How to Safely Pressure Can Meat, by Sandi H.

I grew up eating my grandmothers’ canned vegetables and fruits. Both of them put up the harvest to feed their farm families in the winter. But neither of them canned meat. It never crossed my mind that one could can meat until, in my thirties, I started canning my own spaghetti sauce and wondered if I could add hamburger to it. It turned out that I could! And that opened up a whole new world of canning opportunities.

Now, canned meats are a pantry staple for my family. I enjoy being able to grab a jar and have dinner on the table in less time than it would take a package of frozen meat to thaw. I have canned chicken, turkey, pork, stew beef, beef meatballs, and meat sauce. The shelf life of canned meat in my experience is 10+ years. If the home canner follows simple rules for safe canning, meat will be safe to eat for many years to come.

Meat MUST be pressure canned. It is a low acid food, and it can NEVER be water bath-canned. Water bath canning can only bring the contents of the jars to 212 degrees, the temperature of boiling water. Pressure canning increases the temperature to 240 degrees, killing botulism and all other micro-organisms that could cause spoilage or toxicity. Thus, one must have a pressure canner that is intended for home canning. This one is my favorite, but this one is a good, affordable option. You will also need mason jars, lids, and rings. It is nice to have a jar lifter, canning funnel, and a lid magnet, but these are not essential.

The idea of canning meat may seem daunting or even a bit frightening, but by carefully following the steps below, you will safely store meat for your family’s future.

Step One: Wash all jars in hot, soapy water and place upside down to drain. Alternatively, you could run them through the dishwasher.

Step Two: Prepare the meat.

Meat can be raw-packed or hot-packed. Raw packed, just as the name implies, means that the meat is trimmed of fat and placed in the jar raw. Fat is the enemy of long shelf life when it comes to meat. Thus, removing all visible fat is important. Fat can cause meat to go rancid within a couple of years. When raw packed meat is processed in the pressure canner, the fat will be cooked out of the meat, and it will float to the top. It may also create striations up the side of the jars, making the jars of meat look like something that my mother the science teacher used to have in specimen jars. Not appetizing to look at! Even so, it is perfectly safe to eat; however, removing as much fat as possible will minimize this effect.

Hot-packed meat is pre-cooked before placing it in the jars. This enables you to skim off and remove more of the fat before filling the jars. It will also result in a more appetizing final product as the jars will not have streaks of fat on the sides.

Step Three: Fill the jars.

Whether raw or hot packing the meat, fill jars to within a generous inch of the top. Add water or broth, using a butter knife to remove air bubbles. Leave a generous inch of headspace (empty space) at the top of the jar. This allows for the contents to expand in the jar as they are heated without buckling the lid and compromising the seal.

Step Four: Seal the jars.

In a small saucepan, heat canning lids in one inch of water for a few minutes to soften the seal. Wipe the rims of the jars with a paper towel or clean cloth dipped in vinegar. Vinegar will remove any fat that has accumulated on the rim, allowing for a good seal between the lid and the clean glass. Place heated lids on jars and screw on rings finger tight. Finger tight means just a snug hand turning; don’t use all your strength.

Step Five: Load the canner.

Pour 3-4 quarts of hot water in the canner and place jars inside. If you have hard water, add a quarter cup of white vinegar to the canning water to prevent clouding of the jars. Most canners can hold 7 quart jars at a time. The water will not cover the jars; it doesn’t need to for pressure canning. Place the lid on the canner tightly, and turn stove burner to medium-high heat.

Step Six: Bring canner to pressure for 90 minutes.

Heat the canner until steam escapes from the vent hole. Vent steam for 10 minutes. This removes air from the canner and will allow pressure to build properly. Place canning weight over the vent hole. The canner will start to build pressure. Bring to 11 pounds of pressure and then set a timer for 90 minutes. Adjust heat as necessary to maintain pressure. The canning weight should bob and dance every 10-20 seconds as it releases some steam. Truly, I judge pressure by the dancing weight more than I do the pressure gauge. After 90 minutes, turn off the heat and allow the pressure to come down naturally. This means do not remove the canner from the burner or wipe the outside of it with cold cloths, and do not remove the canning weight until the pressure gauge reads zero and the air vent/cover lock (if your canner has one) drops.

