Canning Meats at Home
September 14, 2011
A Pressure Canner is required for canning meats and fresh vegetables without vinegar added. Although tomatoes are thought of as a vegetable, they are technically a fruit and the older varieties contain enough acid for water bath canning. Many years ago accidents did happen with early pressure canners 'exploding' so they earned a bad reputation. More modern pressure canners have multiple safety features. I'd still recommend you watch the canner during the whole time it is under pressure, and keep the safety relief valves or plugs pointed in a safe direction. Make sure they point away from YOU, just in case they release.
Many many other Homesteading activities can be dangerous too. A pressure canner is just a type of power tool if you think about it. None of them are safe if not used properly. Neither is driving a car or many other everyday things we do. Accidents can and will occasionally happen.
You really need the directions the manufacturer wrote for your model of pressure canner, and you need to take the pressure setting and processing times from a recent reliable source to be as safe as you can be. If your pressure canners instruction manual is lost, most companies allow you to download it on line or will mail you a copy if you write and ask.
Meat Pressure Canner processing times are generally longer than Water Bath canning times for fruits. Getting cut meats ready simple. Meat is usually cut into small pieces to fit inside jars. Ground meat and sausage can also be Pressure Canned. Recipes for fish and game are readily available. Most meats can either be cooked and canned in juice or water, or packed raw in jars without added liquid. The makers of Pressure Canners have many free recipes on their websites. I have listed some in the links section of this article to the right side of this page.
Many years ago we used to raise a couple of steers every year. It is not possible to Home Can a big percent of the meat from 1/2 a steer in a day. We kept two big pressure canners going and boiled all the bones on the first day after cutting the meat. On the second day, we canned the broth from boiling the bones.
The best cuts should be served or frozen after aging. A quart of our own canned beef broth roasted with a Standing Rib Roast at Christmas was part of our celebration. Use or freeze the best cuts of meat, and can as much of the rest as possible. Then it will be made tender by the long cooking and pressure canning times, and will keep on the shelf for years to come. My idea of Fast Food is Home Canned jars of our own.
Today I are simply canning Angus London Broil cuts from the Grocery store to show how it is done. I started with 4 packages, each weighing about 2 pounds. There was a little extra left after cooking and filling 8 pint jars. I could make a wonderful Stew from each jar this Winter, or maybe it will be in something else like Chile made from our own dry beans. Or simply served over brown rice, egg noodles or potatoes. If you like a thickened gravy, that should be made from the meat juice in the jar just before serving.
I took advantage of a Supermarket sale on one of the tougher cuts of meat. I paid quite a bit less for this meat than the cost of Hamburger. Now that it is Pressure Canned I will simply store it in a dark cupboard, away from sunlight. On another day, I will can ground meat and perhaps season it as sausage. Don't add Sage before processing though, it will become bitter. The secret to having a good supply of food ahead is to keep working at it. When ever you have a harvest or can take advantage of a sale.