Thursday, October 13, 2011

Life - a spiritual pickle preserving the body from decay.

I’ve been canning stuff from our garden for the past couple years.  Vegetable canning is probably the most common but it is possible to can other things . . . like butter, milk, bread and meat.  I haven’t been too adventurous about canning the other stuff.  After all you can kill someone if you haven’t properly processed the foods your are putting by. 

However, when there was a lot of hamburger meat leftover after a picnic . . . I’m talking A LOT . . . I couldn’t see it go to waste.  There’s only so much you can eat before it goes bad and only so much room in our freezer.   So, I decided to give canning meat a go.  Using the articles of Jackie Clay . . . pretty much an expert in all things canning . . . as a reference I canned all that leftover ground beef.

I am by no means an authority on canning.  I'm careful and follow the expertise of others.  The article by Jackie Clay that I mainly referenced gave excellent instructions.

First and foremost, canning meat requires a pressure canner.  Water bath canning methods DO NOT to get hot enough to kill any bacteria that could be present. 

I decided to can the meat in pint-size jars because I figure that would be a reasonable size to calculate into recipes calling for ground meat.

I also browned the meat with no seasoning so that it would be more versatile when I use it to cook with.

I used the hot juices from the meat to fill the jars.

One of the things you have to be very careful about is making sure that there is no fat or grease on the rim of the jar.  If there is then it will not get a good seal and cause spoilage.  I wipe the lip of the jars with distilled white vinegar on a clean cloth.

Once the jars are processed and removed from the canner the jars seal.  I think it's cool when the lids  “boing” . . . that's how you know they're sealing.  

The liquid in the jars continues to boil for quite a while.  A lot longer than I would have though, but it's normal. Once the jars are cooling you shouldn't disturb or move them.  This could cause the seal to fail.

When the jars are cool you can check the seal.  If the lid is tight and slightly indented then it's sealed.  If it's not sealed refrigerate it immediately and use it soon.

The jars are ready for storage and for use in your favorite recipe.

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