Friday, March 3, 2017

Canning Sweet & Sour Chicken

I like to keep some heat and serve meals on hand for days I am busy and don't want to spend time cooking.  I have had this recipe in my files for a long time - so long I don't recall where I found it.  I had all the ingredients on hand so I decided to give it a try. This is the original recipe.

Sweet and Sour Chicken

5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut in bite sized pieces
3 large green peppers chopped
2 large onions chopped
3 (20 oz) cans pineapple chunks drained, reserve juice

3/4 cup brown sugar
1 1/4 cups white vinegar
6 tablespoons soy sauce
4 tablespoons ketchup
1 tsp ginger

Layer the chicken, onions, peppers and pineapple in quart jars.
Heat the brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce, ketchup, ginger, and 3 cups of pineapple juice (add water if there is not enough) and bring to a light boil until the sugar is dissolved.
Pour liquid over the solids in the jar to the fill line.
Pressure can for 90 minutes at 10 lbs pressure or according to your elevation.

I did a couple of things differently.  I used frozen chicken breast, so I thawed it, cut it up and stir-fried the pieces in a little bit of oil until they were just cooked through.  You can use raw chicken, but when I have canned raw chicken before, the juices sort of become glued to the inside of the jar during the canning process.  I didn't want that to happen.

I used pint jars rather than quarts.  I had to double the sauce in order to have enough.  I had ordered a few cans of pineapple juice in case I needed more sauce and that worked out well.  By using the canned juice, I didn't need to open more cans of pineapple just for the juice.

Because I used pint jars instead of quarts, the processing time was 75 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure.

If you expect this recipe to look like the take-out sweet & sour chicken from the Chinese deli, you will be disappointed.  The chicken and pineapple chunks take on a brownish color during canning.  The onions and peppers are softer than regular stir-fry.  I used a little cornstarch in water to thicken the sauce while heating it up and served it over rice.  If you can get past the color changes, the taste is excellent.

It is good to have jars of quick and easy meals on hand.  This is a  nice change from the usual soups I can.  I got 15 pints from this recipe, doubling the amount of sauce.  If by chance there is sauce left over, it can be water bath canned for 15 minutes.  I will be canning at least one more batch.


  1. sounds delish.
    i don't care what a thing looks like as long as i know what's in it and it tastes right.
    good to have you to test it.
    having half the necessary sauce would be really irritating, especially if time was short!

    1. I am not fussy about how most food looks as long as it tastes good. But some are put off by change in color. I always test what I cook or can before posting the recipe. If I don't like it, I expect others will not. I have been caught short more than once while canning. Now I just make sure I have extra ingredients on hand. Even if I don't need the extra this time, I know I will use it eventually. :)

  2. What time do you want us to be there??? I'll bring the chocolate cake for dessert! :o)

    1. CM...I'm gonna open a jar of the sweet & sour chicken over the weekend. But you might want to show up tonight. Oldest Son is making lasagna and he says he will share!!
      Really? Chocolate cake? With maybe fudge frosting? I need a drool bib just thinking about it. :)

  3. Sounds very yummy.
    SJ in Vancouver

    1. SJ...It did turn out better than I thought it would. It is a nice change of pace. :)

  4. I like sweet and sour chicken, but I like it with lots of garlic and no pineapple. I guess that's kind of weird......

    1. No, that's not weird, Harry. That's called being an individual. It would be a pretty boring world if we all liked the exact same foods cooked in the exact same way. Like when you wrote about adding to the Bear Creek soup mixes. I like to make up my own soup mixes using my dehydrated foods and home canned meats. I suppose there are those who would consider that a bit weird, but I look at it as adding variety to my preps.

  5. Sounds like we will have to try this for dinner one night.

  6. Rob...I like the way this recipe turned out. It is nice to have it in jars on the shelf for a quick meal.