New to pressure Canning - help me troubleshoot
I've water bath canned for a few years but wanted to expand into pressure canning. I have an induction stove so I use this canner
It only does 4 quarts at a time but that is fine for me since I'm still learning.
So for my first attempt I tried to can chicken. Since both raw and hot pack process for the same time, I decided to try both so I could see which way I prefer. I cooked my chicken for 2 jars (although it got more cooked than I planned and was probably 90% cooked when I put it into the jars). Filled to just under 1 inch from top and covered with broth (hot water with dissolved boullion cubes).
Raw pack, cut up my chunks and put them in the jar. I didn't have enough chicken at this point so one jar was probably had almost 1 1/2 inches headspace, the other was about 1 3/4 inch. The NAHCP (can't remember if those are the exact initials but it's the site everyone links to here) says to add no broth, my ball canning books says to add broth. Various other sites (not official sites) talk about adding some broth. Since I'm practicing (and really just wanted to see which method I prefer the texture of) I filled both jars about half full with broth (same as above).
Put the jars in canner, vent steam for 10 minutes, apply pressure (canner only does low = 8 pounds and high=15 pounds), used high pressure (my altitude is just under 1000 feet). Once pressure reached set timer for 90 minutes.
When I have water bathed on my induction stove, I have to keep turning the temp down because it boils the water so hard.
So I bring the canner up to pressure on level 9, and set the timer. After a while, the steam is pouring out the handle, so I bump the temp down to 8. This is one part I was unsure if I did correctly. One place I read said not to change the temp, but another talked about adjusted the temp so as not to have too much steam escaping. By the time, it's done, my temp is down to 6.5 but steam has been coming out the handle the entire time.
I turn off the heat and within a minute the pressure gauge has dropped. So clearly my canner wasn't up to pressure because when I've cooked food in there the natural release took at least 30 minutes not 1.
The hot pack jars have broth nearly to to the top with just a little bit of air space (looks how how many of my tomato jars have turned out in the past with just a space gap on top). The raw pack jars have a huge gap (probably 2 inches). Now I know these weren't filled as full but the food compressed together and there is a huge air space. Had my canner held the correct pressure, would this excessive air space be okay?
Now to my complete surprise all 4 jars sealed. The raw packed ones were still boiling in the jar 30 minutes later.
Once they cool, I will put them in the fridge because I have no idea about the pressure they were cooking at.
But I would love any and all comments on my procedure/method so I can learn how to do this better.