Sunday, May 1, 2011

Canning Chicken with Re-useable Canning Lids

So I tried canning chicken several weeks ago but I'm only just now getting around to blogging about it. Pesky Spring Break vacations and such have kept me from my blog :)

So I wasn't initially going to bother canning chicken. I already store the store bought chicken in a can, which I don't mind the taste of, and it stretches pretty far. However, curiosity got the better of me as so many people sing the praises of home canning chicken. To make it interesting I decided to can boneless thighs and I used re-usable canning lids.

If you haven't heard of re-usable lids they are made by Tattler and supposedly you can use them over and over rather than having to throw them out after each use like the metal ones. I've been wanting to try them out for awhile because no matter how many lids I store, I'll eventually run out. Re-usable ones seem like a smarter way to go.

To start off, I boiled my lids and their rubber ring, just like you would with regular lids. The white lid you see in the pot is just like the regular metal canning lid, although it's not metal. The red ring you see is a rubber gasket that provides the seal. It is also re-usable.

You do not need to precook the chicken. It will cook as it boils in the canner. I put 1 tsp of chicken bouillon in the bottom of each jar. This is not necessary but I was interested in having really good broth for chicken soup. I cut all the fat off my boneless, skinless thighs, and then put them into the jars. There is no need to add any liquid. You should not pack them down tightly but they cook down quite a bit during the canning process. Next time I will put more in than I did this time. Make sure that you leave an inch of head room though.

Now the jars are ready to go into my canner. You can see in this photo the three jars in front showing the three steps to putting the lids on. First make sure your jar rim is clean. Then put on the rubber gasket. Next place the white lid on top. Finally, put on the metal ring. Tighten as you normally would, then turn BACK a 1/4 turn. That is the only thing that was different about using these lids.

I had my first canning accident as I put in my first jar of chicken. I had no sooner put it in the canner then I heard a giant CRACK! Ugh, the bottle had cracked and the bottom came off completely. It was my own fault, I had let the jars get too cool and then put them in the hot canner. I had to throw that whole jar away. Bummer. I ran hot water on the rest of the jars before putting them in the canner. Thankfully there were no other problems.

Here are my jars of chicken all done hot out of the canner. See that liquid? That is pure chicken broth baby! YUM! Ok, I know it doesn't look that appetizing. In fact my MIL came over, looks very skeptically at my jars and said, "Um, can I ask what that is?" I tried to answer as matter of factly as possible. "It's canned chicken." She said, "But you aren't going to eat it like that?" "Well, you certainly can, it's fully cooked, but I'll most likely be shredding it for enchiladas and such." She responded, "Well, you really are Miss Betty Homemaker aren't you?" LOL! I know we preparedness people look like freaks to the outside world. I'm totally ok with that.

So now for the bad news. I had a 50% fail rate on my re-useable lids. Half of them did not seal. However, I'm pretty sure that this was user error. I think I might have loosened them too much before putting them in the canner. So I'm going to give them another shot because I really like them. I definitely like the whole concept. I've used several jars of chicken since canning them and I just put the lids and rings in the dishwasher, and they are ready to be used again.

Here are a few of the items I have made with my canned chicken. It has been super convenient and really yummy. I absolutely love just grabbing a jar of chicken and using it in meals.

The first thing I made was chicken noodle soup so I used the broth and everything. I just dumped the whole jar into the crockpot and shredded up the chicken. It was really good, flavorful soup.

I also made homemade toquitos. Wow, they were so awesome! Usually these would be a lot more work but all I had to do was drain the chicken, shred it with a fork, and add it to my recipe. Awesome!

Finally tonight we had homemade chicken pot pie. Again, it would have taken a lot longer without the convenience of just grabbing the jar and shredding the chicken. Absolute perfection if I do say so myself. :)

I'm definitely a fan, and will continue to can both hamburger and chicken. I have a date to help my SIL can her meat too so I'm sure that she'll be converted soon as well. I find that the chicken goes a long way. We've only used 3 quart jars so far and we are feeding 8 people. I'm planning my canned meat as part of my 3 month supply since it does need to be rotated regularly. Canned meat expires in about a year.


