By Kim Pratt
Here on the farm we have been canning meat for many years.
We raise our own beef, pork and poultry and often have
excess - that is one reason to can it. Another reason is that
we find it convenient to have cooked meat in the jar that can quickly
be used to make some of our favorite meals.
If you don't raise your own animals as we do, but still would
like the convenience of canned meat, you can simply pick out
your favorite cuts from the store and start from there. Or,
you might find one day that beef, pork or poultry is on sale
for an astonishing price. Buy some now and can it for later use.
Why can meat, when you can freeze it? I get asked this question
quite often. Certainly you can freeze meat, either cooked or
frozen and that is a convenience in itself. However, meat in
the freezer has a limited lifespan which varies between different
cuts. After a few months or longer in the freezer you might find
that due to freezer conditions or simply father time the meat
has degraded somewhat. When meat is canned it can last for many
years if processed and stored correctly.
What kinds of meat should you can?
Certainly you will do well by canning only those cuts and types of
meat that you will enjoy eating. Here is a list of some of
Chicken or Turkey
Ground or Chopped Beef or Pork
Strips, Cubes or Chunks of Beef or Pork
Clams and Oysters
Dishes that contain meat (Chili, etc)
I will be providing a link below to the USDA recommendations
for canning different types of meat. Please read it before
you attempt to can anything. But here is a quickie on the
Meats, or dishes with meats can only be pressure cooked.
Never use the boiling bath method or any other methods.
Always pressure cook the meats for the recommended amount
of time. Typically this is 75 minutes for pints, and 90
minutes for quarts.
Meats can be canned either raw or cooked. I prefer
the raw method because it is more convenient for me, except
in the case of ground meat. This works out better if I
cook it first. Either way, raw or cooked, it takes the same amount of
time in the pressure cooker. Typically you do not add water
or broth to the jar for raw meat (it makes it's own juices)
but you do for cooked meat.
I want to emphasize again that you should read the latest
USDA information on canning meat before you start. Here
is a great link:
USDA Information on Canning Meats
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