Step Seven: Unload the canner.

Once the gauge reads zero and the cover lock drops, remove the lid, taking care to avoid being burned by escaping steam. Allow the jars to sit in the canner for ten minutes or so before carefully removing them with a hot pad or, preferably, a jar lifter. Place on a tea towel with some space between jars. Allow to cool overnight. As jars cool, you will hear the magical ping that indicates a good seal. The broth in the jars will continue to bubble for quite some time; this is perfectly natural.

The next day, unscrew the rings and wash the jars. They may have a fatty film on the outside. Removing the rings will allow you to check for a good seal. The lids should be sucked down to the jars; when you press on them, there should be no movement. Use a Sharpie or permanent marker to write the name of the contents and the date you canned them on the lid. Store in a cool, dark place. Check jars periodically to make sure they are still sealed.

Specific tips for meats That I have canned:

Chicken: Most of the time I can chicken breasts. I either cube the meat and hot pack it, or I raw can the whole breasts. Either way, I add a teaspoon of canning salt to each jar for flavor and as a preservative. Cubed chicken gets used in chicken salad, soups, pot pies, and casseroles. Whole breasts are shredded and used to make burritos, enchiladas, and barbecue chicken sandwiches. I have also canned drumsticks which I cooked and deboned. Skin must always be removed from any meat which is canned.

Turkey: I take advantage of Thanksgiving sales and cook down whole turkeys. These are hot packed with the broth from cooking the bones and used much as I would use chicken.

Stew beef: When it is on sale, I buy stew beef and hot pack it with a teaspoon of canning salt or a bouillon cube. I use it to make soups and stews. It can also be shredded and made into barbecue beef sandwiches.

Meat sauce: I brown ground beef, drain it, and add it to my spaghetti sauce. I can have a homemade spaghetti dinner on the table in ten minutes.

Meatballs: I make a simple meatball recipe that does not use bread crumbs or cheese, since these are not ingredients which can be safely canned. My recipe just uses meat and seasonings. I form small meatballs and bake them in a roasting pan at 400 degrees so that the fat drains off, usually around 20 minutes. Then I hot pack them in the jars, adding a beef bouillon cube and hot water. I use them in spaghetti, Swedish meatballs, and Italian meatball soup. They also make a great meatball sandwich. I recommend using wide mouth canning jars for meatballs so that they are easier to remove from the jar.

Pork: I like to hot pack pork because it is a fatty meat, and hot packing allows me to remove more of the fat. I have canned shredded pork and pork chunks. It is good for carnitas or barbecue pork sandwiches.

Meats NOT to can: Ground beef by itself is not palatable to me once canned. I tried canning browned ground beef in broth, but the result was too soft. The texture of the meat made it inedible for us. I even tried re-browning it, but the meat fell apart and became mushy. But ground beef in spaghetti sauce works well.

In conclusion, having canning supplies and knowledge of how to can meat enables me to take advantage of meat sales. Just yesterday I purchased more than 40 pounds of chicken breasts that had been marked down, and I am in the process of canning those. Additionally, when I have had a child leave the freezer door ajar and found thawed but still cold meat, I was able to can the meat rather than see it wasted. I once canned more than 100 quarts of chicken drumsticks that were gifted to me because they could not be distributed at our church pantry because they had been partially thawed. Canning meat has saved me money and it has saved me time. With three teenagers and a busy schedule, canned meat has allowed us to have a home-cooked meal instead of fast food on many occasions. Don’t be afraid to try it!




80 Comments

  1. Thanks so much for your article. The thought of canning has always scared me for fear of giving everyone botulism!
    Your very simple and easy to understand directions, including which canner you use, made me think I might just give this a try.
    Thanks for the encouragement!

