Canning Chicken Stock FAQs: What is Excess Fat? Should I Remove Extra Fat from Broth?

with Sharon Peterson

Canning Chicken Stock FAQs: What is Excess Fat? Should I Remove Extra Fat from Broth?

Some great FAQs about canning chicken stock: How do you remove the fat from chicken stock? How much fat is too much? What do you do with the extra fat?

Hi, my name is Sharon Peterson, and I'm with SimplyCanning.com where you can find home canning tips, tutorials, and classes. Come visit me there, and I will help you get your pantry filled.

Video Transcript (Edited for Clarity)

Let me read the canning chicken stock question for today. This is from DannyDan. "My question has to do with pressure canning, homemade chicken broth or stock and the removal of the fat. Everywhere I look, everything says to remove 'excess' fat. The main reason being so the fat doesn't creep up and become the bond breaker between the rubber seal of the lid and the rim of the canning jar. I totally understand this. However, I want to keep the fat. So question one, if I remove the fat, how can I preserve it? Question two, if I don't remove the fat, will lowering the amount of broth and fat in the jar be okay? Or do I need to maintain the 1-inch headspace for safety against premature spoilage or for some other reason? And question three--this should probably have been question one--however, what is the definition of 'excess' fat?"

Okay, so I'm going to deal with these one at a time.

First, you are right. The reason you want to remove the fat while canning chicken stock is you don't want it causing the seal to break, whether it's on the counter or the shelf.

Question one: "If I remove the fat, how can I preserve it?" I would suggest freezing it. There's no way to can it that I know of. Freezing would be your best option. You can just put it in a little canning jar and put it in the freezer. You can put it in a baggie. Whatever works for you.

So that's short and sweet. Freezing is the best option.

What If You Don't Remove the Fat While Canning Chicken Stock?

Question two: "If I don't remove the fat, will lowering the amount of broth and fat in the jar be okay?"

No, it's not.

So first of all, I don't recommend not removing the fat while canning chicken stock. We'll talk about what excess is in a minute. You need to maintain that headspace, because that's the space that your broth or stock needs. The proper headspace is the space between the broth or stock and the lid. And you need that space in there to be correct so that it has the right amount for expansion and then contraction as you're going through the processing. That's why you need that. Adjusting that headspace is not going to affect whether you take the fat out or not. Don't change the headspace while canning chicken stock.

What is Excess Fat?

And then, question three: "What is the definition of 'excess' fat?"

As I told DannyDan, I think that's the question of the year! That would be my vote for the best question. "Excess" is one of those words that depends on the person.

Let me read what I wrote here. Excess is a relative term, isn't it? I can't really give a specific definition while canning chicken stock because there really is no specific definition. It's not like I can give you a measurement, but when you cool the fat, the fat is going to create a layer on top of your broth or stock. So if you've got a couple of inches of fat on top of that broth, that I would consider to be excess. You need to take it off.

If there are just some tiny little globules floating on top of there--and I don't know that globules is the right word, but you know what I mean--just some little spots where there's a little bit of fat, I wouldn't worry about that. The idea is you want to take as much of the fat off as you can, and so I do recommend doing that.

A couple things to note: When I am canning, I'm usually working with meat that doesn't have a lot of fat, because we do a lot of venison and elk and there simply isn't a lot of fat on those. So I rarely have any fat to take off when I am canning chicken. If I'm making chicken broth or chicken stock, usually I will remove any excess fat off the chicken itself before I can it. And if I'm doing broth, it's just the bones and so there won't be a lot of fat in there anyway. But you need to cool it. Check and see if there's any fat on there, and then go ahead and take that off. But rarely do I have any issues to where I have "excess" fat.

The one place where I could see fat being an issue is with pork, because pork is just naturally a more fatty meat. I don't can a lot of pork. I think I did it once, just because I wanted to do it so I could tell people how to do it. But it's just not something that we use very much. We don't raise pigs, and so I'd have to go buy it, and we just don't. I do know that pork is naturally a more fatty meat. Therefore, you're going to have to deal with a little more fat. Be sure and remove any excess fat.

Your question number two, saying that if you don't? Well, I don't recommend that. I do recommend you go ahead and take the fat off.

"Excess." Who knows what that means? Go ahead and take as much fat off as you can. Don't change that headspace.

I hope that was helpful. You guys have a wonderful afternoon, and we'll talk to you next time.

Related Pages

Home Canning Questions
Canning Meat
Homemade Chicken Broth

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Page last updated: 04/01/2020

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