Dec 082010

Pressure Canning Stock
Ahhh . . . stock.  Watch any cooking show on TV, read any mainstream cookbook or food blog and you will come across that beloved ingredient . . . stock.  Chicken stock.  Beef stock.  Veal stock.  Vegetable stock.

Stock is nourishing. Stock is flavorful.  Stock is frugal.

It’s the best of all worlds.

And, if you make it at home, it’s even better.  A simmering pot of chicken stock is pretty much de rigeur around here the day after I roast a chicken, and T. knows better than to disrupt my bags of frozen chicken parts, awaiting their turn in the stockpot.

But then, once you’ve made it, how does one store stock?  Sure, at the store, it comes in nice, cute, little, shelf-stable boxes, but at home it’s a bit more difficult of a storage problem.  I’ve frozen it, with great success, in both freezer bags and glass jars, but I didn’t find it as useful for me.  I’d forget to defrost it in time, or it ended up taking too much space in my small apartment freezers.  When we moved to our new home, my freezer got smaller still, but in the interim, I inherited a pressure canner from my grandma, and oh, the places I can go with it!

My favorite (and what I use it the most for) pressure canning recipe?  Stock.

It’s changed my life.

No longer will toes get bruised as jars of frozen stock stumble out of the freezer, no longer will an upset tummy or a last-minute decision of risotto have to wait for defrosting, no longer will I have to juggle stock amongst my ice cube stash and frozen peas and herbed butters, NO LONGER.  No, my stock is ready and waiting in my pantry (or basement, or floor of the hall closet, or under the bed, get the idea?) and, with the advent of this canning panacea, I have found one more delight . . . having the opportunity to experiment and can different kinds of stock, ready at my will for my use.  Whenever I want.

Canning stock for the pantry, in eight simple steps

1.   First, make the stock of your choice. (Several recipes are listed below).  This technique will work for all stocks that I’ve researched (chicken, beef, veal, lamb, ham, vegetable and fish) – but please note that canning soup is different than canning stock (which has been strained) so please use this technique only for preserving stock. I normally make the stock one day, strain it and let it cool, and process it the next day.

2.   Sanitize jars. I sanitize mine in the oven.  Just wash, leave slightly damp (do not dry with a towel) and place jars on a baking sheet in the oven for a minimum of 30 minutes at 250 degrees Fahrenheit.  I love this approach because it is one less huge pot of boiling water I have to deal with, plus if something happens delaying my canning (like dirty diapers, nap times, whatever), the jars just stay in there, becoming extra sanitized, while they wait for me.  I process in both quart and pint jars.

3.   Strain stock and place in a pot on the stove. Bring stock up to a boil.

It is essential that the stock is re-boiled after straining and before processing  to make sure there is no bacteria that might have begun to grow from the time you “cooked” the stock to the time of processing (as I normally make my stock a day in advance).  Plus, pouring hot stock into hot jars that are placed into a hot pressure canner will both insure the jars don’t break and will allow the water in the canner to boil quicker and more efficiently and to come up to pressure quicker once processing begins.

4.   Prepare pressure canner for processing. Turn heat on under the canner.  Heat two quarts of water (I use my electric kettle for this) and place in bottom of pressure canner with jar insert in.

5.   Prepare lids and rings. In a small saucepan, place two-piece lids in a pan of simmering or just steaming (NEVER boiling) water for a few minutes.

6.   Fill  and seal jars. Remove jars from oven, a few at a time, and place on a towel-lined counter next to your stove, on the side the stock is heating on.  Using a ladle and a wide-mouth funnel, fill sanitized jars with stock, leaving about an inch headspace at the top.

Wipe the mouth of the jar with a damp paper towel, then place two-piece lids on jars, tightening to finger tightness.

Place jars in pressure canner as you fill them until your canner is full or the stock is all jarred.  My pressure canner will hold 7 quart jars.

7.   Begin Processing. Place the lid on your pressure canner and lock it into place. Turn the heat under your canner up to medium-high to high.

Please note: There are two types of pressure canners; a dial gauge and a weighted gauge.  I have a dial-gauge type and only have experience with that specific variety.  The instructions below are what I use with my dial-gauged canner.  If you have a weighted gauge canner, please follow your manufacturer’s instructions and process for the time and pounds pressure as indicated below.

For the dial gauge canners, make sure you keep the petcock open for ten to fifteen minutes to allow the water inside to come to boil and release any excess air in the canner, then close it up tight and, watching the dial gauge, bring the pressure up to 10 pounds pressure, which will take about eight to ten minutes.

Once it reaches 10 pounds pressure, begin timing.

Process quart size jars for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure, and pint jars for 20 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.

You will have to reduce the heat under the canner over this time from medium-high to medium low to keep the pressure constant at 10.  You do not want it to go under 10 pounds pressure, but if it goes over two or three pounds before you notice to turn it down, it’s not a big deal.

