Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Canning Pulled Pork Barbecue

I am from Western North Carolina... lived there all my life... and then I moved... to the Midlands of South Carolina three years ago. I love my job here, the people are so wonderful. Winters are mild here. Spring is beautiful, the flowers are gorgeous. It's really a nice place... and my life is better than ever...


There are a few things I REALLY miss about my former lifelong home... it's flat here, sometimes I really miss my mountains... it's HOT here in the summer, and humid... and the barbecue here is... well... to put it politely... it's not to my liking... (*whispers* it's yucky)

Where I come from barbecue is almost a religion... and it's red... and slightly sweet, with a little vinegary flavor...

Here barbecue is eaten, loved by many... and it's yellow... mustard based... they think that's normal... they actually like it that way! THEY don't know any better...

I recently bought two nice Boston Pork Butts on sale at my local grocery store... it was time to make some REAL barbecue!

Boston butt is a cut of pork that comes from the upper part of the shoulder from the front leg and may contain the blade bone. In the US, smoked or barbecued Boston butt is southern tradition. In pre-revolutionary New England and into the American Revolutionary War, some pork cuts (not those highly valued, or "high on the hog," like loin and ham) were packed into casks or barrels (also known as "butts") for storage and shipments. The way the hog shoulder was cut in the Boston area became known in other regions as "Boston butt." In the UK it is known as "pork hand and spring," or simply "pork hand."

There are many ways to cook pork butt... it can be slow roasted in the oven, wrapped in aluminum foil and baked, put in the slow cooker... we decided to smoke ours this time... Mmmm!

After cooking, I pulled the pork (hence the name, "pulled pork") from the bone, removed all the fat and gristle, chopped, and shredded it. (Smokey Dog enjoyed the fat, gristle, and bone... over a period of several meals)

Then I made my homemade barbecue sauce with...

1-3/4 cups ketchup
1/4 cup prepared mustard
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder
1 tsp. black pepper
1/2 oz. liquid smoke
1 oz. Worcestershire sauce
1 oz. hot sauce (I used Louisiana brand)
1/2 Tbsp. lemon juice

Since I was barbecuing two butts... I doubled the above recipe, except for the liquid smoke... since the meat was already smoked AND liquid smoke tends to intensify when canned, I left it at 1/2 ounce.

Any good barbecue sauce would work with this process, bottled, your own recipe, someone else's recipe... it's all a matter of taste.

I mixed my sauce in with the pulled pork... it seemed a little dry for canning... I wanted my pork to be completely submerged in the sauce... so I added some water until I got the consistency I was looking for (I added about 2-3 cups of water).

I brought the meat/sauce mixture to a simmer... meanwhile I prepared my pint canning jars by boiling them in water... and I put my lids in simmering water to sterilize and kept them all hot until I was ready for them.

Again, a matter of taste... the pulled pork could be canned without sauce, adding the sauce after opening or used in other pork recipes... broth or water could be added to the jars of pork instead of the BBQ sauce.

I ladled the hot barbecue into the hot jars...

I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth to remove any residue... dipping the cloth in a little vinegar helps to remove any grease that might have been left on the jar rim.

I removed the lids from the simmering water using my handy dandy magnetic lid wand, tightening them onto the jars to a fingertip tightness.

I processed the jars in my pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure for 70 minutes (90 minutes for quart jars).

After processing, I removed the canner from the heat and let it cool, and allowing the pressure to drop naturally (don't hurry it or it might result in broken jars and ruined barbecue!)... then I removed the canner lid...

...and removed the jars from the canner using my jar lifter... and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen for the PING of each successfully sealed jar.

Ahhh... real barbecue any time I want it... RED... like barbecue is supposed to be!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Herbal Medicine Part 4: Kitchen Herbs and Remedies

Potatoes are eaten several times a week at my house... there always there, they're tasty, comforting, and a great background for many meals... but there's more to the potato than meets the eye! (pun intended!)

