Can Art by Kathleen Young

Can Art by Kathleen Young
(c) 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Muslin Vs. Cheesecloth in the Canning Process

I came across a sale on whole chickens last week.  .88/lb is not bad at all.  I snatched up two of them, took them home, and dumped them in the freezer while I figured out what I was going to do with them.  I knew that making some chicken stock would be ideal.  It was going to be a long weekend in the kitchen.

The recipe called for cooking the chicken for about two hours, but I think most of know that you get a better flavor by taking your time and letting it simmer for most of the day.  Onions, celery, whole peppercorns, and a few dried hot peppers from last years harvest.

After pulling the chicken and other solids out the recipe calls for running it through cheese cloth to get all the finer particulates out.  Did that.  Then let it sit overnight in the refrigerator so the fat can solidify on top. 

Skim the fat.  Run it through another measure of cheese cloth to pull out some of the chunky fat and particulates that were still there.

Get all the gear going.  Water boiling, jars sterilized, lids and bands ready.  Get the stock back up to boil.

In the canner.
After the pressure canner settled and rested,  I pulled out my jars. 



Not happy.

How to make this better?

I remembered using muslin this past summer to make blueberry jelly.  Figured it might be a viable option here in getting a better end product.  Now, the first batch is still usable.  Nothing "really wrong" with it per say, just not as "pretty" as it could have been.

Round Two.

Wash. Rinse. Repeat the whole process.  This time though I used the muslin (washed and dried to remove any chemicals from sizing etc.) to strain it after pulling out all the chicken and vegetables.  Let is sit over night to solidify the fat.  Pulled as much of the fat off as possible, and ran it through the muslin again. Figured it would help to keep the cold chunks of fat out also.

Get the pressure cooker up to rocking.  Process. Settle. Rest.  Pulled out the jars.


From now on I will be using muslin to do any of my straining.  The cheesecloth just doesn't cut it.  For the cost of muslin vs. cheese cloth at the grocery store, you will get more use for your dollar.  Muslin runs anywhere from $2 to $5 a yard.  The less expensive stuff will do just as well.  Just make sure you wash it.  And rinse it.  I wouldn't use laundry soap.  There are just too many fragrances in that.  Take the time to wash and rinse it by hand with hand dishwashing soap. You can use it over and over if you take care of the muslin by washing and drying after each use.  I would recommend that you keep your muslin sieves for meat and one for produce.

Until next time,
Happy Canning!!

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