8.   Once timing is complete, turn off stove and remove the canner from the heat.  DO NOT OPEN OR UNLOCK THE LID.  Allow the canner to return to Zero Pounds Pressure on it’s own, which will take about fifteen minutes, before loosening the petcock.  Allow to sit, with an open petcock, for about five minutes.

Then (and this is what my canner instructions recommend, which are from circa 1942; if your instructions say differently, follow whatever you’re more comfortable with!), unlock the lid, remove the top of the canner and immediately throw a large dishtowel over the top and allow to cool for about five minutes before removing the jars, using canning jar lifters, out of the canner to a waiting, towel-lined counter.  Allow jars to cool completely before testing for seals and tightening lids for storage.

Once cool, stock will keep in correctly processed jars for up to a year in your pantry!


Tips, Notes and Links:

  • Before you ask, the answer is no.  You cannot can stock in a boiling water canner; you must pressure can stock.  If you don’t have a pressure canner accessible (can you borrow one from a friend?) simply freeze it, as I always did before I owned a canner.  Stock is a low-acid food and only in a pressure canner can it both be heated high enough at a high enough pressure to kill any inherent botulism that may be lurking about.
  • If you’re canning (at the same time) both quart and pint jars, always process for the larger jar; 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.
  • If you’re concerned about the BPA found in typical canning jar sealants, consider buying re-usable Tattler lids.  I hope to buy some for next year, but for now, am just using what I can find at the local hardware store!
  • Curious about the different varieties of pressure canners and what else you can use them for?  Read this link.
  • Here’s my recipe for chicken stock; I always make it with the carcass of a roasted chicken rather than boiling a whole chicken and then eating poached, boiled chicken (I prefer eating roasted).  The picture above is turkey stock using this same method. . . Don’t have a large stockpot?  I often just throw it all in the slow cooker and cook it on low for ten or twelve hours.
  • Stephanie has a great post with details and tips on how to make a really good, gelled stock.
  • And Diana has an awesome post on puchero, a traditional Spanish stock made with a combination of three meats, pork, chicken and beef marrow bones.
  • Kimi has a neat post on lamb stock, which, like beef stock, uses roasted bones before cooking down.
  • I’m planning on making beef stock in the new year (an early resolution!) but until I do and post a recipe, here’s a great pictorial on a traditional roasted beef stock.
  • Elk, moose or venison soup bones can be substituted for beef in any beef stock recipe if you’re a hunter . . . and if you hunt waterfowl, try Hank’s dark duck stock.
  • Hank also has an awesome crab stock, which, as a bit more delicate, I’d probably freeze rather than pressure can, but I couldn’t resist including it in the links, just in case you’re looking for a recipe!
  • And, a classic fish stock . . .

And, of course, one of my favorite “stock’s” of all is not a stock at all, but my raw, salt-cured vegetable bouillon, which I keep in my fridge at all times!

Any other stock recipes I’ve missed?  What is your favorite way to use stock?

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  26 Responses to “Canning Stock for the Pantry”

  1. This may be the most exciting blog post I have ever read!Thank you so much!!! I am putting a pressure cooker on my wish list. Any brand you recommend?

    • Thanks for the kind comment, Maureen!

      I have a very old National Pressure Canner; looking it up on Google, it looks like Presto has taken over that particular company and I know Presto canners are pretty inexpensive. If I were to go invest in one today, though, I’d probably go with an “All American” as they seem really heavy duty (as my old one is – it looks more like an All American than the modern Presto’s) and I’d use it every summer for garden produce as well as year round for stock, soups, etc. for years . . . but if you think you’ll only use it intermittently, a Presto might be all you need . . .

      Good luck! Let me know if you try it!


  2. What a great way to preserve stock! I usually make stock on a weekly basis, and my little townhouse freezer gets a bit overwhelmed…I’ll need to think about getting a pressure canner!

  3. Any downside to canning stock?

    • Hi Pavil!

      Other than it takes time, space to store it, and a pressure canner, I don’t think there is a downside in my opinion! I don’t believe it affects the nutritional benefits at all, since you cooked the stock already, canning it is basically like cooking it a little longer in the jar . . .

      Hope this helps!


  4. I canned several jars of chicken stock early this fall and I used the last of it last weekend. I will really miss having this on hand, I even had to break down and buy some chicken broth. I will be making and canning stock again soon. Very good post!


  5. I really should get a pressure canner – I’ve been freezing my stock, but storing it in the pantry would be much more convenient. Love your oven sterilizing tip!!!


  6. You’ve inspired me. Of the things I most frequently forget at the grocery store, stock tops the list. I am going to try to borrow a caner and make my own! Thanks for the inspiration. Cheers!

  7. This is wonderful information to have on file. While I do can and freeze, I’ve never done stock. Time to change my ways. Have a great day. Blessings…Mary

  8. I do this, too! This was one of the main things I was excited about making in my pressure canner! I don’t know, but the higher temps may not be as well as using it right away or freezing it, but I know it’s much better than store bough canned broth. I hardly ever remember to take out frozen stock, it’s a pain. I LOVE having home canned stocks to use!

