Canning meat is no easy thing, especially when you do not know what you are doing. But if you are like me, you love having meat ready at any time. Forget about spoilage and rushing to thaw something last minute.
Here are the 9 tips to follow when you are canning meat:
Tip #1: Always be prepared for the future
Canning meat is not just about having it available for a quick dinner, but it also means that you are prepared for the worst. If you live in an area with heavy snow, or prone to hurricanes, then you surely know that having the power go out can be a disaster. When you have canned meat, you do not have to worry about these emergencies and can feed your family for days at a time without having to leave the house.
Tip #2: Canned meat tastes very good
Unlike what some people think, canned meat is very tasty! Unlike your commercially canned meat, this one is tender and juicy. Since you will be canning it at home, it also has as much seasoning as you want. If you want more flavor, you can also add salt and other seasonings to your jars.
Tip #3: You have to use a pressure canner
I get this question all the time, “can I use a water bath to can meat?” The answer is an absolute NO. You need a pressure canner every time you are canning any sort of meat, whether it is beef, pork, poultry, or fish. A pressure canner is the only safe way to can these foods, because they are low-acid, so you will need the temperature to be raised very high and for a long time to prevent any microbial growth.
While it sounds intimidating, the truth is, pressure canners these days are very easy to handle. Most of these come with safety mechanisms that prevent any burns or damage.
Tip #4: Always begin by cleaning your jars
A rookie mistake many of us make is leaving our jars out for a while. As you may know, this is not good because it allows dust and dirt particles to collect. I always begin by cleaning them thoroughly and let them dry face down on a clean towel. While you do this, make sure you start heating the water in your pressure canner.
Tip #5: Cut and clean your meat
Regardless of what type of meat, the first step to canning it is cutting it into cubes. To do this, I also clean all the parts that are not edible or as tasty, which includes the fat, silver skin, cartilage, or any discolored portion.
Tip #6: Wash your hands and fill the jars with your cubed meat
Before you can your meat, make sure to wash your hands well and allow them to dry. You certainly do not want any soap particles in the meat, but you also do not need dirty hands to spoil your canning process.
Once your hands are dry, you can begin to fill your clean jars with the cubed meat. I always leave about one-inch headspace. I also add salt, and if I’m feeling adventurous, I also add some canning spices, like pepper, garlic, or onion. Adding any salt or spices is optional, but if you add them, do so in the middle and not at the bottom.
Tip #7: Pour boiling water on top of the meat and clean those jars!
This step may seem weird, but pouring a little bit of boiling water on top of the meat so that it is covered by about two inches will help the meat remain juicy and release all of its flavors.
Finally, be sure to clean the rims of your jars with a clean cloth, removing anything that will impede a proper seal. Add the lids and rings to your jars, and seal tight.
Tip #8: Place your jars into the pressure canner and start the processing!
Place your jars into the pressure canner slowly, but only after the heat has been turned down. Set the jars on the rack and put the lid back on. Allow the pressure to build again, following the instructions on your specific canner.
After your desired pressure is reached, which should be after about 20-30 minutes, keep it steady for about 90 minutes. After the time has passed, allow the pressure to release naturally.
Tip #9: Remove your jars and let them cool down
Once the pressure is released, remove your jars carefully again, and allow them to cool down for about a day. I always let 24 hours pass before I remove the rings. Check for a proper seal and no particles.
Store your canned meat in a dry, cool place for many months to come. Once you open your jars, you will need to consume the meat within a few days and store it in the fridge afterward.
So, what do you say? Ready for the new adventure of canning meat at home?