A little study, reading, and an herbal medicine workshop has opened a whole new world of the wonders of the lowly potato...

The components of potatoes consist of a high complex of carbohydrates, fiber, and proteins. Included also are vitamin A, B-complex, and C; copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, niacin, and potassium. The skin is high in nutrients, and if possible the skin should be eaten or if not, peel as close to skin surface as possible to maintain the nutrients that cling closer to the skins.
The potato is a member of the nightshade family, and does contain very small quantities of atropine. This substance is deadly in large amounts, but in small doses it has antispasmodic effects, making potatoes useful for easing gastrointestinal pain and cramping. Potatoes can also be used externally for muscle pains and skin problems.

Raw potato can be grated up and applied to the eyes to relieve the itching and pain of pink-eye (conjunctivitis)... just apply 3-4 times daily for 20-30 minutes and all that gumminess (you know when your eyelids stick together and you can't open your eyes!) will be alleviated.

Have you ever had a splinter or a thorn that was in too deep to get out with tweezers or a needle? Put a thin slice of raw potato on it... cover it with a bandage and leave for several hours... the splinter will be drawn closer to the skin's surface and easier to remove.

Cayenne pepper, according to herbalists, is used for strengthening the heart muscle and for increasing circulation. Used during meals, cayenne stimulates gastric secretions and assists in digestion. The herb is commonly used for treating cold extremities and the common cold. 

Cayenne is used externally as a rubefacient, for improving circulation... a tincture of cayenne is diluted with 2 parts grain alcohol or rubbing alcohol and massaged into the skin (test on a small area of the skin first, some folks have a low tolerance to cayenne).

And, according to the herbalist instructor at the workshop I attended... in a kitchen emergency, cayenne will stop bleeding... but it burns while it works.

Another kitchen spice that is said to stop bleeding is cinnamon (possibly a better, less painful choice than cayenne!) But cinnamon has so many wonderful uses for our health...

• Studies have shown that just a half teaspoon of cinnamon per day can lower LDL cholesterol.
• Several studies suggest that cinnamon may have a regulatory effect on blood sugar, making it especially beneficial for people with Type 2 diabetes.
• In some studies, cinnamon has shown an amazing ability to stop medication-resistant yeast infections.
• In yet another study, cinnamon is said to reduce the proliferation of leukemia and lymphoma cancer cells.
• It has an anti-clotting effect on the blood (how it stops bleeding from a cut, I have no idea, but I am assured this is true by a respected and knowledgeable herbalist).
• Studies have shown that half a teaspoon of cinnamon powder combined with one tablespoon of honey every morning before breakfast can provide relief in arthritis pain.
• When added to food, it inhibits bacterial growth and food spoilage, making it a natural food preservative.
• One study found that smelling cinnamon boosts cognitive function and memory.
• Researchers found that cinnamon fights the E. coli bacteria in unpasteurized juices.
• It is a great source of manganese, fiber, iron, and calcium.
Go cinnamon!!!!

Garlic... the wonder food... garlic is so good for so many things... where to begin?

To make a tincture of fresh garlic cloves, crush the cloves then cover with grain alcohol, it's best not to remove the skins, because the provide a matrix for the menstruum (liquid, in this case alcohol) to make its way around and through the sticky flesh of the garlic. Shake well, then macerate, press, and filter.

Direct consumption of raw garlic can have different but overlapping effects... it's wonderful for treating bacterial infections. Cooked garlic has a more deep-seeted digestive and immune-enhancing effect, as well as working to prevent arteriosclerosis.

Garlic helps in digestion of fats by increasing secretion of bile. The herb affects the blood and circulation, demonstrating blood-thinning, anti-tumor, and anti-blood-cholesterol activity. 

As a cough formula... crush 6 cloves of garlic, remove skins and put them into a cup of goat's milk in a saucepan to simmer until garlic is tender... add a Tbsp. honey and take the liquid freely for the nutritive, immune-enhancing, antibiotic, expectorant, and cough-suppressing effects. 

