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Wednesday, April 14, 2021

Putting Food By Dilemma-Canning Lids

This year, I'm having to join the ranks of folks attempting to find flats or canning lids. As I said in my previous post, I've started buying Harvest Guard/Tattler reusable flats and gaskets to replace my lids for my jars. Since the fall, I've been buying them in 100 lid lots each month. This set me back about $130 a month.  

From the 1,500 jars I have on hand (1/4 pint, 1/2 pint, pints, pint & half, and quarts.), about half of the non-pints are wide mouth so I added a lot of of wide mouth to the mix. To date, I've successfully bought enough reusable lids to take care of a full year's worth of canning for me, but I'm not stopping there. My canning goal for this year is to put up two and a half years of  food stuff. This includes dehydrated and vacuum sealing as well as traditionally canned goods. Providing that I freeze all dry goods before I either dry can or keep in buckets staples it's doable thanks to Uncle Sam's stimulus checks. I'm pinching my pennies wisely. I never would have been able to afford these many lids otherwise.

The plan is to keep buying lids and gaskets until I have one for every jar I have on hand and to buy extra set of gaskets for each set. Everything I've researched says the gaskets should be replaced after 10 sealings. So by the end of summer/early fall, my plan should be complete with no actual monies out of pocket.

So what am I canning this week? Pulled chicken and grilled chicken strips. Yes, I bought another $110 meat package this week. When you raw pack your chicken for canning do you par cook it first for "pretty chicken" or do you just put it in the jars raw for "ugly chicken?" I'll usually grill mine first to seal in the smoke and seasonings before I slice it and put it into my jars. I have twenty pounds of Dolly Parton sized chicken breasts just begging to be processed.

Since it's been gorgeous (weather wise), I couldn't resist firing up our charcoal Webber. I put all my chicken breasts in the sink, seasoned it with my blended seasoned salt, tossed it around a bit while the coals heated. I calculated it would make about 18-19 pint jars of chicken and leave us some for dinner. The plan was to make 9 jars of chicken strips and the rest would go into jars as pulled chicken. I pulled two pints of my knock-off Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce from stores already.

Since I was basically canning chicken two ways at once. The only difference was how it was cut up when putting into the jars. I was still raw pack/dry canning it. It would be a "not-so-ugly canned chicken. So I threw the seasoned half breasts on the grill and cooked them 6 minutes on each side. Just long enough to get some of the hickory laced smoke onto the meat and grill marks, but not cook them fully.  I figured one to one and a quarter per jar to gill them.

For the strips, I cut each breast across the grain into 1/2" strips. These would be for casseroles, Fajitas, pot pies, and soups. Leaving a 1" headspace, I wiped the rims, lidded, ringed them  and placed them in my canner. For the pulled chicken, I diced the breasts into 1" cubes. I placed 2 TBS of BBQ sauce in each jar, and then loaded the chicken. I wiped the rims, lidded, ringed, and placed them in the canner. I ended up with one chicken breast leftover. This one I coated with BBQ sauce and threw it back on the grill for dinner.

I pressure canned a full canner load of chicken for 75 minutes for my altitude. I removed the jars from the canner. The next day I washed each jar in warm soapy water after checking the seals. All of them sealed. I labeled them and placed them in my food stores building. Next, I added the jars to my computer inventory program that Mel designed. (For Sale under the "For Sales" tab) So I can keep a running tally of what I have on hand at any given time at the touch of a key.

I plan on doing this several more times in the coming year to meet my goals, but for now, I've got 18 delicious meals that are heat and enjoy. For dinner, I took that one Dolly Parton BBQ-ed breast, shredded it, added a bit more of my knock off BBQ sauce, slapped a scoop of coleslaw(canned coleslaw) on it on one of my homemade buns. I added some microwave potato chips, and a fermented dill pickle on the side. 

Boy, Howdy! A meal fit for a king! It was totally yummy for my tummy! So what have y'all been up to? The weather has been great. I wish I could be playing in the garden. I see the surgeon later on today so I should get my up to 15 lb clearance and my ability to bend forward back. I've been a "good girl" I have over the last two weeks, but I'm chomping at the bit to get into the garden.

Y'all have a blessed day!
Chef Jo


  1. I love the fact you keep an inventory sheet on your computer. I have done that with my consignment sales. Good for you with all that canning and I bet dinner was delicious.

    1. Kristina, This program also does freezer, dehydrated, and staples! It's a total food storage inventory.


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