Canning the stock let’s you preserve it a long time without taking up valuable freezer space. I don’t know about you, but I would rather use my freezer space for pizza rolls.
Let’s start with the gear. I have a big a** Mirro pressure canner. I like this one because it’s stupid big (22 quarts) and I can put two layers of jars in it and also because it has 3 different weights instead of a gauge. Oh, and you can pressure food in it too!
You’ll also need a pressure canner kit. Do you need it need it? Yeah, I would say so. That water gets really hot and so do the jars. It just makes it easy to do what you need to do.
Big note here, you cannot can stock in a water bath. The only safe way to pressure low acid foods is with a pressure canner. Period.
So the jars, lids, and bands – You don’t need to boil them or anything special. Give them a wash up with warm soapy water and rinse well. Don’t take my word for it, Ball says it. You know, Ball, the canning peeps. Don’t believe me? Take a look for yourself. If your process is over 10 minutes you’re golden. Now, you will want to take care with your jars. If you’re putting hot stuff in a cold jar you run the risk of breaking it, and vise versa. Keep that in mind.
I warm the jars in a 200° oven and reheat my chilled stock until it’s just warm.
HERE’S HOW I DO IT
I fill my pressure canner with 2.5 quarts of water and add 3 tablespoons of vinegar. The vinegar prevents discoloration of your canner.
Fill the warm jars with the warm stock, leaving 1 inch of head space in the jar. I use my handy dandy bubble remover that comes with the canning kit, to remove any bubbles that may have been in there. I put the lids on and screw it on finger tip tight, that is, snug it down firmly, but not as tight as possible.
Also, just a side note here, in case you didn’t know, the ring is not for the sealing of the jar. That’s the job of the lid. But if you don’t have the ring, the lid won’t stay on before it gets a chance to seal. You can actually take the ring off of your jar after it’s sealed and cooled. If properly sealed, the lid will stay sealed without the ring. Some people say it’s a good way to measure if your jar contents have lost their seal and gone bad. You will be able to visualize the lid being not sealed, whereas if you leave the ring on, it’s snugged down. You can’t visualize it being not sealed.
Back to the scheduled program…
I then add my jars in two layers. I lock the lid and put the burner on high. When you see steam jetting out of the top, let the steam come out for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, put your weight on and start your time. I pressured for 25 minutes for my quart size jars at 10 pounds of pressure. If you’re using pint size jars, you pressure for 20 minutes.
Let your pressure come down naturally until the red button on the handle goes down. This means it is no longer under pressure and is safe to open. Actually, you can’t unlock it even if you wanted to. This canner has a safety lock on it that won’t open while it’s under pressure. See? You can relax. It’s safe.
I used my handy dandy canning tongs, again, which come in the canning kit, to remove the jars and let them cool a bit. When cool, you need to check your lids to make sure they are in fact snug. And please, please put a label and date on these things. You really want to know what it is and when you processed it.
If you have the new Mirro pressure canner, as I do, the weight will not jiggle. It won’t do anything. I called the Mirro folks and this is what they said. They said steam may come out of the weight 2 or 3 times a minute, but that’s the most you’re gonna get. My manual said nothing of the sort and when I mentioned this to her she said they were aware of that. The manual that comes with the pressure canner is outdated and they haven’t put out a new one. Please follow your pressure canner’s guidelines. These are for the new Mirro. If you own a pressure canner, I’m sure you’re familiar with the instructions. If not, educate!
For those of you who don’t have a pressure canner or are too afraid to use one, I have a freezer tip for you. I have done this so it works but I can’t promise no breakage because, well, glass will be glass, but here is the method-
I put my stock in canning jars without shoulders. That is a straight sided jar. Leave 2 inches of head space. You need to give that stock some room. I then put them in the fridge for 24 hours. After 24 hours I move them to the freezer and loosen the lids. This gets them from room temperature, to fridge cool, and then freezer in steps so it doesn’t shock the glass. After they’re frozen I go back and snug the lids down (and make sure they haven’t exploded in my freezer).
Let’s use that carcass people!!!