Grown Here at Home: The canning process at the Callaway Community Cannery

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CALLAWAY, Va. (WDBJ7) - Inside the Callaway Community Cannery it's getting a little steamy.
And they're cooking chicken -- 300 lbs. of it to be exact. Which makes the cannery a great place to get it done.

“It's much faster because you've got a really big table so you've got a lot of space. Not everybody has a large kitchen, and a lot of home-canning kitchens have, you know, your stock pot is about this big. You're only going to get about five or six quart jars of that,” explained Heather Winch, a customer.

With the chicken cooked, the next step is pulling it off the bone. That's why having a group of friends to do it with is a good idea.

“Many hands makes less work so everybody gets done real fast.
Winch said.

While they're steadily pulling away at all that chicken, someone else gets the cans and sanitizes them.

Then it's time to put the chicken in the cans. Add some salt.
The best part is, nothing goes to waste. All of that broth from the water where the chicken was cooked will be used, too. It goes into the cans to keep the chicken nice and moist. The next step is to seal the cans.

“And then it goes into a kettle and then they'll cook it further and that seals it and preserves it,” Winch said.

While all of that's happening, it's time to clean up.

"It's a really easy cleanup afterwards, so it's not destroying your entire kitchen," Winch said.

Winch said the best part about spending the day canning is the people.

"Everybody's learning from everybody else. And then there's always the jokesters. There's the whole crew over here. They're all joking and carrying on, so it's fun,” she said.

Just when the fun is getting started, the cans are ready to come out of the kettle.

“You can keep it on a shelf for at least five years. Ours don't last us that long. We eat it up by then. It's delicious,” Winch said.