Canning Season Isn't Over: Canning Chicken Soup

Many people think once autumn's apples and pears are canned, canning season is over. But the truth is, you can can all year long! If you have a pressure canner, you're smart to save the canning of seafood, poultry, and meat until the rush of produce disappears from the garden or farmer's market. Fall and winter are also an excellent time to can staples like chili, stew, and soup.

In my house, chicken soup is on the agenda. We've just about used up the chicken soup I canned last year. This staple food is far superior to anything you can buy in a store and is especially popular when we get the inevitable winter colds. Chicken soup is also easy to can - you may even already have all the ingredients on hand.

By the way, you may notice there are no noodles in this recipe. This is because canned noodles turn to mush. Adding noodles may also make this recipe more prone to food spoilage. If you want noodles in your chicken soup, add them when warming the soup up before serving. But really, you don't need them. The soup is delicious as is, and if you're sick, the last thing you want to do is lower your immune system by eating simple carbs.

What You Need:
Pressure canner
Canning jars (I like to use pint jars for this recipe because one pint is equal to one serving)
Canning lids and screw bands
Jar lifter
Large stainless steel pot
Cutting board
Plastic or wooden handled utensil
Funnel (optional)
Cooling rack or bath towel

16 cups chicken or beef stock (store bought, or make your own)
3 cups diced, cooked chicken breast
1 1/2 cups sliced celery
1 1/2 cups sliced carrots
1 cup diced onion

How to Do It:
1. Begin by reviewing the general procedure for pressure canning.

2. Fill the pressure canner with water, according to the manufacturer's directions. There's usually a line on the side of the canner to show how high the water should reach.

3. Place the canner on a large burner, under medium high heat. Keep the canning jars hot by placing them inside the canner.

4. In a large stainless steel pot, combine stock, chicken, celery, carrots, and onions. Bring to a boil over medium heat.

5. Reduce heat and gently boil for about half an hour. Add salt and pepper to taste.

6. One jar at a time, ladle the hot soup into a hot canning jar. A funnel makes this job less messy. Be sure to leave 1 inch of head space (the amount of space between the top of the jar and the top of the soup inside the jar). Using the handle of a plastic utensil (like a large spoon), remove air bubbles by moving the handle in an up and down direction.

78. Wipe the rim of the jar with a clean towel. Center one lid on top of the jar top and screw on a band. The band should only be "finger tip tight." Place the jar in the pressure canner.

8. Repeat steps 7 and 8 until all the jars are filled.

9. Adjust the water level of the canner, if needed, so it meets the manufacturer's mark on the inside. Lock the lid in place. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. When steam begins coming from the vent, wait 10 minutes. Then process pint jars for 75 minutes and quart jars for 90 minutes.

10. Turn off the heat and allow the pressure on the canner to return to zero. Wait 3 more minutes, then carefully remove the pressure canner lid so it opens away from you. Let the jars sit in the canner with the lid off for 10 minutes, then remove and place jars on a cooling rack. Allow to cool overnight before moving or touching.

* NOTE: If you live at a high altitude, read this important information about adjusting canning times.


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