Garlic ear oil (for earaches and outer, middle, and inner ear infections)... Combine (by weight) one part fresh crushed garlic cloves with one part fresh mullein leaves (leave skins on garlic) ... mix with one part olive oil (by volume... weigh herbs by grams, measure oil by milliliters) in glass jar... stir together well... cover opening with cheesecloth and set in the sunlight to macerate for at least 3 days (oil must completely cover herbs). After macerating, gently express through multiple layers of cheesecloth and allow to settle overnight... water and garlic juice will sink to the bottom, oil will rise to the top. Decant only the oil from the top and filter through more layers of cheesecloth. The finished oil must not contain water droplets. Oil made in this manner will keep at least a year if stored in a cool, dark place. Dosage: 1 drop per ear, 1-3 times daily. Warm oil to body temperature before administering. Flooding the ear with oil does not improve the effect and is not recommended. Massaging the soft tissue behind the ear lobe with some of the warm oil is highly recommended as well.  

*Much of the information on garlic gleaned from the book Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech.

Next post will continue with Kitchen Herbs and Remedies... covering what instructor/herbalist Robin McGee calls "The Spaghetti Herbs."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Herbal Medicine Part 3: A Bitter Herb to Swallow

"All things are poisons, for there is nothing without poisonous qualities. It is only the dose which makes a thing poison." Paracelsus 1493-1541

Yellow Root plant

My friend, Janice, made me drink yellow root tea... it was bitter and nasty tasting and no amount of honey, sugar, lemon juice or other ingredients did anything to improve the flavor... it tasted like... dirt, bitter dirt.

I had a terrible sore throat, my children were young, I kept putting off going to the doctor even though I was pretty sure I had strep... there were blisters and ulcerations all in the back of my mouth and down my throat, it hurt to swallow... it hurt to talk... it hurt to open my mouth... I was miserable.

Janice and her husband Tony had invited us over for dinner... they were wonderful friends, fellow homeschoolers, and Janice and I used to joke that we shared half a brain and usually the other one was using our half when we needed it. I called her to tell her my throat was killing me and it would be better if we didn't come over, didn't want to be spreading my germs around. She responded, "I'm sending Tony down to the creek right now to get some yellow root, come on over, I'm making you some yellow root tea."

And she did. She washed the roots, chopped them up and steeped them in boiling water... then when the tea was cool enough to drink, she made me drink it and poured a canning jar full of the vile stuff for me to take home with the instructions to drink a cup of it two or three times a day until my throat felt better. I did and within THREE days, I could swallow... and shining a flashlight down my throat... there were no more blisters... 

Goldenseal (from everything I can find to read, Goldenseal
is another name for yellow root)... PLEASE if I'm wrong,
somebody correct me!
At the Herbal Medicine Workshop I attended, the instructor told the class that bitter herbs... digestive herbs... are so lacking in our society... with the quest for "sweet-tasting" or at least "good tasting" medicines, teas, etc. people have sorely neglected ingesting bitter herbs... herbs that aid our digestive systems... it's no wonder people today have so many problems with digestive issues... heartburn, indigestion, irregularity... stomach ulcers, cold sores, fever blisters, mouth ulcers... the list is endless...

There was a time when taking a "tonic" was a normal thing... no longer! We only treat symptoms, not the underlying cause...

The "Doctrine of Plant Signatures" states that "the physical form of a plant gives a clue as to its healing purposes."

In the New King James version of the Holy Bible, it states, "And God said, ‘See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.’" ~Genesis 1:29. Several European herbalists from the past believed that God Himself left us clues as to what plants are most beneficial to specific ailments and body parts. Although the science of nutrition was not known then, the application of this principle through careful observation was memorialized in early herbal texts and has been revived today in homeopathy, herbalism and the study of flower essences.