  9. This is so exciting! I get a lot of chicken heads and feet given to me by a friend who raises pastured broilers. They make WONDERFUL stock! Last time I made a lot of stock I made 8 gallons at once – that took up a lot of freezer space. I have a pressure canner already that needs to get dusted off and used again. Thank you for this post – especially the oven sanitizing tip!!

    • Hi Kimarie!

      I know – after learning the canning technique for stock it has changed my life, and cooking! Not having to keep it stored in the freezer and not having to defrost? Perfect! I’m so glad you’ll find it useful!


      PS – I love oven sanitizing. It is my favorite thing these days for making jam, stock, even yogurt! I just keep my clean jars in the pantry until I’m ready to fill, heat/sanitize them in the oven while I prep everything else and I have one less giant pot of boiling water and wet jars to deal with!

      • I’ve been canning for well over thirty years, and I’ve always sanitized the jars in the pressure canner itself. I fill the canner and jars half full with water, set the lid on (but not clamped down), bring to a boil, keep it boiling for 5 minutes, then turn the heat to low while filling the jars. No extra kettle needed.

        I also use the water from the first jar removed from the canner to heat the seals in a bowl. In all these years, I’ve never had a pressure-canned jar that didn’t seal, or the contents went bad, and fewer than a dozen jars that broke during processing.

  10. […] I saw this post about canning stock for the pantry.  My food horizons are now limitless!  The other day I just canned my first batch of stock.  […]

  11. Do you ski the fat before canning? Thanks!

    • Hi Ambre!

      You can go either way with skimming the fat. I tend to not skim it any more, and have never had one go bad or rancid on me. I smell each jar when I open it, just in case, but it always just smells like stock! 🙂 Good luck!


  12. I’m wondering how long canned stock lasts for?


  13. […] Months of Monastery Soups, uses vegetable stock often for added flavor and now that I know how to can stock, I thought, why […]

  14. I am wondering, instead of pressure canning the stock if anyone has tried with the water bath instead. Also, how many minutes?

    • Do NOT use the water bath canning method for stock. It is not safe. Water bath canning is only recommended for acidified foods (like jams and jellies, pickles, etc.)

      The big danger is botulism. Boiling water (i.e. up to 212F/100C) + acid is sufficient to kill botulism spores; because stock isn’t acidic enough, water bath canning cannot be used safely. Pressure canning effectively increases the temperature to 240-250F, so you can preserve low-acid vegetables, meat, poultry and fish products safely.

      To summarize from the USDA Guide to Home Canning:

      Botulinum spores are on most fresh food surfaces. Because they grow only in the absence of air, they are harmless on fresh foods.When ideal conditions exist for growth, the spores produce vegetative cells which multiply rapidly and may produce a deadly toxin within 3 to 4 days of growth in an environment consisting of:
      • a moist, low-acid food (i.e. like stock),
      • a temperature between 40° and 120°F (i.e. like in a jar on your pantry shelf), and
      • less than 2 percent oxygen.

      Although tomatoes usually are considered an acid food, some are now known to have pH values slightly above 4.6. Therefore, if they are to be canned as acid foods, these products must be acidified to a pH of 4.6 or lower with lemon juice or citric acid. Properly acidified tomatoes are acid foods and can be safely
      processed in a boiling-water canner.

      Botulinum spores are very hard to destroy at boiling-water temperatures; the higher the canner temperature, the more easily they are destroyed. Therefore, all low-acid foods should be sterilized at temperatures of 240° to 250°F, attainable with pressure canners operated at 10 to 15 PSI.

      (source: USDA Guide to Home Canning, available for free online at

  15. Hi, my question is, does the stock stay gelled after being canned? or does it loose that gelatin from the canning procedure? Thanks

    • Hi Lisa!

      Gelatin is not destroyed by heat, so it does not lose gelatin in the canning process. The stock, once it’s cooled, is about as gelled as it was when you ladled it in. My batches vary depending on how many bones I put in, what variety they are, if I added too much water, etc. Hope this helps!


  16. Sara, Thank you. You are an inspiration. I have been preserving my produce for years and trying to utilize all I have available and waste nothing. I found you on a search for canning fish stock. Which I had never made before today (I have made a very good one, after a good day of fishing, and it is in the fridge cooling as I write). I will be digging out the pressure canner my mother gave me tomorrow and process as per your instructions and let you know how it turns out. Thanks again. Sherry

    • It may be too late, but for Sherry

      1) Check the pressure canner parts (esp. gasket and dial or weights) before you start. A dial gauge needs to be checked by your extension office once a year before you start canning – make a note of how far it’s off and in which direction so that you can process at the correct pressure. Note that USDA recipes have now been updated to 10 psi for weighted gauge or 11 psi for dial gauge. If your gauge is more than 2 psi off you should replace it (or buy a weight set made for your model canner).

      2) I haven’t found a processing time for fish STOCK, but for any SOUP containing seafood the processing time is 100 minutes. Minced clams in clam broth is 70 minutes. Pints and smaller only. For the latest USDA recommendations see

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