  2. Excellent essay! My mother taught me to can pork sausage- much as you do meatballs above. The only difference is we add the meat juices and fat back to the meatballs once packed in the jars. To eat, remove from jar to a pan, heat and eat. When dipped out of the pan much of the fat stays behind. (Some people grew up eating lots of fat)

    We have also canned lard. Render in oven in a LARGE pan so that when removing it is hard to sloosh out of pan (very hot!). Strain through screen funnel lined with cheese cloth into jars, add lids and rings as above and let cool. Great for pies, etc.

    The Ball Blue Book is a great resource.

  3. Thank you Sandi H for this excellent article on canning meat. I was very interested in comparing your methods with mine. I gleaned some very helpful information from you that will help me in the future.

    Such as ” (I) judge pressure by the dancing weight more than I do the pressure gauge.” This was a good tip for me.

    I would just like to add a quick chart on pressure gauge levels. Remember that the pressure gauge reading needs to be according to your elevation.

    If you are located at:

    0-2000 feet elevation then 11 Pounds of Pressure
    2001-4000 feet elevation then 12 Pounds of Pressure
    4001-6000 feet elevation then 13 Pounds of Pressure
    6001-8000 feet elevation then 14 Pounds of Pressure

    I wish to add that because have had trouble maintaining the correct level of pressure from my propane burning stove when trying to adjust the flame, I have learned that one can bring the pressure all the way up to 15 Pounds of Pressure and leave it there for the duration of the canning time. So this is what I do. Once I reach 15 Pounds of Pressure, I begin the timer. Then I don’t have to play with the flame and the pressure stays steady. I just leave my propane gas dial at the highest flame for the duration of the canning. It actually takes the gauge to 16 Pounds of Pressure, but there is no fluctuation for the entire process time.

    Last year was my first time using the pressure canner. I tried to keep the pressure at the level needed for my elevation. Not understanding that the higher pressure was okay, I kept bringing down the flame and five minutes later the pressure was below the level it needed to be. It frustrated me to no end until someone wrote in and explained to me that older canners in the past only had pressure gauge readings of 5, 10, 15, and 20. People would just keep the readings at those levels.

    Another tip, I’d like to add. I wash many jars ahead of time. I store them in boxes in my kitchen, sometimes with a towel over them, sometimes, not. When I need them, I give them a quick rinse out. While they’re still wet I place them in my oven at 250 degrees for at least a half hour before filling them with hot meats.

    Or if doing raw pack will let them cool down for a half hour after removing them from the oven before filling them.

    Rightly or wrongly, I have not been heating up my lids or sterilizing them before hand. They will sterilize in the Pressure canner. Washing them in hot soapy water before hand? Yes, of course.

    I have friends that only wash their jars before filling them, because the canning process kills everything anyway…

    Again, thank You so much for writing this article. It is a great help for many newbies. Happy Pressure canning everyone. It’s a VERY satisfying and rewarding work.

    Blessings,

    Lily

    1. Avalanche Lily and Other SB Experienced Meat Canners!
      Question… Although an electric (programmable) canner is not a good long term solution if the power goes out, is there any advantage to it in higher elevation settings where you’re trying to keep the pressure reading steady for food safety purposes? I am just wondering about this… Again, not a solution if the power goes out for good, but wondering if there is any benefit in the near term related to production of food stores. Looking forward to your thoughts!

      1. Telesilla of Argos

        Do you mean the “instapot” ? I have the crockpot version. I’ve never “canned “ anything in it but I do pressure cook meals in it (my famous pressure cooker prime rib!) and I make LOTS of rice in it. It is a fabulous little machine as it makes spectacular food in VERY LITTLE time. I highly recommend one as a kitchen staple!