According to the Doctrine of Plants, plants with yellow blooms, roots, etc. give the "clue" that the plant is useful for liver or lymphatic function and/or cleansing... therefore aiding the digestive system. The herbalist teaching the workshop stated that yellow root was a perfect digestive bitter, antibiotic, anti-fungal... excellent for treating thrush, diaper rash (washing the diaper area with a tea), mouth ulcers, etc.  

Calendula (officinalis)

Another liver/lymphatic herb is calendula... A tincture of calendula will "flush out a stagnant lymph system." Topically, calendula is a wonderful skin remedy... steep the dried flower petals in a good oil (olive oil is great) in the sun for several (2-6) weeks, shaking daily (in a canning jar!), then mix with beeswax for a healing skin salve.

Calendula tea or tincture in water can be swished and swallowed in order to help heal oral lesions, sore throat, or gastric ulcer.

Chamomile is considered a "warming bitter"... it calms as it cures. We all know chamomile tea is wonderful to relax and help with sleep, but it also soothes and calms the digestive system. A tincture of chamomile (tincture chamomile in brandy) is wonderful for teething babies (rub a little on their gums, it calms and soothes and takes the pain away).

Chamomile is antispasmodic to the intestinal tract and helps heal gastric and duodenal ulcers.

Dandelion (YES, dandelion, that "weed" that grows in your yard) is yet another liver/lympatic herb... make a salad out of the leaves... or a tea, or a tincture, or cook them like greens... dandelion greens are a potassium rich diuretic (most diuretics deplete the body of potassium, not dandelion!)... herbalists use tinctures of dandelion mixed with hawthorn tinctures to treat congestive heart failure.

Dandelion root (a digestive bitter herb) is used as a liver tonic (cleansing)... and can be dried and ground as a substitute for coffee.

The flowers of the versatile dandelion (remember yellow=liver!) are excellent for neck and shoulder pain (lymphatic!)... and dandelion wine is said to alleviate seasonal depression.

The lowly dandelion is a classic spring tonic. The herb is mildly laxative, markedly diuretic, and improves the function of the liver, promoting secretion of bile.

Fennel bulb

Fennel seeds
Fennel aids in digestion... use the seeds in a tea or tincture to alleviate gas and bloating. Our former neighbors (from India) keep candy coated fennel seeds in their pantry at all times to give to colicky children (and adults) Fennel tea is safe even for babies to help colic ... fennel freshens the breath, improves assimilation with food and decreases gas. The tincture or tea synergizes well with laxatives, acting as an anti-spasmodic.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Herbal Medicine Part 2: Bee Balm and Bee Stings

During the recent herbal medicine workshop I attended, the first herb the instructor discussed was Bee Balm. Monarda Didyma (red flowering) and Monarda Fistulosa (lavender flowering) bee balm, or wild bergamot, she said, is an invaluable addition to a medicinal herb garden. She began her talk holding her single sheet of typed notes at arm's length, she had forgotten her reading glasses... a member of the class loaned her a pair and she laughingly remarked, "Oh, I DID write this in English!"

Bee balm is excellent for treating systemic candida (yeast infections, thrush, impetigo, mouth ulcers, sore throat, diaper rash) and is also good for quickly treating burns (by adding saliva and using as a compress on the burned area).
Lavender flowering bee balm (Monarda Fistulosa)

To make a tincture of bee balm, she recommended using the top third of the plant and to tincture it in brandy rather than vodka or EverClear... why? because bee balm doesn't need a large percentage of alcohol to obtain the medicinal tincture (although if all you have is vodka, it's perfectly acceptable to use), the end product is better tasting using brandy.

In herbal terminology "tincturing" is the process of making an herbal extract by steeping ground herb in a liquid "menstruum" (the "solvent" or "liquid" portion of a tincture, usually alcohol)... usually at a 1:5 ratio (one part dried herb to 5 parts menstruum, fresh herb tinctures are more complicated due to the differing amounts of water in different herbs)... a great book with "recipes" for herbal tinctures is Making Plant Medicine by Richo Cech.

