How to Pressure Can Bone Broth
I recently purchased a pressure canner for myself for Christmas and I can't believe I didn't invest in one 5 years ago. A whole new world of canning has opened up for me; meats and veggies and low acid foods galore! I've been canning more broths and soups in the last four weeks than the wife of a 1930's farmer would have preserved in September and October combined! Okay maybe that's a bit of an exaggeration but I've certainly been canning more than any sane person would care to and I've got it down to a science. At least as far as bone broth goes. In my last two posts, I told you about how to make bone broth and all about the history of portable soup. You can find those three posts here and here and here. Now, I'm going to tell you how to pressure can all of this wonderful broth that I know you're definitely swimming in by now.
You will need:
- A Pressure Canner (This is the one I use so the directions are geared toward this type of canner (dial gauge): Presto 1755 16-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner)
- Ball mason jars
- Clean rings and new lids
- Canning rack
-A spatula or butter knife
-optional (but highly advised): vinegar, a jar lifter, a funnel
1. Sanitize your jars. The easiest way is to use a dishwasher if yours has a sanitize option. If you do not own a dishwasher or just want to get it done quickly you can simmer a large pot of water on the stove and let your jars sit in the water for 10-15 minutes. I highly recommend getting a jar lifter to avoid any broken glass or painful burns. It's definitely worth the $5-6 investment, especially if you're planning on doing a lot of canning. You can find one online here: Norpro 600 Jar Lifter. Contrary to popular belief, you do not want to sanitize the lids this way as overheating them would weaken the gasket and prevent proper sealing, putting you at risk for serious foodborne illness. Instead, take new lid out of the package and simply wash them by hand in warm, soapy water. DO NOT reuse canning jar lids, they will not seal correctly and your food will not be preserved properly.
2. While you are sanitizing your jars you can start heating up the water in your pressure canner. You cannot use a water bath canner to can broth because you cannot raise the temperature of the water high enough. Fill the canner with 3" of water and put the lid on. The jars do not need to be covered with water like in a water bath canner. To prevent cloudy calcium deposits on the jars you can add a couple TBS of vinegar to the water.
3. Pour your bone broth in the jars, leaving an inch of headspace at the top. I like to do this right after I'm done making the broth. This way it is still hot and even if I don't can them right away they are already in jars ready to go in the fridge. Do not can jars of broth that came right out of the fridge; you have to let them heat up a bit first or the drastic temperature change could damage the jar. Once you have your jars filled, run a small spatula or butter knife around the inside of the jar to dislodge any air bubbles. Then, wipe off any broth that may have dripped on the rim with a wet cloth and put your clean lids on, tightening the rings with just your fingers.
4. Once the water in your canner is at least simmering, place your jars in the canner with a canning rack or a jar lifter. Having some sort of a rack in the bottom of your canner is a must as you do not want the jars to come in direct contact with the canner. Most pressure canners come with a rack but if you do not have one you can lay extra rings down to cover the bottom of the canner and then place a dishtowel over them. Once all of your jars are in the canner, put the lid back on and make sure it is fully locked in place. Make sure your stovetop is set on high heat. Soon, you will see a steady v-shaped flow of steam exhausting out of the vent. Allow this to happen for at least 10 minutes.
5. Once 10 minutes has passed, place the weight on top of the vent and watch the pressure climb on the gauge. Broth needs to be canned at 10 pounds of pressure. I like to keep it at 11 just to be safe. Keep a close eye on it and regulate the heat as needed. Once 10 pounds is achieved, start your time. Pints of broth should be canned for 20 minutes and quarts for 25. If you have both pints and quarts use the longer time, its always better to do it a little too long than not long enough. If at any time the pressure drops below 10 pounds you will have to start the time over again.
If you are a higher altitude than 1,000 ft you will have to increase the pounds of pressure you are using. See the chart below (courtesy of Ball) for conversions:
6. Once the 20 or 25 minutes has passed, turn off the heat and allow the canner to start cooling. You may move the canner if you want but I do not suggest it as it will be heavy and you do not want to risk dropping it. Do not open the vent, do not force the canner to cool down in any way, including running it under cold water. The cool down time is included in canning time and if it does not happen on its own your food may not be preserved correctly. Once the pressure has reached zero, then you can open the vent and remove the lid. Be very careful to lift the lid away from you so you do not get a steam burn as the water will still be very hot. Remove the lid as soon as you can. Do not let the jars sit in the canner as this could lead to improper preservation or loss of liquid. Remove the jars from the water and leave them alone for 12 hours. Once this time has passed, check to make sure the centers of all the lids have popped down. If you can press your thumb on the lid and it moves, it was not sealed properly. Simply place it in the fridge and be sure to use it within a couple of days.
Variation with added meat and vegetables:
You can add meat or vegetables to your broth before you can it. To do this simply make soup like normal, making sure the meat and vegetables are cooked. If you are using the meat from your bone broth, it will definitely be adequately cooked already. Resist the urge to use seasoning, the flavor will be intensified by the canning and you can always add it when you go to use it. I like to use just a little bit of salt and pepper. Do not use any dairy or grains in your soup; these products cannot be pressure canned and may put you at risk for foodborne illness. This means do not saute your veggies in butter first or do not add rice or noodles to your soup. These items can be added later. Simply fill your jars with the hot soup and follow the directions above. IMPORTANT: if using anything except broth, the time at pressure increases from 20-25 minutes to 1 hour 15 minutes for pints and 1 hour 30 minutes for quarts.
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