A few years ago we wrote a 3-part series on pressure canning stock.  Whenever I talk about pressure canning I usually have one of two reactions:

  1. Curiosity – many people aren’t sure what it is or why you would do it.
  2. Minor fear or intimidation – people are scared that it’s very technical.

Let’s start with the first point.  Pressure canning allows you to preserve food under higher heat than a typical waterbath.  This allows you to preserve low-acid food such as vegetables that aren’t pickled, stocks, soups and other low-acid food.  It requires the use of a specialized piece of equipment (a pressure canner) that adds an expense (they are generally around or above $100).

As far as intimidation, there’s not a much to fear other than the unknown.  Pressure canners come with instructions and are easy to use.

This article isn’t about how to can stock (you can click the link above for that) but rather insight into how easy it can be to make and preserve stock.  We made 4.5 quarts (liters) of stock this week.  The process took 24 hours and involved about 20-25 minutes of actual work.

Here’s how we did it:

Night 1

  1. As I cooked dinner, I roasted two frozen chicken carcasses for the stock.  I roasted garlic in the pot at the same time.  This took less than a minute of active work.
  2. I placed 1 onion, 3 carrots, pepper, 2 bay leaves, the garlic and chicken in a pot.  I covered it with water and brought it to a bare simmer (so bare that bubbles really didn’t reach the surface).  Here’s why I don’t peel the onions!
  3. I skimmed the stock after 30 minutes and again after 60 minutes.  The skimming removed fat and foam from the process and helped make a crystal clear broth.
  4. I let the stock sit for for hours (on heat) while we relaxed.  I did this to make sure it wouldn’t boil and knew that it was safe to leave overnight.  I topped it with water and went to bed (again the stock wasn’t bubbling but right on the edge of it).
  5. I woke up, saw the stock had dropped less than an inch.  I topped it up before going to work (others were around) and left it for the day (on heat).

Night 2

  1. A final skim.
  2. I boiled 3 inches of water in the pressure canner, prepared my jars and seals.  This was about 10 minutes of work and the most involved period of the entire process.
  3. I placed the jars in the pressure canner and started a timer once the canner reached the right pressure.  25 minutes later I took the pot of the heat.
  4. About an hour later I removed the jars and let them rest on the counter.

Less than 30 minutes of work and I had 4.5 quarts of organic chicken stock that will sit on our shelves for when we’re ready to use it.  It has no sodium and was made from a few vegetables and the carcasses (which many would either throw out or leave at the grocery store).  Organic stock is more than $5 per liter – this was an easy way to make an amazing stock in little time.

If you want to know more about pressure canning, check out our articles on the fundamentals of pressure canning, our pressure canning recipe archives and our checklist of considerations if you’re thinking of buying a pressure canner!

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