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How do I? ...Can Meats

Selecting, Preparing and Canning Meat

Chicken or Rabbit

Please read Using Pressure Canners before beginning. If this is your first time canning, it is recommended that you read Principles of Home Canning.

Procedure: Choose freshly killed and dressed, heathy animals. Large chickens are more flavorful than fryers. Dressed chicken should be chilled for 6 to 12 hours before canning. Dressed rabbits should be soaked 1 hour in water containing 1 tablespoon of salt per quart, and then rinsed. Remove excess fat. Cut the chicken or rabbit into suitable sizes for canning. Can with or without bones.

Hot pack – Boil, steam or bake meat until about two-thirds done. Add 1 teaspoon salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Fill jars with pieces and hot broth, leaving 1-1/4 inch headspace.

Raw pack – Add 1 teaspoon salt per quart, if desired. Fill jars loosely with raw meat pieces, leaving 1-1/4 inch headspace. Do not add liquid.

Adjust lids and process following the recommendations in Table 1 or Table 2 according to the canning method used.

Table 1. Recommended process time for Chicken or Rabbit in a dial-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0- 2,000 ft 2,001 - 4,000 ft 4,001 - 6,000 ft 6,001 - 8,000 ft
Without Bones:  
Hot and Raw Pints 75 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 90 11 12 13 14
With Bones:  
Hot and Raw Pints 65 min 11 lb 12 lb 13 lb 14 lb
Quarts 75 11 12 13 14

Table 2. Recommended process time for Chicken or Rabbit in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.
  Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of
Style of Pack Jar Size Process Time 0 - 1,000 ft Above 1,000 ft
Without Bones:  
Hot and Raw Pints 75 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 90 10 15
With Bones:  
Hot and Raw Pints 65 min 10 lb 15 lb
Quarts 75 10 15


This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.

Reviewed November 2009.

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