Friday, January 14, 2011

Chicken In a Jar

If you're looking for me today, you'll find me canning 80 pounds of chicken breasts at our big farm table.

An Aside: When we lived in the suburbs of the Phoenix metropolitan area, calling it a "farm table" made all the sense in the world. Now that we live on a little farm, it kind of seems like calling it "Chinese food" in China - don't you think there they probably just call it "food"? Still, it's really long, it's made of wood and there's a bench. It really is a farm table, and for descriptive purposes I've opted to call it that. Just to be clear.

OK, back to the chicken. My sister and I will be canning the chicken today that we got through a bulk order with other community folks yesterday. I don't believe Lynda has canned chicken before; I'm rather looking forward to what I anticipate will be her squeamish reaction. Since she eschews so much of farm life, this should be fun. Of course, if I really wanted to trigger her gag reflex, I'd have her around to butcher our own chickens and prepare them for canning, which I promise you would be a much messier proposition than the clean, trimmed breasts we'll be handling today. Truth be told, I haven't yet had an un-squeamish reaction to butchering day, and we haven't technically had one here on the farm, so I guess my mockery of my sister may be a little hypocritical. Not that I'm going to let that stop me, mind you.

"Hello, Kettle, my name's Pot, and you're black."

In addition to the chicken canning, Adam will be shredding a 40-pound block of cheddar cheese that we'll put in gallon bags for freezing. We were able to get the cheese for about $2 a pound, and the chicken for somewhere around $1.50 per pound or less, so we couldn't pass up the chance to shore up our food supplies.

I was nervous about canned chicken, I'll admit, when my sister-in-law Kammy first mentioned it to me several years ago. Then I tried it and realized it's just like the canned chicken you buy in a store to use in salads and enchiladas and the like. I use ours for those purposes, plus for tostadas, chicken and dumplings, and really anything else I would put shredded chicken in. I can tell you it's a lot more flavorful and a lot less expensive than the store version, and it is the easiest thing that I've canned, so far.

Now excuse me, I need to go get the pressure canner and a bunch of pint jars out of the summer kitchen, then go in search of rings and lids for the jars. I already have my apron on, so really, I'm half-way ready already.

(Remember my promise to have more pictures? Well, ok, if you're going to get technical about it - any pictures? They're coming, soon, I promise. Again.)

Love from the farm,

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