Monday, March 21, 2011

Canning Homemade Stocks

With the recent catastrophic earthquake and tsunami in Japan, my Mister and I decided that we need to be better prepared for when the next "big one" hits. Living near the Pacific Ocean (less than an hour), we are constantly being reminded that it's only a matter of time before the fault lines shift and we could be looking at the same kind of devastation as Japan.

I know that we're not as ready as we would like to be.

The likelihood of us taking in displaced neighbors and family is pretty high; we have a large house and my Mister is an emergency nurse. Our house also sits high up on a hillside. We preserve most of our food and are accustomed to buying in bulk. If I were running away from a large amount of water or needing to hole up somewhere to wait things out, I would run to a place much like ours.

Good for the neighbors, but it means that we need to think BIGGER.

I'm not a pessimist. I'm an optimist with life experience.

So, what do we start with? For one, we are going to start cleaning out the freezers. A generator can only keep the freezers running as long as the gas supply holds out. I'll be using some of the fruits in jams that can be canned. Some of the meats will be made into soups and chili, and will end up on the pantry shelf. And the broths that I have been freezing will from now on be nestled in next to the canned beans.

Canning broth is simple. It does require a pressure canner, so if you don't own one, I suggest this be something you purchase in the near future. As a homesteader, this is one of our basic necessities. In the event of a power outage, we can use the pressure canner on a propane camp stove if needed. A pressure canner must be used to preserve any food that has a low acidity. Most fruits can be canned in a water bath canner, but meats, fish, most vegetables, soups/stews/chili, and broths need to be pressure canned. Without it, sickness can occur.

There are a lot of methods for canning broth out there, but I'm using the Ball Blue Book method, which has the most recent updates.

Here's how...

Prepare your broth. If you're new to making stock, here's how I make my beef stock. Chicken stock is similar, but I use the stove and a large stock pot. It also takes less time; anywhere from 12-24 hours.
Chicken stock on the stove

After cooling and straining the broth, pour back into the stock pot. Heat to boiling; turn down heat to simmer.

Pour hot broth into clean, HOT jars. Only do what you have room for, leave the remaining broth simmering on the stove until ready to can.

Add sea salt if desired. I use 1/2 t. for pints, 1 t. for quarts.

Wipe the rims with a towel.

Place hot lids on jars, screw down tight with metal rings.

Put jars in a pressure canner.

Some pressure canners are double stacking. If you are in the market for a canner, I highly recommend one of these; it saves a lot of time.
Double stackers come with a separator

Pour 2-3 quarts of very hot water into the canner. Place lid on top and tighten down.

Follow the manufacturer's directions for using your pressure canner.

Bring the pressure up to 10 lbs.; process pints for 20 minutes, quarts for 25.

Turn off heat and let the pressure fall back down to 0. It's very important to not open the pressure canner until all of the pressure is gone. Before opening, remove the shuttlecock to make sure that it's all out. (Only when the gauge reads 0.)

Remove hot jars from canner; place in a draft-free area on towels. Cover with a towel and allow to cool slowly. The lids will start making popping sounds to show that they are sealing.

I love it when my jars talk back!

Make sure to label the jars with the flavor of stock~chicken and beef stock can be very similar in color, depending on the length of time it cooked and the ingredients used in the stock.

I don't salt all of my stock, so I make sure to label the ones that I have.

Store in a cool, dark place. 

This post is linked to the Homestead Barn Hop
and Carnival of Home Preserving at Laura William's Musings


Anonymous said...


Anita said...

I am ordering a pressure canner this week! We have been freezing most everything, but dh wants us to can and dehydrate now. We have been making granola in the dehydrator and loving it. This past weekend we dried mushrooms. This week we will be working on potatoes. Thanks for the tutorial! I stopped over from the Barn Hop!

Kris said...

Kim, you sound like me. I do all my own stocks too. I just made several quarts not long ago. And good for you for thinking of others. You are a good person. I wish you were my neighbor!

Jill @ The Prairie Homestead said...

I SO wish I had a pressure canner! I have to store my broth in the freezer, and it takes up so much room... Maybe someday!
And I couldn't agree more- the situation in Japan has also caused us to become much more urgent and aware of our own state of preparedness. Thanks for sharing this at the Homestead Barn Hop!

Megan @ Restoring the Roost said...

Wow this is really informative! I really want to start making some of my own stock. Thanks for sharing!

Audrey said...

Hi Kim, you've got me thinking:) living off grid leaves limited space as well. My grandmother used to can chicken, beef & fish using the water method (only for 5 hours or something) and stored it in the cold room. Pressure canners freak me out! Maybe I'll ask a friend to come over and show me her pressure canner? How does April sound to you? :) I think if we lived within a reasonable drive from each other that I'd be over for coffee all the time! When (Lord willing) we go back to California for a visit we will have to stop by...thanks for the info.

Audrey said...

...I just told Joshuah how many children you have and showed him how many potatoes you cook for your family and he replied, "it would be like this mommy - hey you, don't climb that, hey you, stop drawing on the wall, hey you, don't do that.. ahhhhh" I had to laugh! I told him that's life with two!

Kim said...

Audrey~Pressure canners aren't what they used to they have safety screws to tighten the lid! My first one was really old and scared me so much that I only used it when my hubby or mother in love were around! :)

It sounds like Joshuah is very wise! That's exactly what it's like most days~the word "don't" is the most used word in our house, followed by the word "why?" LOL

You just let me know when you're passing thru and I'll have the coffee waiting!

Anonymous said...

Inviting you the Carnival of Home Preserving on my blog today and every Friday. Hope to see you there. Laura Williams’ Musings