Yesterday, I canned turkey stock.
You may remember from my previous post that I had started it using butter, onions, roasted garlic, celery seed (I don't like Celery), and a bit of Poultry Seasoning.
I ended up simmering the stock for 36 hours, topping up the water twice. I also had returned the roasting pan to the oven, and put the resulting brown wonderfulness into the stock too. So, I needed to cool it quickly, as I had somewhere to go, and I needed to skim off the fat.
Hmmm... What to do?
I started in the sink, but there wasn't enough water surrounding the pot to absorb enough heat. But, hey - I have a bathtub! So I put the stock pot in the bath tub and filled it with cold water. In less than 20 minutes it was cool. Since I don't have enough room in the fridge for a big pot like that, I hit on the idea of using Mother Nature's deep freeze.
The ever-useful empty protein tub was pressed into service again - I put in some snow, put in the pot, packed snow around it, packed snow around the outside of the tub, and then inverted a small canner lid over the pot, and filled it with snow, too.
Because life happens, I didn't get to canning until yesterday, but the stock was still in the "safe" temperature zone, in spite of our warming trend (almost 50 degrees yesterday!).
After skimming the stock, I put it into a ginormous canner that was my mom's, and added the frozen stock from the Thanksgiving Turkey. It took awhile for the stock "ice" cubes to melt, but when they did, and I had a nice simmer going, I started up the pressure canner and started filling jars.
My canner will hold 7 quarts or 14 pints at a time. I chose to can quarts, as I use stock frequently for soup base, and a pint just isn't enough! It's been awhile since I used the canner, so in preparation, I had the local Extension Service check the gauge - it was right on. I also had to call a friend (Belinda, who got me started on pressure canning several years ago) to be reminded what to do next!
The process was interrupted by a meeting, so when the first batch was done, I just turned it off, and left the stock in the big canner on simmer. I came home and by 10:30 I was done with 12 more quarts.
My total was 19 1/2 quarts. There is one pint in the fridge that I'll use for rice or quinoa.
I still have 6 quarts of "proto-stock" - canned bones and chicken wings from several years ago, that I was using until now. It's good to have back up...