This week found a couple of pretty good sales at my grocery. My order included four family-size packs of chicken thighs and three boneless chuck roasts, weighing about 4 lbs. each. I also ordered potatoes, carrots, onions and two 1 lb. bags each of corn and peas.
The chicken went into a couple of stock pots and were boiled until they were falling-off-the-bone tender. Once they cooled, I stripped the meat from the bones and chopped it into 1/2 - 1 inch pieces. While the chicken cooked, I chopped the potatoes, carrots and onions into 1/2 inch pieces. All the vegetables were put into a large bowl and mixed.
I put 1/2 cup of chicken in the bottom of pint jars and added 1 cup of mixed vegetables to each. I covered that with broth from cooking the chicken. There wasn't enough broth, so I got three quarts from my shelves that I had canned last year, to finish filling the jars. I pressure canned this at 10 lbs. pressure (for my altitude) for 75 minutes. I wound up with 31 pints of chicken vegetable soup, having one jar that broke during the canning process.
I had leftover vegetables, so I packed them into pint jars, added water to 1 inch below the rim and processed these for 55 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure. When canning mixed vegetables, the vegetable that requires the longest processing time dictates how long to process. In this case, the corn required the longest time. I got 16 pints of mixed vegetables.
The beef was cut into about 1 inch cubes and packed into jars. When canning raw meat I don't add any liquid. That is a personal preference. Liquid, either water or broth, can be added. I just like the taste and texture better when I can raw meat without. If the meat is cooked before canning, then it is necessary to add liquid. I got 10 pints of beef cubes from the three roasts.
There was some chicken left over, so I packed it into 3 half pint jars and added broth. The chicken was processed right along with the beef at 10 lbs. pressure for 75 minutes. The smaller jars of chicken, when drained, make good sandwiches.
I also got a dozen bell peppers that were on sale. Those I cleaned and cut into about 1 inch pieces. They went into the dehydrator. I have found that the skin on bell peppers doesn't rehydrate well - it stays sort of tough. So when dry, I will run the peppers through the food processor, turning them into powder. I can add the powder to various dishes to have the flavor of the peppers without the bothersome tough skins.
We have snow in the forecast for this evening and tomorrow. I wanted to get this canning done before, even though the forecast is for only 4 to 6 inches of the white stuff. But here in Minnesota, you never know. This same forecast has brought only a few flakes or it has been known to bring a surprise blizzard. Whatever happens, my canning this week is done and I can sit in my rocking chair by the window, coffee cup within reach, a good book in hand, and green fuzzy blanket snuggled up to my neck. Do whatever you want, Mother Nature. I'm ready. :)
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