I love finding meat on sale or getting a freezer full of deer meat from the neighbors, but there’s only so much freezer room available at my house. While making jerky out of various types of meat, especially turkey jerky, is always fun and a great way to make meat last longer, I still want fresh meat for my favorite recipes. The best thing about canning meat, in my opinion, is that it enables me to preserve fresh meat to use as I please. Here are the steps for canning your favorite types of meat.
• Pressure Canner
• Mason Jars
• Sharp Knife
• White Vinegar
Cut meat to size, so as to prevent having to use canned meat for one specific thing. Such as, tiny pieces only for stew or soup, instead of having big chunks for roast, etc. You don’t have to mince everything up into itsy bitsy pieces in order to can it. Cut it into chunks, strips, or leave it just large enough to get it to fit in the jar. If you decide to use ground meat, be sure to brown it before canning it. But, meat you are simply cutting up to can doesn’t have to be cooked.
Filling the Jars:
Fill jars to the bottom of the screw rim. Pour warm water over top of meat, just up to the screw rim as well, and then slide a butter knife down along sides of meat in the jar to allow water to get into any space it can. This will also eliminate any gaps filled with air that might exist. Once filled, take a paper towel moistened with white vinegar and wipe the top of the jar, as well as the rim of the jar. Any gunk left on the rim of the jar will keep it from sealing properly during the canning process. Put the lid and ring on the jar and tighten only with your finger tips. You don’t want to screw the lid on too tight right now.
Loading the Canner:
Place jars inside the canner on a rack. You don’t want them to come into contact with the bottom of the canner. Fill the canner with 2 to 3 inches of warm or hot water and ¼ cup white vinegar. If your canner is large enough to hold a second layer of jars, place a second rack on top of the jars already nestled inside the canner. There should be a little bit of wiggle room between the jars so the water can bubble between them.
Canning the Meat:
Put the lid on top of the Pressure Canner, without the pressure weight, and turn the burner on high. Allow 5 minutes for the steam to escape from the exit pressure valve, then put the pressure weight on. Consult the manual for specific instructions for your particular canner. You might have to make adjustments based on your altitude and/or the type of meat you’re canning. The heat may need to be adjusted so you can hold the desired pressure without having to fiddle with the pressure valve. This process will take anywhere between 60 and 90 minutes.
Follow your manual to see how to remove the pressure canner’s lid. Wipe off the jars with a clean, dry cloth, and tighten down the lids as much as you can. They tend to loosen a bit during the canning process. Once they cool down a bit, label the jars and store them in a cool place.
This 6 Piece Canning Set will make the job a lot easier!
Now You’re Set!
With a pantry full of canned meat, you’ll be ready for whatever Old Man Winter sends your way! Remember to rotate your pantry stock too. When you have new cans of meat, or any canned goods for that matter, put them towards the back of the pantry and the older jars in front. This will prevent any food from going to waste because it was left on the shelf too long.
What meat preservations methods do you use?