        Rock on

        1. RE:Electric Pressure Canners :
          There is or used to be one model of the Instant Pot that said it could pressure can low acid foods. I read the reviews and most of the reviews questioned whether the model could sustain the needed high pressure consistently for pressure canning. I decided not to make the purchase. I believe I did the research about two years ago.
          In January 2020, I was on the Nesco company website looking up information for my dehydrator. I noticed that Nesco now offered an electric pressure canner. At the time, though, it was out of stock. I have not researched it recently
          YMMV

        2. Hello RKRGRL68!
          Haven’t tried an Instapot yet, but would love to do that! I’m thinking your prime rib recipe is mouth watering delicious!!!

          We’ve been using a Carey pressure canner (can also water bath can, but is designed for electric pressure canning). This system has worked really well for us so far — love the programmable feature!

    1. SBC – I’ve used the reusable seals and lids with good success with water bath canning. I’ve been such a ‘nervous nelly’ about pc canning that I haven’t tried it. However, with this great article my confidence is building!

    2. I use Tattler lids and rubber rings. The trick to proper sealing is, when putting on the metal rings, make it finger tight, THEN BACK OFF THE METAL RING 1/4 inch. As soon as you have removed all jars from the canner, go back over each jar and TIGHTEN THE METAL RINGS BACK to finger tight. Then they should seal properly, assuming the rim was clean.

  4. i’ve raw packed and dry canned chicken. Makes its own broth. If anyone’s on facebook (gasp!) check out Rebel Canners. If you can find something canned in the store you can usually can it yourself. Even milk and cheese, banana bread, etc.

    1. I want to second the suggestion to check out rebel canners. I both water bath and pressure can products but have learned to much about extending my options for canning from the Rebel Canners facebook group.

  5. Thanks for your article. I was in the process of writing on this same topic, but I hadn’t finished.

    One thing I’ve heard is that it’s not good to fill the jars with hot water or broth when you’re cold packing, because the meat will make broth of its own, and you don’t want it over-filling. Depending on how much fat and “juice” the cut of meat makes, your jar won’t be full and may not look as pretty, but it’s perfectly safe. When you fill the jar and then it makes its own juice, some of it has to bubble out into the canner. This is probably why you sometimes have a fatty film on the outside of your jars, which I have never found. Do you find that these jars don’t always seal as well? I would think that getting some fat on the rim during canning might interrupt the seal, even though it’s super-hot at the time and the fat might all cook off the rim.

    I love canning pork loin! I usually cube it and parboil it for a few minutes, then drain it, rinse it, and place it in the jars with boiling water and sometimes various spices. It comes out so great for barbecue, on flatbreads, or even eating straight from the jar! Even now, with the prices of meat fluctuating so much, I can find the pork at $1.38 a pound when I buy 10-pound loins. That’s half the price of the loin chops. This is reason enough to can meat.

    Having meat be shelf-stable and not having to worry about power outages is the reason I began canning meat. I wish I had started long ago.

  6. Thank you for the article! This is simple, fantastic information. I especially love the idea of adding the vinegar to the canning water. Duh, I should have thought of it. Our water leaves a heavy white film on our canners that I hate. I will try this out

    Have a Rockin great day

  7. My wife asked me,”Do you like canning?” My answer was no, but I like eating. I have 2 All American canners which I recommend because they don’t use the typical rubber seals.

    1. Roadkill, can you please confirm for us that your name has nothing to do with where you get your meat for pressure canning?

      Ditto on the All American canners, I one and I love it.

      Sandy, excellent article. These types of personal experiences and recommendations are worth so much more than most of what you find on the internet. Thanks for taking the time to put this together.

      A few weeks ago I was thinking that chorizo is one of the things I’ll miss if the SHTF tomorrow. Have you or anyone else tried canning store-bought chorizo? I’d hate to go through TEOTWAWKI without my monthly dose of sodium nitrite. It’s already mush to begin with so shouldn’t be a concern like it is with hamburger?

      Also, for any newbies wanting to get into pressure canning, the capacity of the canners is confusing. The All American 21½ quart canner sounds like it holds a heckuva lot of jars but it actually refers to the volume of water the canner will hold, not how many quart jars will fit inside. The 21½-quart size holds 7 quart jars, not 21. Darn.

