Today I canned 8 pints of chicken stock and chicken soup.
I prefer my own canned stock and soup. The main flavor of commercial stocks are salt, and I just don’t tolerate salt like I once did. I have never tolerated tasteless soups in my kitchen.
A few years ago I started using whole broiled chicken instead of raw chicken in my soup stock. I like the flavor it adds, but for some recipes I would make fresh stock from plain chicken.
I make these pints of chicken soup for use when I am short on time and want a tasty soup in short order. Another benefit is that I don’t have to make so much soup at one time. One pint of base gives me about two bowls of soup, and can be my main meal or feed a couple people with salads or sandwiches. I like the versatility.
Making my own stock also allows me to vary the recipes from chicken noodle, chicken and rice, homemade rice-a-roni, alfredo, and so on. Because I use it so many ways, I line the jars up and starting with no meat on the left to mostly meat on the right, I add a little more meat to each jar until I have a lot of variation. I tend to save the pure stock and full chicken for special recipes requiring that, but everything in the middle is what I use most. Very light chicken for rice-a-roni for a little extra protein, for example.
I can about 24 pints of chicken soup a year, and they are good for at least 3 years. If I catch a sale on broiled chicken, I buy as many as my schedule permits for canning. You can freeze them until you are ready, but I think it is better to create stock and can right away for maximum quality.
Remembering that every batch is different, and based on what I have laying around, this batch has lemon, peppercorns, onion, garlic, carrot, and celery. My next batch will drop the lemon and add dried New Mexico chile. The third batch will have mostly vegetables. If I do more than 3 batches, I usually lean toward vegetables, but now that I am making hooch, I will likely run a batch or two with a wine base.
Be sure to label your base with its basic ingredients and use cheesecloth to strain particles out of the stock. I remove the chicken and put it in the sterilized jars when it starts falling off the bones. I keep the jars lightly capped inside the refrigerator. I return the bones to the stock and continue to cook. I reduce the stock to get maximum flavor in my pint, but can it at whatever point serves your cooking style.
I made my stock plain when I was younger with better taste buds and cooked for young children. At 61 I go for more flavor for me and my guests.
I do not use recipes, as such. I never add salt to my stock, and that helps me know if the base has flavor. After it is going for a bit, taste it. If it isn’t good without salt, add more vegetables, onion, garlic, or spices.
If you think it sounds hard, it isn’t. Buy a can of commercial stock. Nothing you make will be bad in comparison, I promise. Your stock will have chicken, spices, and vegetables! Commercial stock has water, salt, and food coloring and we can’t be sure what else!
Always pressure can meat and broths using the book that came with your pressure canner, or the latest Ball canning guide. This is one area where old directions are not the best.
I look forward to making soup stock from my own chickens and produce. I love this property and creating a food forest refuge for myself and wildlife. Canning is one way to preserve the bounty for winter use.
I remember my mom had all her canning recipes as did all the ladies around. Did I collect recipes and save them? Nah, I make it up as I go. I do recommend making your own soup stock, though, it makes a world of difference. Might be fun to learn French cooking, for hooch use.