly for rust and roundness.)
Any way, the thighs jellied up very nicely, so I am thinkin' about canning up a bunch of chicken foot broth. Chicken feet can be purchased at the local 99 Ranch store (chicken feet are called chicken "paws" there). They would look pretty funky up on a shelf--but they'd make GREAT stock to go with some great home-canned chicken!
Now hie thee to thy kitchen and give the following a try. It's easy-peasy, really!:
Thanksgiving Holiday isn't that far away in terms of planning for the feast.
I have a long time tradition of smoking a turkey for the holiday and although most of my extended family are not big "smoked meat" fans, there are enough of us to make it worth the extra effort. My favorite part is the Smoked Turkey Noodle Soup to follow. The apple sweet/apple smoky flavor is heaven in a bowl.
On Monday before make a tea of the apple cider and dry spices, simmer for 5 minutes, leave to steep, covered, for 1 hour and chill. This is used for the marinade.
I marinate the holiday bird in a brine of cold apple cider, sugar, salt, dry oregano, and dry basil starting mid-day Tuesday in a 5 gallon bucket in the 'fridge.
Early Thursday (read 4 a.m.) the bird gets rinsed and is set to dry while the smoker gets going.
I prefer to smoke poultry over straight apple wood, but it seems to get harder to find the shredded 100% apple wood every year. Sometimes if I don't start searching early enough I settle for a mix of alder and apple. Really, there is only a subtle difference with the mix and 100% alder is fine for poultry. 3 to 4 hours of cold smoke raises the bird's temperature to 90-95of and leaves the skin a beautiful mahogany color.
The cavity is stuffed loosely with 2 parts apples to 1 part onions, 1 part celery. Apples in 16ths (apple wedged into eighths and cut them in half), onions in the same 16ths and separate most layers.
Stand the bird on end and pour the pieces in. Don't pack them in. Two big apples and one big onion is good for a medium bird. Any extra goes in the roasting pan.
Slip some fresh oregano sprigs under the skin.
Take a double layer of aluminum foil and make a preformed cover for the breast. Leave some extra along the side to tuck under the drumstick. You may need this near the of cooking to prevent the breast from over browning.
Roast with 1/2 gallon apple cider, extra apples, extra onions, carrot chunks and other root veggies as you prefer in the pan, i.e., turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, golden beets, and small potatoes. No red beets. Plenty of veggies because you want some to go in the stock and some to serve.
Roast breast side down until the last hour. Flip the bird over and cook to 165of in the thigh meat. You can baste with the pan juices or not. I find little difference to justify the extra effort.
A remote thermometer is a great investment as it gives you the temp. without having to open the door which lets the heat out and makes the cooking that much longer. Your oven can drop 50o or more each time you open the door and it takes at least 20 minutes to reach the set temp. again.
Check to make sure the breast isn't getting too brown. Use your pre-made cover if needed.
When done [remove from the oven,cover the bird with foil and allow to rest for at least 10 minutes. Resist the urge to begin cutting or you will end up with a pan full of juice and a bone dry bird.
IS IT SOUP YET ?
Remove remaining meat from the carcass. Refrigerate.
Take the bird carcass, skin and everything else except any leftover potatoes in the pan and cover with cold water. Bring up to a slow simmer and cook for
1-1/2 to 2 hours, uncovered. Do not boil. This creates lots of small particles of protein that make your stock cloudy.
Allow to cool to a safe temperature and strain through a metal colander to separate out the big pieces then strain out the small stuff through cheesecloth or a flour sack towel. Do not squeeze out the towel. Discard everything you strained out.
You have cooked out all that nature has to offer.
Taste the stock. If you feel it is weak, simmer it to reduce the volume.
You may pressure can the clear stock @ 10 pounds pressure for 20 minutes for pints, 25 minutes for quarts, adjusting time for altitude. See the NCHFP.org website http://nchfp.uga.edu/ for details.
For soup you need the vegetables of your choice. Onions, carrots, turnips, parsnips, and potatoes come to mind. Cook to almost tender.
You need precooked al dente egg noodles. I like extra wide. If you cook the noodles in the stock the volume will be reduced by the absorption of the noodles. Your choice.
I think it is easier to control the texture of the noodles if I cook them separate and add them in at the last minute. I don't like overcooked noodles.
Add the meat. Season to taste. Enjoy.
What a meeting! You missed it!