  1. This canning season I'm planning on canning meat, hopefully I'll be able to score a great deal on a bulk purchase. I agree about the convenience factor but I'm also working on downscaling my freezer space from two to one.

    Will you be giving those Tattlers another try?

  2. I'm very happy to see that you are posting again!

    As to the Tattler failure, I have read some helpful information over at (search under "canning"). It seems she had a similar problem and called the company. "A later conversation clarified this issue. Apparently a lot of canners tighten the rings on their lids before processing. And I mean TIGHTEN. Since Tattler lids need to vent a bit during canning, the instructions are to loosen the rings a quarter-inch before processing. But if the rings are merely finger-tightened - not TIGHTENED, if you know what I mean - then the quarter-inch reversal isn't necessary."

  3. Yes I will be trying the Tattler rings again because I'm fairly certain is was user error. I think that I loosened them too much like the last poster commented. I'll update how it goes...

  4. I love your posts! I bought some Tattler lids last fall but haven't used them yet. An interesting thing I learned from Honeyville Grain this past week at a canning class is that you CAN reuse canning lids as long as the lid and rubber ring aren't dinged or breaking down. Who knew?? I am going to try my used lids to make sure it works. The lady teaching the class said she has been using her used lids for years!

    1. I usually reuse my lids unless they are really icky looking or bent/ scratched. I sometimes have a jar that doesn't seal right but that just goes in the fridge to be used within the week.

  5. Hi! I found your blog after googling for Wonder Ovens.

    Now I have a question about your canned chicken. I made my first batch several months ago and as I open the jars to use them, some of them have a tiny spot of black (what looks like mold?) on the underside of the lid. They are all sealed well, the food looks fine and smells fine, but I have been tossing the ones with the black. Have you experienced this?

  6. Nikko,

    I have not had black specs but I would be pretty concerned about that. I'm not a canning expert by any means so you should call your local extension office. They are so helpful, you can probably even bring in a jar and let them take a look at it. I can't think what it could be besides mold so that is scary, and you definitely don't want to take a chance with your family's health.

    I would love to hear back from you what you find out.

  7. The poster who said you can reuse lids would be correct by old timers standards, by the book peoples would say no never, but I reuse my lids for pickles, jams and boiling water bath method, but use new ones for pressure canning. This would be a good place to start on for replacing with the tattlers. The black spots- my ball book says that it's just a natural deposit from the food and is not unsafe.

  8. Did you use a waterbath canner or pressure canner? Also, how long did you leave it in the canner?

    Your jar definitely broke because of the temperature variation between the glass and the jars. If you used a waterbath canner, you can put the jars in the water, and then bring to a boil, keeping the jars from breaking.

    Great post! Thanks for sharing. I am looking for more canning ideas like this, being that a full time job is hard to find in this current economy. Keep sharing!

  9. Hey Hannah, you definitely can NOT use a waterbath canner to can meats. They must be pressure canned. Temperatures and times vary by your elevation so be sure to consult a canning guide.

  10. I agree with the above comment. You should probably mention this in your post. People need to know they can get sick and die if meat (or any other low acid food) is canned by a water bath canner. Definitely needs a pressure cooker. If I missed where you had this in your post I apologize.

    And very cool. I have not ventured into pressure canning yet. A little bit scared. You have inspired me though.

  11. Thank you for the detailed instructions and opinions! And thank you, thank you, thank you for the Elder Vaughn J. Featherstone quote to the side. I so needed that! I had been fasting and praying for a way to build up my food storage and that quote was so needed for me.

    I have never canned in my life but am wanting to start. I feel the need to start canning soon and this post was very helpful. Thank you!

  12. My understanding is that larger jars should not be used for meat as the internal temp won't reach 250 even with more pressure or time. I am by no means an expert, just sharing what I read in the Ball book. They state that jars larger than a pint won't allow the heat to penetrate all the way through.