Once you get the ground herb mixed with the menstruum (a canning jar is perfect for mixing tinctures) you simply set it in a cool, dark place and give it a shake once a day for several weeks, strain it out and decant into amber glass bottles, preferably with a dropper lid on top.

Robin McGee (herbalist instructor) recommended (with a huge grin on her face and a mischievous twinkle in her eyes) shaking the mixture daily and singing to it... she calls it PFM... (Pure Freakin' Magic)

For making salves for topical use, the herb is steeped in a good quality oil (olive is great) for several weeks, then beeswax is added to thicken.

Red flowering bee balm (Monarda Didyma)
Bee balm also has the added benefit of attracting bees to your garden, helping with pollination... and we all know that good pollination makes for bigger, better, more abundant crops!

Bee balm, of course, makes me think of bees... which takes me down another branch of my memory lanes...

When I was growing up, I was the oldest grandchild on my Mama's side (Mama was the oldest child in her family)... so I had the enviable task of watching out for all the little cousins who descended on our home in the summer when Mama and the aunts got together to can, cook, paint rooms, or just visit. My two brothers and I were older than the little cousins by several years (we taught the little ones things, like how to ride a bike, we pushed them on the big tire swing, helped them catch crawdads in the creek or lightning bugs at dusk, watched out for them, teased them)... there was always a group of toddlers around and we seemed to have cornered the market on girls... one little boy cousin (my cousin Brad) amongst that gaggle of little girls... they spent their time playing in the yard, riding Big Wheels, tricycles, bikes with training wheels... running, jumping, climbing... everybody dressed in shorts and sleeveless tops, NOBODY wearing shoes... it was a happy, barefoot world... and there was always the chance SOMEBODY would step on a honeybee and the tears would begin... the one stung would cry, then some of the others would start in sympathy for the injured toddler...

The "medicine" on hand for bee stings? Well, if chewing tobacco was to be had, a big wad of wet tobacco would be applied to take the sting away... but more often than not, the "medicine" of choice was more simple... my little cousin Brad (the only little boy in that group of girl cousins) was elected to pee on the injury... he thought it was great fun and it worked every time, took the pain away and lessened the swelling of the sting... the tears were dried, everyone was given a popsicle to cool off and "paint" their lips purple or red or orange... and the summer play continued...

Friday, February 10, 2012

Herbal Medicine Part 1: A Childhood Interest

My sweet Granny Smith not
long before she passed away
at the age of 92.
I'm gonna be straying away from my usual canning topics for the next few posts. After attending an herbal medicine workshop with Appalachian herbalist and instructor Robin McGee, I have a renewed interest (or maybe obsession?) with herbal medicine... the interest was there before, but it REALLY was awakened by this wonderful class with a fantastic, down-to-earth instructor.

I've been making soaps and lotions for many years, scenting my products ONLY with natural, essential oils and have been using the oils for their medicinal properties for quite some time. I enjoy being in my "mad scientist laboratory" mixing up my concoctions and remedies. So when this opportunity to learn more came up, I jumped at the chance.

After taking the workshop, my mind began meandering down memory lane, and I realized that I've always had an interest in herbal remedies, old wives' tales, old time medicines and remedies, and more.

Granny Smith all dressed up for my parents' wedding
My Granny Smith (my Daddy's mother) was my earliest teacher, mostly with stories she told and her natural ability to make a person feel better with the simplest things. One story she told often was about her own father, my great grandpa, Papa, his name was Andrew Jackson (not the president, but a giant of a man), with great, huge handlebar mustaches, he died when I was 5 or 6, but I have fuzzy, vague memories of him... as a toddler sitting on his lap, fascinated, and a little nervous, listening to his booming voice, his huge laughter, and that enormous mustache.

