I have canned for more years than I can remember. No matter where I have lived I have always canned vegetables to use throughout the winter. My mother and grandmother taught me how to can but we only did water bath canning. So we did pickles, tomatoes, green beans and peaches. Now that I am older I have learned that I can can so much more if I use a pressure canner. But when I looked into pressure canner I realized how expensive they are new. So I went on a hunt for a good pressure canner at a reasonable price. I asked everyone I know and no one had one. Then we went to our local flea market and went on a search. We looked and looked and didn’t find any. As we were walking back to our car we stopped at a few more stands and wouldn’t you know that we found one at the last stand. The guy was packing up for the day so he made me a wonderful deal. It was a Presco 16 quart pressure canner with all the weights, tray and gauge but needed a new gasket. Well for $20 I knew I couldn’t go wrong. I knew that the local extension office will test pressure canners for free or a small donation. So I bought a new gasket on Amazon for $6 and took it to the extension office. It came back perfect so I was all set.
Now what to can for the maiden voyage. I belong to a Facebook group for canning, Safe Canning by the book on Debbies back porch. A wonderful group to join if you want to learn canning or just want to get some great ideas and methods. Debbie the admin of the group does some wonderful videos on YouTube that give you step by step directions. I for one want someone to show me the first time so i know exactly what I need to do and how things should turn out. I decided I would go through her videos and pick one that I had all the supplies for. Well I decided I would make a go at Chicken Stock. I always save all my drumsticks, back bones, etc from any chicken I get and I had a couple gallon bags of pieces. So I followed her instructions and put them all in my large roaster oven and let them cook for like 10 hours. I then picked out all the chicken and strained the broth that was left. You have to then put the broth in containers and put in the fridge to cool so that you can get all the fat to separate. Once it is cool, you take it back out of fridge and remove all the fat that has settled on the top. Then reheat the broth and prepare your jars. I got really lucky and a friend of mine had a neighbor who no longer wanted to can because it was just her and her husband and it was just to much work for just the two of them. She gifted me with 12-14 dozen canning jars with rings, all wide mouth and a mixture of pints and quarts. What a great gift! So you need to wash all the jars and rings and then I put them in the cleaned out roaster with some water to keep them warm. Now your broth needs to stay warm as you fill the warm jars. At this time I also put 2-3 quarts of water into my pressure canner and turned that on as well. You fill each jar, put the lid on and then hand tighten the ring and load them into the canner one at a time. My canner holds 8 pints at one shot and I only use pint wide mouth jars for stock because you normally only need 1-2 cups for most recipes. Once you have filled the canner with your stock in the jars. You can place the lid on the pressure canner and lock it into place. Let the weight off till it steam out for at least 10 minutes. This allows the canner to build up the pressure that you need to complete the canning process. Once you have reached that step then you place the weight back on and bring the canner up to 11 lb pressure. When it reaches that pressure then set your timer for 20 minutes at 11lb. Once your timer goes off, turn off the heat and let the gauge go to zero to depressurize your canner. When it get to zero, carefully, push on the weight to get the last little steam out, but do that slowly. Remove the lid and take your stock out with the jar lifter. Stock will continue to boil for quite sometime and the lids will pop a couple times. Let the stock sit 12 to 24 hours to set the seal and remove the rings. Wash off the jars in cold water and then I mark the lids.
It does take some time but it can be done over a couple days. It is the best stock I have ever used and super cheap to make.