Canning & Freezing My Home Raised Turkeys

Pressure canning meat
Turkey and broth, pressure canned for the winter.

Preserving Our Turkeys for Winter

I raised 10 Broad Breasted White turkeys this year and all of them survived to butcher size. Seven of the turkeys are processed so far, with 5 whole turkeys resting comfortably in our freezer. I double-bagged them to help prevent freezer burn and we will use them up in the next year. The other 2 were cut up in parts to freeze for smaller meals.

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I love to have boneless, skinless turkey breasts in the freezer for stir-frying, casseroles, and cutlets. I knew that I wanted to process some of our turkeys into parts. So last week I removed the breast meat from one turkey and froze half, and used the other half to make dinner for the next 3 nights…yum! The legs were removed and frozen whole…a good size to pull out and cook for dinner for the 3 of us. Then the rest of the carcass went into a stock pot to cook for the afternoon. I picked all of the meat off the bones, divided it evenly between 7-quart jars, strained the stock, and filled the jars with hot broth. I wiped the rims clean, screwed canning lids in place, and pressure-canned them for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure.

Pressure canning poultry

It’s a great feeling to have those jars of turkey and broth ready for making soup this winter! But as I looked at the finished product, I thought I’d like to have a bit more meat in the jars. So the second turkey I cut up was used as follows: 1 breast frozen, 1 breast cooked for dinner, and the rest cooked in the stock pot until the meat was falling off the bones. Then I picked the meat off the carcass, divided it up between 7-quart jars, filled them with broth, and processed them as before. These jars are about half meat, which will be wonderful for heartier stews this winter. To make the most of the turkey, I returned the carcass to the stock pot, filled it with water, added onion greens and a couple of tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (the vinegar draws minerals from the bones for more nutrition), and cooked it over low heat all day.

As I sit here writing this post, the pressure canner is jiggling away, processing the turkey broth for the winter. I love having our own homegrown food preserved for the winter!

For more information, check out my post How to Pressure Can Meat, Poultry, and Fish.

Do you pressure can poultry? Do your raise your own chickens and turkeys for meat? What is your favorite way to preserve them?



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