Granny said when she was a young girl, Papa had a problem with "the sugar" (diabetes)... and at one point his big toe became infected from an injury and wouldn't heal. He had tried everything and the toe just got worse, turning black and swollen with the infection... Papa finally went to the local doctor, who promptly said, "Andrew, you're gonna lose your whole foot if I don't take that toe off." Papa asked the doctor to give him two weeks to try to get that toe healed and if he couldn't, he'd come back and let the doctor amputate his big toe.

Papa came home that evening and said to my Granny, "Sis (that's what he always called her ... her name was Annie, but Papa always called her Sis... or Tom), go out in the woods and find me a pine tree... gather some good, thick 'rosem' and bring it back here." She went... when she brought the pine resin back, Papa took it and packed it all around the infected toe, bound it up in a clean bandage, and left it for a week without removing it.

After the week had passed, he removed the bandaging, washed the area good and checked it... the infection was completely gone, the toe was "white as snow" (that's how Granny phrased it)... the black infection was no longer there and he didn't have to have that toe amputated. Granny said the "rosem" drew out the poison from the infection and healed that toe.

Papaw Smith
Granny knew so many things... she never finished school, never had a public job, had a slight speech impediment from having been "tongue-tied" when she was born... but I've never met a smarter, harder working, more capable woman in my life. Sometimes she would take us grandkids walking in the woods and she could tell us the names of every plant, tree, shrub, and weed we came across and what it was good for (I wish I'd listened better)... I remember one time she picked a small branch off a tree and said, "Young'uns this is a tooth brush, you can clean your teeth with it." She showed us how to fray the ends of the twig and scrub our teeth with it. I learned later it was a birch twig and many mountain folks did, indeed, use it for cleaning their teeth.

Granny had a brother, Howard, who, it was claimed by all the folks in the valley, could cure the "thrash" (thrush, or candida) in babies by blowing in their mouth, and he could cure warts by just rubbing them... I never had any first hand experience with this, I just heard...

Granny was the woman in the valley who everyone called on when they had a sick loved one... not to come heal... but just to come "help." She took food, she had a strong back and could help lift an invalid, she didn't mind scrubbing dirty sheets, wiping noses or hindends, or cleaning nasty chamber pots... and you always just felt better when "Miss Annie" was nearby. She was strong, and solid, and capable.

Granny was my Papaw Smith's second wife... she finished raising the 5 children from his first marriage, and raised their own 6... she was not a gentle woman, but she WAS a gentlewoman, she had a sharp tongue and a firm manner, a no-nonsense, frank, opinionated woman... she milked cows, gathered eggs, churned butter, helped slaughter and butcher, grew a vegetable garden, had beautiful flower beds, cooked, canned, cured, and stored food, kept a meticulously clean home, made most of the family's clothes, quilted with the "Ladies Aid" once a week, attended the local Free Will Baptist Church every time the doors were open, singing in the choir with her strong alto voice heard above everyone else, she put flowers on the graves in the cemetery, and was always the first to visit if anyone in the community was sick, or had a new baby, or had a death in the family... with her large, strong hands, a basket of food, a quilt she had pieced by hand, or just to talk... and laugh... Granny had inherited Papa Jackson's big booming laugh, and she used it regularly.

Papaw and Granny Smith's house... my Daddy and his brothers and sisters grew up here. I have so many fond memories of family times in that old house.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

The Versatile Blogger Award

The Versatile Blogger Award

Today I received a welcome surprise when I was given the Versatile Blogger Award by fellow farmgirl and blog sister Heidi of White Wolf Summit Farmgirl blog.   

Thank you Heidi! 

I am grateful to Heidi for having found my blog worthy to follow.

Here are the RULES for the Versatile Blogger Award-

1. Add the award to your blog. 

2. Thank the blogger who gave it to you.
3. Mention seven random things about yourself. (see below)
4. List the rules.
5. Award to 15 bloggers.
6. Inform each of those 15 by leaving a comment on their blog.

Here are SEVEN random things about me...

