The internet feels a little ill after watching a woman prepare a recipe using chicken she had canned two years ago.
Some TikTok users were mortified when the mother-of-eight, Pam Parish, shared her easy-to-make salad recipe using chicken with her followers. The clip has been viewed more than ten million times. The highlight of the video was Parish’s big talking moment when she explained the chicken had been canned in March 2020.
Americans consume chicken more than any other meat, according to the CDC. The meat does come with its risks, although it is healthier compared to eating other red meat.
Certain bacterias such as campylobacter, salmonella, and clostridium perfringens, can contaminate raw or undercooked meat resulting in food-borne illnesses known as food poisoning.
As a result of eating contaminated poultry, The CDC estimates around 1 million people in the U.S. get sick every year.
Parish can be seen breaking the seal on her jar of chicken before grasping and removing a chicken thigh. The chicken appears pink at one end.
Much of the meat that Parish removes from the jar appears undercooked and has a tuna fish-like quality. She does not keep the skin. However, she gives it to her dog, saying the pootch “loves it.”
Some social media viewers weren’t so sure about using the chicken. MyNameIsAries commented: “This ruined my night,” with Melissa Ramnarine adding, “this gives me chills no way I’m eating that.”
Beth.hxnt said: “This is why you don’t eat at other people’s houses,” while hakunahataka wondered: “is this a late April Fool’s Joke?” Mason Blake, meanwhile, declared: “I feel ill,” with Brahmitzvah admitting: “I literally could not watch this.”
Plenty of viewers liked what they saw, Shelbsleeann said: “This is literally 10,000 times healthier than canned chicken at the store.” Doodoo.fart42069 agreed, commenting: “I don’t know why so many have issues with canning and pickling my family does it to nearly everything.”
NotSweetland was won over by writing: “I was mad until I used my brain and googled… chicken can last up to 3-5 years on shelf room temp depending on the prep.”
Even so, some like Jessica8516 remained torn. “Logically, my brain knows the food is safe because of the storing method,” she explained. “However, my brain is also 8,000% horrified (I’m sorry!!).”
Parish, anxious to clarify things, returned to TikTok in a series of videos addressing some concerns.
“A lot of the comments are a misunderstanding of what ‘canning’ is,” she explained. “I grew up in a family that hunted for meat. We were pretty poor growing up. We didn’t have a lot of freezer space, so you canned the meat so that it was shelf-stable.”
A type of food that can be safely stored at room temperature in a sealed container is called Shelf-stable or ambient food.
Parish said some of the responses did not surprise her. “I get it. I’m grossed out when I see someone eating shrimp. This isn’t for everybody. Not everybody understands it, but it is a way of preserving food, and it does last for years,” she said.
The cooking mother also dismissed any suggestion the chicken was raw. She explained that it was boiled for three hours and is “pink because it was the chicken thigh.” All of her jars are sanitized in an oven set at 200 degrees for 30 minutes, while the chicken is also cooked for a further 10 minutes after it is removed from the jar.
Chicken can remain in a jar, fresh if sealed for five years. She said her dog Oreo loved the skin, and he “actually ate almost all of it.” Her cat finished off the rest.
Parish has always enjoyed home-canned meat, she added. It saves her money and offers a healthy alternative to something like a frozen pizza when the family wants a quickly cooked meal.
Water-bath canning was “very controversial,” Parish acknowledged, though she added it had “always” been done that way in her family. “Water-bath canning absolutely can be done very safely with meat, and it’s been done all of my life,” she said.
Jill Winger, the founder of The Prairie Homestead, a website dedicated to helping people learn how to grow and manage their food, contradicts Parish’s advice.
Winger told readers they must not use a water bath canner for canning chicken. “Chicken is a low-acid food, which is unsafe to can in a water bath canner,” she wrote. “You MUST use a pressure canner for canning chicken.”
The official CDC advice agrees with Winger, stating, “Do not use a boiling water canner for low-acid foods because it will not protect against botulism.”
Parish added that she has recently purchased a pressure canner and is planning to use it in the future in response to the concern expressed over her methods.