It's the cold season here at Kennedy Ranch, which means that I have a chance to get caught up on some of the stuff that I never have time for during the busy season. This year I had less time than usual to get any canning done, and I have a pretty big backlog of canning projects.
For some reason this year, I decided to start with chicken schmaltz. Likely because I'm down to my last jar of it from the last time I canned it, and it's darned convenient to be able to pull it off the shelf when I need it.
I use schmaltz just about daily in my cooking, and I'm convinced it's one of the primary reasons people consider me a good cook. It's such a simple way to add depth of flavor to just about everything that comes out of my kitchen, and when the schmaltz is made out of fat from home-grown, pasture-raised chickens, it's about as healthy a fat as you can get.
Canning it, though, is always a bit of a crapshoot. It's easy enough to render a jar of it when I'm roasting a chicken, or whatever, but canning is a lot bigger project. If there are ANY impurities in it it won't be shelf stable, at all. I'm darned careful and haven't had that problem with the schmaltz I've canned, but I'm not at all interested in opening a jar of this stuff and having a big hit of rancid smell in my nose. Ew. And, of course, just like canning ANY meat product, proper use of a pressure canner is an absolute requirement for food safety.
Today's first batch just got up to the necessary 15 lbs of pressure for high-altitude canning. And now we wait. Once it's through the processing phase, I'll let the jars cool and then rest them on the shelf for a few weeks, before testing one to make sure they're stable. Assuming all goes according to plan, I will be enjoying another year of schmaltz-enhanced deliciousness out of my kitchen.
For the schmaltz-curious, here are some ideas for how to make and use it: https://kennedyranch.net/chicken-schmaltz/