1. I enjoy canning and all food preservation (obviously)

2. I like herbs, especially medicinal herbs and their uses.
3. My dream is to be self sufficient.
4. I have a wonderful husband who supports me in everything I want to try and do... He's the one who dubbed me "Canning Granny".
5. Another "handle" I have is "Casserole Queen" which my son crowned me when he was about 10 years old.
6. I've been planting lots of fruit trees this year, and I make my own soap and lotions.
7. I want to learn how to do EVERYTHING before I die.

Below is my selection of fifteen blogs that I follow and find worthy of reading and re-reading each week.  I have learned so much from this list of blogs.  I hope you'll agree they're each special and offer so much to our blogging community.  It's a diverse group featuring quilters, homesteaders, food preservers, farmers, gardeners, and great cooks.  Most of them do all of these tasks and much more.  It was TOUGH to choose because there are so many wonderful blogs that I read and enjoy, but here they are.  I hope you enjoy them too. 

1. The Pocket Farmer
2. Easy Living the Hard Way
3. Canarella
4. Lori's Latest and other tales from the Homestead
5. Moo Said the Mama
6. Unpaved Roads
7. Frugally Sustainable
8. Two Fat Chickx
9. Crunchy Betty
10. Retro Wifey
11. SB Canning
12. The Canning Wife
13. The Paper Cup Kitchen
14. The Humble Homemaker
15. Aagaard Farms

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Full Service Grab 'N' Go Canned Soup Part 3: Layered Chicken Veggie Soup

This Grab 'N' Go Canned soup, Layered Chicken and Veggie, was suggested to me by a reader and as much as I've searched, I cannot find the site that was suggested to me originally, I'd really like to give credit for this idea where credit is due... however, my feeble mind can't find it. I made it to take to work for lunch on those days I don't have leftovers, and don't want to order in.

That being said, this soup was so much fun to make and turned out so great...

Here's what I did...

First I cooked my chicken, seasoned well with salt, pepper, garlic, and some poultry seasoning. After the chicken cooked and cooled, I removed it from the bone and chopped it up. I let the broth cool overnight, then removed as much of the fat from the top as I could and set it aside to use in a later step. (I ended up using about half a 3 pound chicken, I used the other half of the meat in my chicken chili).

I peeled, sliced, and chopped the vegetables I chose to use... potatoes, onions, frozen corn, green beans, and carrots. (I used fresh veggies except the corn, which was frozen... I do not recommend using previously canned vegetables, they've already been cooked and will become way too soft during the pressure canning process)

Here are the approximate amounts of ingredients used:
2-3 potatoes, peeled and diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 large onion, chopped
1 to 1-1/2 cups green beans, strings removed and broken in bite sized pieces
2 cups frozen whole kernel corn
1-1/2 lbs. chopped chicken
Hot chicken broth

After all my ingredients were assembled, I began filling my hot, sterilized wide mouth pint jars with layers of vegetables and chicken... I'm guessing at quantities here, maybe 1/4 to 1/2 cup of each veggie... more potatoes, less onion... use your own judgement here, it's a matter of taste... also if you prefer peas to green beans, feel free to substitute... I wouldn't use pasta or rice in this dish... they'd get WAY to mushy. There's also no rhyme or reason for the order the layers go in... I chose by color, light colors and white, followed by bright colors of carrot, green been, etc.

Once I had my chicken and vegetables layered in the jars, I filled the jars with hot chicken broth left over from cooking my chicken, I ran a butter knife between the inside of the jar and the food to remove air bubbles.

I wiped the rims of the jars and added the hot, sterilized lids and rings, tightening them on to fingertip tightness.

I place the jars into my pressure canner and processed them (use the instructions that come with your canner) at 10 pounds of pressure for 70 minutes for the pints (quarts would process for 90 minutes).

After processing, I allowed the pressure in my canner to drop on its own to ZERO before taking off the lid and removing the hot jars using my jar lifter. I set the jars on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool and seal. I LOVE the PING of each successfully sealed jar! Music!

For a printable copy of this recipe, click here.

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