      Was anyone else hiding behind the corner looking with one eye the first time their pressure canner was getting up to steam or was it just me??

      1. “Was anyone else hiding behind the corner looking with one eye the first time their pressure canner was getting up to steam or was it just me??”

        Yep, that was me, last summer. 😉 Now I am an old pro! :-0 Not. In a few years maybe, I will be?

          1. Hey Lily and T of A, I know what a bomb looks like. 🙂 Anyone who wasn’t hiding behind the couch the first time most likely falls into the ignorance-is-bliss category. lol.

      2. Oh! That will probably be me in a week or so! I have a brand new, still in the box American canner. I unpacked it to make sure everything was OK. My husband took one look and said “anything that looks like that should not be used in the kitchen!”

        I’ve done a LOT of water bath canning and only done pc canning once. I had a 50% success rate on green beans. 🙁 Ever since then, I have been really nervous – not just because of the new pressure canner but because I HATE wasting food!

        1. Hey RKRGRL68, that’s why you already have all-expensees-paid free tickets for you and your family if I ever get that replacement reverse-threaded gimbolizing thrombulator part for the mother ship and we can all head to Jorj and leave all the protesters, rioters, and Covid-1984 behind. We’re gonna need someone aboard who can cook a mean batch of lasagna.

          As for Roadkill, I was just doing a little pre-emptive intel in case they call on me to be a judge at the 2021 SurvivalBlog Rendezvous chili contest.

  8. Wow does this article bring back memories. I grew up in the mid west in the 50’s. We lived on an acreage and raised much of our own food. My mother and older sisters were pros when it came to canning.

    We would get maybe a couple hundred cockerels in the spring (my dad worked at a egg hatchery, they discarded the cockerels). I don’t remember the exact number of months we raised the birds before the fall canning season, but in any case, they were just the right size to fit into a half gallon canning jar. We stuffed the whole bird in there!
    It was a family affair, we boys chopping, de-feathering, gutting and the girls in the kitchen, cleaning, prepping and canning.

    I was always amazed at the speed my older sister and mother could pluck and gut a chicken. If I remember rightly it was around 6-7 minutes per bird! We had a contest between Rosie (my oldest sister) and mom one time and I think Rosie won, but not by a hair
    (by a feather) LoL……

    Isn’t amazing that what you think is just plain ‘work’ is so rewarding over the years. Oh sweet memories, thanks Rose and mom.

  9. i have had great results canning fresh Italian sausage in tomato sauce with onions and peppers. i first brown the sausage and vegetables in olive oil, but don’t cook completely, then hot pack in home made sauce. makes great sausage sandwiches or used with pasta.

    i have heard, but not yet tried, that skinned and quarterd rabbit is excellent canned, my sears canning book (written by Presto) has a recipe in it for rabbit.

    1. I’ve never canned my rabbits quartered, but I do cook, debone, and hot pack my rabbits. Then I also can the broth that is left over. The meat and broth are both delicious! It is like shredded chicken, but leaner. I prefer our rabbits to chicken!

  10. This is a good article . Some things I will never can again , ground hamburger , the article is correct it is yuck . Beef ribs , the bone does not get hot enough and I had 20% spoilage . Any processed meat , weiners , salami, sausages. The texture changes and when that happens so does the flavor..

  11. Thank you, Sandi H! Your article was excellent and timely! We have filled our freezers, but given concerns about the possibility of power outages, think it will be wise to move to pressure canning our meat supplies. The tips and suggestions you’ve shared will be extremely helpful! So much appreciated!

  12. We raw pack spuds. They are ok mashed but chopped up and fried in bacon grease with a little onion.Ummm good.
    If you watch the sales even now pork shoulder roast and BBQ sauce are cheap. Crock Pot
    pork, shred it and stir in the sauce and can it. Very simple.
    I think that soon the price of jars and lids will be the same as gold.

  13. Great article – thanks for sharing your knowledge. I know people that can venison with spices and eat it right out of the jar, others in my area take advantage of the spring river run of suckers from of the Great Lakes. These can be taken with hook and line or by large dip nets in the spring.

