I love the days when mother nature says you need to stay in today and get things done! It is really hard to juggle between inside and outside projects sometimes, but especially in the fall. So much to finish before the long winter approaches.
Today I started right in with canning my sweet and sour chicken ready made meals. The time is prepping and processing, but its such an easy thing to do. Here are some tips for making the sweet and sour chicken meal as easy as possible. After all, it is about efficiency of time and energy to get the most of your day.
First! With many of these meals they are layered in a jar uncooked so that saves time! If you are buying meat, look for deals and Look for a store that does FREE cutting! When you buy it tell them what you want the size cut too and that time consuming task will already be done for you! In my case, this week IGA had boneless chicken breast for 2.69/ pound and they will cut it to specification for you. For this recipe you want “stew meat” bite size chunks.
2. Look thru your recipe and see what you can prep while resting the night before. In this case, I cored and cleaned the peppers because I knew they would be good over night in the refrigerator left like that.
Also for this recipe it calls for chunk pineapple, but I figured if I bought whole pineapples and chunked them it would be cost effective. I also did this last night.
This helps keep your time of “actual” work to a minimum during the actual preparing time.
I found this recipe hard to know how much ingredients I needed for a definite yield. Here is what I used for 20#’s of chicken, which yielded 19 quarts.
Ingredient amounts needed for this recipe and for the 19 quart yield. 20 #’s of chicken 2 cans of 100% pineapple juice 3 whole pineapples cut into chunks 6 - 3 packs of green peppers 1 bag of colored small peppers
cut and layer these ingredients into your clean jars. I filled mine 1/2 full with the meat, then added the veggies and pineapple so they each fit into the jar. There is not a measurement, just to how you would like it. If you want less peppers but more pineapple then it's all your preference.
3/4 cup of brown sugar
1 1/4 cup white vinegar
6 tablespoons of soy sauce
4 tablespoons of ketchup
1 teaspoon of ginger
3 cups of pineapple juice
heat all of the brine ingredients in a large pot to fully dissolve the sugar and heat. Then ladle into the filled jars to 1 inch headspace.
For the amounts stated above... I multiplied the brine recipe 4 times for the liquid portion and had a little left over. I will refrigerate to do another batch, but I would rather have a little left then not enough after filling the jars.
3. When ever I can meat or meals I use wide mouth jars because they make the jar much easier to clean after its emptied. For me, I Process 11#'s pressure (depending on elevation) for 90 minutes