Lest I give off the impression that I “have it all together,” let me assure you that I do not.
Case in point? Menu planning.
I know menu planning is a great idea. And it saves loads of time. And prevents tons of stress. And makes grocery shopping easier… But in 6 years of marriage, I have yet to make a meal plan and stick with it for more than about… say… a week.
Seriously. And it’s not for lack of trying.
So for the time being, I am choosing to focus on other areas of my life (like making sure the toddler doesn’t rearrange the furniture and the baby stays fed and clean…) and I am letting go of my dream of an elaborate menu.
But that’s all fine and dandy until it’s 4:30 pm and I have zero supper ideas and all my ingredients are still rock-hard frozen in the freezer…
Some of my favorite cooking staples like pinto beans and broth are low-acid foods. This means that you can’t safely use a water bath canner to preserve them. But, a pressure canner will do the job with no problem.
I’m loving having ready-to-go pantry staples at my disposal for the first time in years (I stopped buying their store-bought counterparts a long time ago).
If you are nervous about using a pressure canner, don’t be! It’s not as intimidating as you think. In fact, I’ve put together a 3-part mini-series showing you exactly what you need to know to prevent random explosions. (Just kidding– explosions are rare…)
So, read through the How to Pressure Can tutorials, then grab a chicken carcass or some beef bones, and let’s get to work!
How to Pressure Can Homemade Stock/Broth
- A pressure canner (I love my All-American Canner!)
- Pint or quart sized canning jars
- Matching lids and rings
- Beef or poultry bones
- Veggies for the stock (Onions, carrots, celery, garlic, etc)
- Seasonings for the stock (black pepper, fresh or dried thyme, rosemary, sage, etc)
- Apple cider vinegar
- A large stock pot or crockpot
Since I’ve already done a more in-depth beef stock tutorial, I won’t go into a lot of details here. Check it out for full instructions on using your slow cooker to make stock (it applies to chicken/turkey stock, too). Homemade stock is a beautiful thing- it’s frugal, infinitely more healthy than the psuedo-stuff at the store, and tastes heavenly!
Quick Stock Instructions:
Place your beef bones or poultry bones in a large stockpot or slow cooker. (I used one of my big pots for this, since my slow cooker gives me smaller amounts of stock and I wanted to make a full batch for my pressure canner.)
Add in various veggies that you have hanging around- even the slightly wilted ones. Toss in your favorite seasonings and a sprinkle of salt and black pepper. (There’s really no “wrong” way to do this…) Add 1-2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (this helps leach all the good stuff out of the bones). Cover with cold water and bring to a simmer, or set your crockpot on low.
Allow the stock to simmer anywhere from 8-24 hours. Skim off any impurities that may rise to the surface. When I use my slow cooker, I let it go over night. When using my range, I start it in the morning and pull it off after supper.
Strain the stock into glass containers and allow to cool in the fridge. The fat will rise to the top and harden. Be sure to skim it off before you proceed to the pressure canning step. (This is a two day process for me.)
Pressure Canning the Finished Stock
Pour your cooled, skimmed stock back into a large, clean stockpot and bring to a boil.
Get your pressure canner heating up as you prepare your jars and equipment. (Again, a full, in-depth tutorial on pressure canning can be found HERE.)
Once the stock has reached a full boil, ladle it into the hot jars. (You may use quarts or pints. I prefer pint-sized since most of my recipes call for smaller quantities.)
Leave 1″ headspace. Seal jars and place in the pressure canner.
Process pints 20 minutes at 10 pounds pressure OR process quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
**Important Note** Depending on your altitude, you may need to process this at a higher pressure. Since we are at high altitude, I can everything at 15 pounds of pressure. Check your canner’s owner’s manual for details.
Once the processing time is complete, remove the jars from the canner and allow to cool completely. Enjoy using your frugal, nutritious, ready-to-go broth in all of your favorite recipes!
Home canned stock… It’s a beautiful thing!