    1. Electric is fine and all, until you don’t have it anymore. We are expecting long term outages in the future. Therefore propane, while it lasts is better. When it runs out, then we’ll have to use wood. At least if there is a long term power outage, we’ll have time to can up the last of our frozen meat. We choose to live as if we might not have electric power some day. We do not have a solar array. When power goes out, we have propane for the stove and one freezer. I am currently working on making more of our foods shelf-stable.

      Blessings,

      Lily

      1. Grid down and running out of propane is a major worry if you are canning.I seem to recall that a few years back there was an advertisement in either Grit or Mother Earth News for a company that was making a rocket stove just for pressure canning. The picture showed an
        All American pressure cooker being used.
        I’ll see if I can find the ad or if anyone out there knows about it the info would be valuable.

        1. Here’s a good thread on a website called SurvivalBlog, one of those prepper sites. This link is from a year ago, many of the comments are discussing canning over open fires, etc.

          https://survivalblog.com/editors-prepping-progress-87/

          Making a rocket stove cooking range is still on my to-do list. The whole rocket concept is a great idea when firewood will be much harder to produce after TEOTWAWKI. I have a rocket water heater and made a rocket baking oven which I had to leave behind at my former residence. It would make pizza, bread, or rolls as quickly as you can make them in your kitchen range, with a very even heat, and all cooked with only a small bundle of kindling.

  14. I grew-up on a farm, my four grandparents lived next door.

    Helping with the post-canning shelving of our goodies, I wandered in awe among the basement aisles of our storage.
    One extended shelf had quarts of canned well-water.
    Another had quarts of dog-chow.

    Today in late-2020, my two forty-foot shipping containers of ‘put-back’ seem almost inadequate.

    1. LM, I agree with you. No matter how much we put up or put back it does not feel like enough. I think in large pare the unknowing plays a part in this anxiety. Will the stores really be empyt, will the Grand Solar Minimum translate into food shortages such as we are hearing about. I for one believe these impacts will be far greater than any of us can image and so I keep canning, preserving and taking advantages of the local harvests while we can do so.

  15. Great article, as Avalanche Lily addressed the elevation I won’t, also Ball has removed the preheating the lids step from their canning process, not that it hurts to do it but it does save time. We just wash lids with soap and water then wipe the top of the jar as you suggested and use the same vinegar rag to wipe the lid and on it goes, works great. I should note that I didn’t figure this out on my own, I read it on this blog a few years ago. Theresa Loe’s article at Living Homegrown.com She did all the research, even called Jarden, the maker of Ball lids to confirm the change. Great write in, we pressure can everything, its always fun to read someone else’s take on a kindred interest.

  16. Pints are good for 2 or 3 people at about 1 pound of meat per pint
    with a processing time of 75 minutes at 11pounds pressure
    any seafood (fish, shrimp, shellfish, etc.) should be processed
    at 11 pounds pressure for 100 minutes for pints adjust for elevation

  17. Timely and very useful article, a much needed critical skill for all.

    My personal method of regulating pressure is simply to run the pressure to 15lbs, or up to the point when the weight wobbles, and back off the flame just a tad, so that the pressure decreases, and becomes stable somewhere between the minimum pressure required for my altitude, and the maximum my pressure the canner can attain. It is best to run it a pound or two above the minimum or target pressure to allow a comfortable margin of error. I also run the canner longer than the required minimum duration just for good measure and possibly a tighter seal. Preheating the lids softens the seals so that when one tightens the rim “hand tight”, the rubber seal is soft enough to deform to conform to the shape of the glass rim of the jar completely to create the best seal possible. I notice the difference this extra effort makes when opening jars, when the seal is actually very difficult to break, and the metal lids are usually deformed in the process. To myself, this is an indication that more of the gases were purged resulting a greater vacuum, and that the seal is sufficient to ensure the longest term preservation possible. I believe that by opening a jar 24 hours after it was canning or sample testing a batch in this way is necessary, because it confirms that the method or technique used is adequate, especially when the food preserved contains lots of fats or oils.