Market! Link! Social Media! Pictures! SB County expectations! Gray-scale flyers! Photo album! Out-reach! Class opportunities! Great ideas, good food (of course we had good food!)
These are just a few of the things we brain-stormed in the Marketing Brainstorming meeting we had this past Saturday. There was a good turn-out at Susan Israel's very nice house—thank you Susan for hosting.
Check out some pics:
Complete with Post-its! You cannot see all the ideas flying around here, but look at the number of post-its on the windo in the back and you will get an idea of the number. And there were even more by the end of the meeting.
This picture did not include one of Suzy's dogs that climbed up on the back of the couch and and licked Lane's head to get his attention!--all very sweet dogs.
There were a lot of very good Ideas to help publicize the MFP program. Many things to think about and start to take action on.
For starters, one easy Idea for you all: If you post anything, anywhere on the web as a response to a food/canning article, item, blog, picture or such, please include in your signature “Master Food Preserver of San Bernardino County.” If you have a webpage of any sort, please link to us ! This will help us to come up in results for searches about canning/food preservation. If you can make this a link to our Home page or blog or Facebook page it would be even better. If you need help with this just e-mail me!
COMING UP: Brining, smoking a bird for T-Day, from Darrell Fluman. It's a good one so don't miss it.
Now I leave you with the recipe for the delicious Meyer Lemon Polenta cake that Suzy served at our meeting. Not a preservation recipe, but it uses optional candied lemon slices and we TALKED about canning stuff!!!
Meyer Lemon Almond Cake
This cake pairs the bright flavor of Meyer lemons with a moist, buttery crumb made of almond flour. This is naturally gluten-free (as long as you use gluten-free flour blend to coat the pan). It can be gussied up with a topping of candied lemons, or served without.
Tips From Suzy: The recipe is hard to follow. I've learned to do some prep first: A small bowl of just the almond flour, a small bowl of the lemon zest/lemon juice/vanilla, and a small bowl of polenta (just cornmeal--don't tell anybody)/baking powder/salt/cardamom powder. They get mixed in with the butter/sugar/egg mixture in that order. And any lemons will do.
8 ounces (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 to 2 teaspoons all-purpose flour or gluten-free flour blend
1 cup sugar
2 cups almond flour
3 large eggs
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ cup Meyer lemon juice (about 1 large lemon)
2 tablespoons finely grated Meyer lemon zest (about 2 large lemons)
½ cup medium-grind polenta (cornmeal!)
1 teaspoon baking powder
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon ground cardamom
Candied lemons (optional):
1½ cups sugar
2/3 cup water
3 to 4 medium Meyer lemons (about 10 to 14 ounces), sliced 1/8-inch thick, seeds removed
For the cake: Preheat the oven to 325 degrees, and place a rack in the middle.
Place the butter in a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment; set aside. Use the butter wrappers to grease the inside of a 9-inch springform pan and sprinkle with the flour, rotating to coat the bottom and sides of the pan; discard excess flour. Cut a circle of parchment paper to fit the bottom, place inside the pan and set aside.
Add the sugar to the butter; mix at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl once or twice. Add the almond flour and mix slowly to combine.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly to combine, scraping down the sides of the bowl, before adding the next. The batter should have a light, mousse-like texture.
Remove the bowl from the mixer. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, gently fold in the vanilla, lemon juice and zest. Add the polenta, baking powder, salt and cardamom, continuing to fold carefully.
Spoon the batter into the prepared pan and smooth out to the edges. Set the cake pan on a rimmed baking sheet and bake 45-50 minutes, until the top is golden brown and the center is set.
Remove the cake from the oven and let sit 10 minutes. Run a butter knife around the edge of the cake to loosen, then remove the sides of the pan. Leave the cake on the bottom of the springform pan, place on a rack and let cool. The cake can be made a day ahead; loosely wrap or place in a cake carrier and store at room temperature.
For the candied lemons: Combine the sugar and water in a shallow saucepan and heat over medium-high until the sugar dissolves and the mixture comes to a strong simmer. Working in batches, add the lemon slices and continue to simmer, turning the slices occasionally, until the peels turn translucent, about 6-7 minutes, depending on the thickness of the slices. Remove from heat and let cool. The candied lemons can be made a day or two ahead; refrigerate in the syrup.
