Tuesday, March 25, 2014
JEAN'S GRANDMOTHER OLIVE TELLS US OF CANNING MEATS
When I first started canning meats, many years back, we did everything they tell us not to do today. We used the hot water method, used any old jars we had around the house that we could boil to put meat in and didn't have recipes in books like they had today. I learned from my mother who had learned it from her mother. If you have never canned meat before, I would suggest you buy a book on canning meat as I am sure, I am not going into every detail. They also might put it much plainer that I am. When I am doing it I remember better than when I am telling it.
But times have changed and so have I. So we will start from the beginning. First off be careful of the meat your purchase or shoot. Make sure the meat is fresh, no mold, bacteria, and more. If you purchase meat from a store, it should have a U.S. inspection stamp on it. If you are purchasing from a farmer, either know the farm you are buying it from or at least check the meat to make sure it does not smell, look bad, etc. When in doubt, throw it out.
If you shoot an animal say a deer, bird or catch a fish - also check it out. You may have to contact a vet or have a grocery butcher check it out. You don't want food poisoning.
When you get the meat keep it in the refrigerator between 40 and 32 degrees- as close to 32 as you can without freezing it, if you are going to can it in a day or two. If it will be longer than that before you can it, freeze it and defrost it in the refrigerator.
Now, what items will you need to do canning. What I am telling you to use are what I use today - not what I used years ago. You will need a pressure canner. You don't have to buy the best, but make sure it can heat to 240 degrees. It must have a stop that will heat right and has a petcock so it will let out steam for about 10 minutes at the start of the canning process. A pressure gauge or dial should be on the top to indicate the pressure along with a safety valve to release excess steam in case it accidentally reaches the danger point. You will also need a rack in the bottom of the pressure canner to place the jars on. If you are buying a new pressure canner, there should be a jar rack with it - but check to make sure. You will also need a Bimetallic-coil thermometer to make sure you cook the meat, poultry and fish to the proper temperature. Also you should get a litter that allows you to move the hot jars - which leads to you needing canning jars.
Glass jars should have a metal band that screws on the jar, metal done lid with sealing compound on underside, and jar. I like the jars with the wider tops so you can get meat in when filling the jars without any problems. Also the wider jars make it easier to get the meat out of them when you open the jars to get the meat out. Like canning vegetables, fruits, etc. make sure your jars sealed when you take them out of the pressure canner. Do not use the rubber seals again. After you have used them and opened the jar, toss them and use new ones next you can. Also make sure there aren't any chips, scratches, etc. on the jars before you use them. If they are not sealed and you are not going to eat the meat immediately, then throw them out.
Here are some rules to go by:
1. Read the directions and make sure you understand how to use the pressure canner - even if you have used it before. Use the pressure canner just as the directions say.
2. Make sure the meat is fresh without mold, bad color, etc.
3. Keep your work area clean at all times.
4. Don't use any shortcuts.
5. Use all instructions for cooling and storing the canned meat.
6. Make sure the jars have a perfect seal.
7. Make sure your equipment is working before you start.
8. Make sure there isn't any spoilage before opening jars.
9. Reheat all meat before using it.
10. Remember the temperature of 240 degrees.
11. If you are following a recipe - follow it to the letter.
Pounds of Meat per Quart Jar
Beef round 3-3 1/2 pounds
Beef rump 5-5 1/2 pounds
Pork Loin 5-5 1/2 pounds
Chicken Canned with bone 3-4 1/2 pounds
Chicken Caned without bone 5 1/2 - 6 1/2 pounds
I don't mean to scare anyone, but I want to make sure that you do it correctly so there is no food poisoning. Canning meat can save you money. Also, we use all the parts of the animal that we can.
In the next post, I will start with canning of beef. They are two ways you can: hot pack and raw pack, which I will go into next week.