Preserving Meats by Canning
When you think of canning what comes to mind? Green beans, tomatoes, tomato juice as well as jams and preserves are a few of the things that pop into our heads. But did you know that meats can be canned also? It’s a great way to preserve that fresh meat to use in soups, casseroles and stews.
Preserving Meats by Canning
Canning meats can be a difficult task because there are so many different issues to take into consideration. Just as with cooking meats there is always a possibility for undercooked meats to contain bacteria and other harmful issues. This makes following a recipe that much more important when canning meat.
Meat is a low acid food, which means that it always needs to be canned using a pressure canner. This will make sure the temperature is high enough to kill all bacteria, spores and toxins that are naturally prevalent in low acid foods. A weighted gauge pressure canner is your best bet because it allows for more accurate monitoring of the internal temperatures, ensuring the meat is canned with the least possibility for spoilage.
Cutting the meat across the grain, into strips, is the best way to make sure the meat stays together during the canning process. Remember, there will be high pressures and high temperatures and the last thing you want is your canned meat turning in to a pile of mush when it comes time to break the seal.
You can also cut the meat into 1 inch cubes if you plan on using it in a stew at a later date. It helps to remove as much fat and gristle as possible because those two items can cause the meat to taste extremely “gamey” or prevent the proper seal on the jars.
Cooking your meat before canning is a necessity. Again, using a recipe for this will help out until you get comfortable with the meat canning process. Then you can play around with ingredients and how to prepare the meat in the first place.
Meat can be canned without being cooked first. It is a technique called cold packing. This is where the uncooked meat is stored in a jar and covered with broth or water to allow the meat to cook evenly within the jar as it is heating up.
Especially if you plan on canning fish, you need to follow the recipe for canning. Paying close attention to the time and pressure needed to can each type of meat is extremely important. It is also important to see how to pack the meats. For instance, fish should be cut so it will fit long-ways, with no scales, head, tales or any other body parts. Of course as with everything, the higher quality food you start out with, the higher quality it ill be once it is finished.
Canning meat is a great way to save money, stock up and never run out. Always be sure to have everything you need before you start the process including a tested recipe. Be sure to can meat in strips or cubes to keep it from becoming mushy and always store your canned meats in a cool dry place to keep them safe from food born bacteria.