To finish the cake: Remove the candied lemon slices from the syrup and blot with paper towels. Overlap the slices atop the cake.
Note: Reserve the remaining syrup to mix with mineral water or club soda for a light spritzer, or to add to a citrus-based cocktail that calls for simple syrup. Or, use it to sweeten lemonade.
There was a plan. The first part of the plan was to check out the freezer(s), to see what I could cook or make from the freezers. Then, the final part of the plan was to make a meat stock.
Visiting the local middle-east ethnic market, I casually strolled about the store taking in the fresh take-out food, meandering by the milk products, cruising the coffees and teas, pouring over the pasta and beans, and then! The meat and produce section!
What did I see? Good price on ten pounds of taters. Prime porterhouse steaks at one third the price elsewhere (I splurged and bought three. . . the freezer, you know?). Marvelous Manila Mangoes, two for a buck. Then, OM-Golly, the pineapples: 99 cents each! They were big pineapples, weighing in at between four and five pounds each. Whoo-boy – Meat stock disappeared from my consciousness.
Memories of pineapple pickles past came to the foremost in my thoughts. I first had those pickles several years ago. The taste I remember fondly: sweet-sour, redolent of cinnamon and just a little cloves, with delicious pineapple flavor. They hooked me right then. A year or so later, I got some pineapple at a good price and made pineapple pickles for the first time. For me now, cheap pineapple equals pickled pineapple. Great from the jar or seared on the grill. Great with some cottage cheese or skewered in a kabob with chicken or pork or veggies. Pineapple upside-down cake. Cue the Foreigner song. “They ta-aste like the first time, they ta-aste like the very first time . . . “ (seriously dating myself here)
Those pineapples were nice looking, maybe not as yellow as I might wish for fresh eating, but they had nice flavor after trimming and cutting, great for pickles. I bought 4, gave one to my sister. The next day I made pineapple pickles. All was good in my canning world.
The day after I made my pineapple pickles I visited the same market again. Beautiful pineapples were on sale: TWO pounds for a dollar!
I like canned pineapple. REALLY cheap pineapple equals – I guess I need to can some straight pineapple or, I know, pineapple jam for Christmas gifts!
The following recipe for Pineapple pickles is delicious; spiced, sweet-tart pineapple. Try them straight from the jar (after some jar time of a couple of weeks), grill them on the bar-b-cue, put them in kabobs, mash them up to put on ice cream, or you can make a pineapple upside-down cake. I am sure you can figure out some other ways to use them!
(Ball Blue Book Guide to Home Preserving, 2012)
Yields: About 4 pints
2 cups brown sugar
1 cup red wine vinegar
1 cup unsweetened pineapple juice
3 sticks cinnamon, broken
1/2 teaspoon allspice
1/4 teaspoon whole cloves
2 fresh pineapples, peeled, cored and cut into spears (about 5 pounds each)
Combine brown sugar, vinegar and pineapple juice in a large saucepot. Tie spices in a spice bag; add to saucepot. Cover; simmer 20 minutes. Add pineapple to syrup; simmer until hot throughout. Remove pineapple from syrup; keep hot. Heat syrup just to a boil; remove spice bag. Pack hot pineapple into hot jars, leaving ½ inch headspace. Ladle hot syrup over pineapple, leaving ½ inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process 10 minutes in a boiling-water bath canner.
(many apologies to the group "Foreigner"!)
In the Demonstration Kitchen at located at: 777 E. Rialto Ave, San Bernardino, CA 92415-0730 (between Waterman and Tippecanoe, and Mill St. and 2nd in the San Bernardino County General Services building)
As the warm weather (or warmer weather!) comes upon us, so does canning season. Some people might like to say that a person can preserve and can all the year long, in all seasons. This is true, but for me the Ultimate Canning Season is the summertime and into the fall. The urge to preserve strikes me in force
There are California grown tree fruits: apricots, nectarines, peaches, plums, apriums, pluots, almonds, and various citrus. The bounty of the world is available in other fruits and vegetables: squash (summer and winter), corn, green beans, melons of many varieties, mangoes, broccoli (if you are in a cool area) and other Cole crops, spinach, chard, kale, long beans, bok choy – all sorts of things.
