Pressure Canner (homesteading necessity, chicken stock recipe, and buying only what you need)

We are slowly building our life and items we need back up.  We just purchase what we need as cash allows.  Last night we joyfully added to the cart a few imperative homesteading items.  A pressure canner (when the lid is off it’s a water bath canner), jars, stock pot, and canning gear.

First things first, chicken stock.  I am shocked at how much organic stock costs.  Here is my recipe for it should you need it from a prior blog post.

Click here for recipe

I am heading to my Great Aunt Donna’s for rhubarb this weekend.  And the hunt is on for everything I can get my hands on to can.  Rows of organic canned goods are amazing to have on hand any time of the year, goodness without listeria, E Coli, or whatever the heck else is in our food system.  Great, delicious, wonderful home grown food….oh, I am getting carried away.  Stock, that is where I was at…

My old pantry

A Rooster In The Kitchen Part 2 (canning broth)

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Elizabeth: “Why did you soak him in milk?  Who told you to do that?”

Me: “I don’t know.  I heard that you soak game in milk.”

Elizabeth: “Roosters aren’t game!”

Me: “Oh.”

My homesteading friends are invaluable to me.  They are not only avid supporters of what I do, but great sources of knowledge and delightful to be around.  I am lucky to live in an area saturated with an eclectic blend of old hippies, old ranchers, young homesteaders, and back to the landers.  They may look at me and shake their heads when I do something like soak a rooster in milk, but they are also proud of what I do on this little farm.  I am just thirty plus years behind on my learning about how to cook meat.  My friend, Addie, also confirmed that soaking it in anything was a no-no.  Just leave it in the fridge for a few days.  Fresh kill makes it harder to cook correctly.  Elizabeth mentioned that what I should have done is what she and her grandmothers do, stuff him with garlic and herbs and maybe some stuffing and roast him slow all day.  I soaked and boiled the heck out of him and ruined him.  No wonder he was slimy!  After writing this, my homesteading friends came out of the woodwork that do indeed eat roosters.

But, he wasn’t a total loss.  I got six quarts of delicious, organic chicken broth out of the ordeal.  After stewing him for five hours with onion and garlic and handfuls of herbs, I had a delightful pot of broth.  I poured them into hot quart jars after straining it through cheesecloth, replaced the lid, and set the jars in the pressure canner.

Fill the pressure canner with three inches of water.  Place the jars in and secure the top of the pressure canner.  Use all the weights, 15 lbs. of pressure, no matter what your altitude.  Turn burner on high and when the top starts ticking (used to sound like an approaching bomb to me, now sounds like salsa music), start shaking your hips and time 25 minutes.  When that is done, let the steam completely dissipate and the valve come down, then carefully open the lid and savor your jars of chicken broth.

Note: It takes a bit of time to pressure can but in my laziness, I have attempted to freeze in freezer bags (the bag ripped when I pulled it from the others), froze it in canning jars (the jars can break), and left in the refrigerator sure that I would get to it soon.  Just can it.  Then you have it!

Note 2: And for heaven’s sake don’t soak the rooster in milk!