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How to Can Broth
Homemade broth is a delicious and nutritious staple in the homestead kitchen. But simmering a new batch of broth every single week can be somewhat of a hassle. Learning how to can broth will allow you to stock up on a large batch of broth all at once. You’ll have plenty of it shelf stable and ready to use at a moments notice.
We raise all of our own meat here on the homestead. Throughout the summer, I raise and butcher several dozen broiler chickens. In the fall we process our homegrown pigs, turkeys, lambs, and goats. Plus we harvest a deer for the freezer most years as well.
All of our home-butchering means that we have an abundance of bones for broth. It’s a huge blessing- especially when you consider how many gallons of broth I’d have to buy in a month if I wasn’t making my own. The massive amount of nutrition and cost savings from homegrown, homemade broth mean that I’ll be simmering more every chance I get.
The only problem with homemade broth? Storing it.
Our freezer space is always at a premium. Even with two fridge-freezers and a chest freezer, we have to take space into account whenever we’re adding more livestock or planning a harvest day. Freezing broth in 1 or 2 cup portions would be the easiest way to lengthen its shelf-life. But this broth would be reliant on electricity to stay frozen, and would require planning ahead whenever I wanted to use it.
That’s why I’ve been such a big proponent of learning canning- especially how to can broth. Shelf-stable without electricity & ready to use right out of the jar- canning your homemade broth is like having a secret weapon in the kitchen.
How to Can Broth
Fortunately, making broth is harder than canning it is. Which is to say, it’s super easy. If you’ve made your own broth before or you know how to turn on a stove- you can can.
I make my broth in a gigantic stock pot on the stove. I fill the pot 1/3 to 1/2 full of bones, then I fill with water (and a splash of vinegar). After 24 – 48 hours at a very low simmer, I strain out the bones and reduce the broth- skimming the fat and “floaty bits” as it cooks down.
Once the broth has reduced enough, I ladle it into quart jars- hot- and load up the -hot- pressure cooker. (This Presto 23 QT is my kitchen workhorse)
Add the lid, vent steam for 10 minutes, then add the weight and bring up to the correct pressure for your elevation. After 30 minutes at pressure, I turn off the stove and let the canner depressurize on its own. Unload the jars. I let them cool on the counter over night, checking the seals in the morning. Then label and put away in the pantry.
It’s that easy.
How to Use Your Homemade Broth
Now that you know how to can broth, you need to know how to cook with it.
Before I mention anything else, in any of your go-to recipes calling for a “carton” or “can” of broth- swap the store-bought for homemade. It’s a no-brainer, but it needs to be said. (By the way, a pint jar is about 1 can, and a quart jar is about 1 carton if you’re substituting in a recipe)
Okay okay, how else can we use this homemade broth?
Whenever I’m cooking rice, I use broth instead of water. In homemade soups- broth as the base. Homemade casseroles that need to be thinned a little- homemade broth.
I’ve mentioned before how easy it is to put together a roux base for a casserole, it’s another great use for broth. Basically, I melt butter or lard in a saucepan. Then add some flour (anywhere from a few tablespoons to a cup- depending on what I’m making). Let the fat and flour cook together and thicken up, then start pouring in the broth. When this fat-flour-broth mixture heats back up, it’ll begin to thicken and transform into a slushy, sauce-y mixture. This roux can now be used as the base for a casserole, thicken a soup, be turned into a sauce or gravy, etc. All from a bit of broth- how cool.
Another great way to use this broth- as a drink. I’ve been known to heat up a saucepan full of broth- adding a dash of salt and a splash of vinegar- and then sipping on it like a cup of coffee. Don’t knock it until you try it!
Probably the biggest benefit of having this shelf-stable broth is that you can get a nutrient-dense dinner on the table that much quicker. When we’ve had an especially busy day, I’ve been known to pop open a few jars of canned broth, canned chicken (learn how to do that here), and canned veggies- bam! soup’s on the table in mere minutes. I’ve done similar with skillets, fried rice, and casseroles too- all based on canned broth. If you’re a crock pot fan (and who isn’t?) broth is great for cooking meat, beans, etc. hands-free while you’re away.
If these ideas have your wheels turning, or your stove is also filled with a simmering stockpot, it’s time for you to learn how to can broth!
How to Can Broth
- Pressure Cooker
- Quart jars, rings, lids
- Canning funnel, ladle, jar lift
- 1 Batch Broth
- This recipe card will start off with a completed batch of broth. That is, broth that has simmered down; the bones have been filtered out; and the fat and other bits have been skimmed off the top.
- Add 3 quarts of water, or as much as your canner requires, to the canner. Add the canning rack. Turn on the stove to bring this water up to a simmer.
- Once the water in the canner is simmering or at least hot, it's time to fill the jars.
- Ladle the hot broth into the jars, using the canning funnel to keep the rims clean. You'll want to leave approximately 1" of head space.
- Take the hot, filled jars and place them onto the rack in the base of the canner. The jars can touch, but shouldn't be crammed into it.
- Once all of the jars are loaded into the canner, add the canner's lid, and turn the burner up to high.
- Once the vent has a consistent, strong stream of steam coming out, set a timer for 10 minutes. Let the canner vent steam until the timer goes off, then add the weight.
- Once the pressure cooker reaches the target weight for your elevation (#12 here), turn the stove down slightly to maintain that pressure.
- Let the pressure cooker continue to cook, at the correct pressure, for 30 minutes if processing quart jars. (25 minutes for pint jars)
- Once the timer goes off, turn off the stove. Let the pressure canner cool and depressurize on its own.
- Once the canner has depressurized, carefully remove the lid (it's hot!) and remove the jars- using the jar lift.
- Let the jars cool on a towel-lined counter overnight.
- The next morning, remove the rings and check the seals by lifting the jars by the lids, or by gently pulling to see if the lids release. Any unsealed jars can be placed in the fridge, or swap out the lids and reprocess.
- Label the jars with the date and contents of the jar and move them to the pantry.
Thanks for reading and happy homesteading!
PS Broth is a key ingredient in the “casserole ratio,” that I mention in this post. For more information on slaughtering chickens or breaking down whole chickens- both of which yield bones and bits for broth- you can read this post and this post. Finally, if you’re looking for a way to preserve chicken without relying on the freezer, I have a tutorial all about canning chicken here– then you can use the leftover bones to make (and can!) more broth.