I also like to pick up fruits from ethnic markets, farmers' markets, my garden and neighbors' trees. As the inspiration and taste hits me I can make jams, jellies, preserves, conserves, marmalades and pickles. The same goes for veggies, but these I like to put up in more pure form: corn, green beans, chard or spinach, summer squash, mixed veggies (frozen or canned!), anything that is fresh and reasonably priced or I grew. This summer should provide an abundance of tomatoes and peppers from our garden, so I am hoping to can lots of these.
One summer the canning urge was to learn how to make jam with no added pectin, and indeed, it was so easy that I wonder why I never tried it before. I found a recipe I liked and went at it, and all of my cherry jam was delicious, none was too soft and none set too firm. It was all good. A Question: Does anyone have a source for frozen SOUR cherries in a store in the greater Los Angeles/Southern California area? I would be willing to drive a while to buy them!
Last year was the year of making fruit butter from various fall fruits. There was apple butter from a good mix of apples from our local "destination" apple growing area of Oak Glen, and good fresh cider was used to boil the apples down. Cruising a local ethnic market, I found a tremendous deal on very nice Bartlett pears and they were boiled up and down into butter. The last fruit, quince, was an experiment, as I had never eaten it before, but it turned into a butter just fine and was very delicious to boot!--And what does a quince taste like? I cannot describe it other that it was perfumed and the taste was like a quince, and nothing else; try some, you will like it.
I will leave you with a good basic I just tried for the first time: Vegetable Stock, from The 2014 edition of The Ball Blue Book.
Upon first looking at the following recipe, there was some hesitation on my part; no browning, no spice, what seemed like a LOT of turnips. But upon following the recipe (YES! I did follow the recipe!), I had a quite flavorful, pretty product. After tasting it it think it will be good in a veg onion soup recipe or (of course) to thin out paste in my tomato pasta sauce; maybe I will use it to make some sort of Indian curried lentils or soup. After loading the pressure canner, I tasted the stock out of the kettle (with only the salt I added during cooking) and it was very nice. When I added a bit more salt in my tasting cup, I really liked it. This stock is a nice blend of vegetable flavors, and no one thing dominates, tasty indeed.
Note: Anything bold italicized in square or box brackets - [box] - is my comment about what I did or is exactly how much I used in the recipe by weight
Remember to adjust for your altitude!
Ball Blue Book, 2012
5-6 medium carrots (about 1 lb) [12 oz after trimming]
6 stalks celery [6 oz after trimming]
3 medium onions (about 1 lb)[16 oz, after peeling]
2 medium red bell peppers [8 oz, after trimming and seeding]
2 medium tomatoes, diced [7 oz after coring]
2 medium turnips, diced [one; 15oz after topping, tailing]
3 cloves garlic [½ ozm, peeled, smashed, and chopped]
3 bay leaves [purchase fresh; should be dried but green looking]
1 teaspoon crushed thyme [measured before crushing]
8 peppercorns [16 used]
7 quarts water
[2 tsp salt]
Prep: Wash carrots, celery, peppers, tomatoes, and turnips under cold running water; drain. Remove stem ends from carrots. Cut carrots into 1 inch pieces. Remove leafy tops nd root ends from celery. Cut celery into 1 inch pieces. Cut onions into quarters [large, cut into 6ths]. Remove stems and seeds from peppers. Cut peppers into 1 inch strips. Remove cores and seeds from tomatoes [forgot to remove seeds!]. Coarsely chop tomatoes. Remove stem ends from turnips. Coarsely chop turnips. [Peel and] Crush garlic.
Cook: Combine all ingredients in a large saucepan [or stockpot]. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer (180º F); simmer, covered, for two hours. Uncover saucepan; continue simmering 2 hours. Strain stock through a fine sieve or several layers of cheesecloth. Discard vegetables and herbs [give them to chickens or place in compost pile].
Fill: Ladle hot stock into a hot jar, leaving 1 inch head space. Clean jar rim. Center lid on jar and adjust band to fingertip-tight. Place jar on the rack in the pressure canner containing 2 inches of simmering water (180º F). Repeat until all jars are filled.
Process; Place lid on canner and turn to locked position. Adjust heat to medium-high. Vent steam for 10 minutes. Put weighted gauge on vent; bring pressure to 10 lbs (psi). Process pint jars for 30 minutes or quart jars 35 minutes. Turn off heat; cool canner to zero pressure. After 5 minutes, remove lid. Let jars cool 10 minutes. Remove jars from canner; do not re-tighten bands if loose. Cool 12 hours. Check seals. Label and store jars.