  18. I bought a plague mask at Amazon. I dressed all in black with a boonie hat and went to Publix grocery store. Some ignored me. Some stared after I passed. Some laughed.
    The young female teller required ID for the wine. My white beard and 70 year old veiny hands were not enough.
    So I dug out my back up ID. It is a copy of Vladimir Putin’s drivers license I found in Russia. There is a drink advertisement on the back. She had to take it! I was required to wear the mask and couldn’t take it off for picture verification.
    Minors aren’t the only ones with fake IDs.

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B088NYZ74L/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o02_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

    1. Oh my gosh. I was not expecting that. When I clicked on your link, I burst out laughing. This was after I had already had a good laugh at your having Putin’s drivers license. Blessings on your week, Krissy

    2. LOL the highlight of my day! I want to get one but wear glasses, & under the questions, one person says yes, you can wear glasses underneath, but another one says no. Captain, do you by chance wear glasses?

    3. Captain

      How awesome!!! I think since it’s close to Halloween anyway, donning a full out costume with the cookiest mask one can find and then going grocery shopping or something like that would be sooo fun!!

      Gotta get some fun out of all this doom & gloom where you can

  19. Thanks for the article.

    I just watched the Alaskan Prepper on YouTube can some Bratwurst and it looks like something I could do for my first meat. I’m always nervous about canning meat.

    I’m one step closer!

  20. After I open a jar and use the contents, I wash the jar, lid & ring. I put the lid back on the jar upside down (so the seal won’t stick to the jar) and lightly screw down the ring. When I go to use the jar again I don’t have to dig out any rings, just fresh, unused lids. I like using canning jars to store leftovers in the frig too. You can see what’s in the jar and use a Sharpie to mark the date on the lid (you never have to wonder how long it’s been in there). I read a great idea somewhere…instead of storing your jars empty, fill them up with water. They don’t use any more storage space than empty jars do.

  21. I have been laughed at through the years for my hoarding tendencies. I have bought pressure canners and jars and lids, and stock piled them while others were spending money on lavish vacations. Do I wish I had more jars and lids? Of course I do. But I am not scrambling for canning supplies like so many are. And the vast majority of those jars are full of food.

    When I slaughter chickens, I cut out the “good meat” for us, and the rest gets cooked down for dog meat. They absolutely love it. It gets cooked under pressure several hours in my AA941 before being canned.

  22. Sandi, Loved your article, real world experience and tips.

    Some might be interested to know that my brand new All American 941 arrived last Thursday, after ordering on July 27th… just 39 days!

    This was much earlier than I expected. I have RKRGRL68 to thank for mentioning Pleasant Hill Grain, out of Nebraska. (with Free shipping.)

    I feel so blessed by Survival Blog and each of you that contribute to my learning by sharing comments. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. In addition, getting to laugh while learning is like frosting on the cake.

    I’m hoping to squeeze in time tomorrow to find a camp chef stove to purchase for pressure canning.

    I am dismayed with the news that ground beef doesn’t can well. I really wanted to do taco meat. Bummer. Thank you to each of you for your tips that saved me time and money!!!

    Btw, I overworked my hands last week, and would appreciate prayers for healing and the pain and swelling to go away. I am helping my dad, and there is still so much to do.

    To each of you, may the Lord bless you in the way you need it most,
    Krissy

      1. Well,

        I made Succotash with the canned hamburg. I sliced up potatoes very small, as well as onions and garlic and heated them up in a cast iron pan. It tastes quite good to me. The meat is soft-ish, but I like soft meat. I like it.

        The hamburg was very lean. I cooked it up and drained it and added boiling water to it before pressure canning it.

        I like it. I’m eating it while writing about it. It does need salt. This must have been the can that I didn’t add salt to.

    1. Krissy

      That’s fantastic! I am so happy you got your canner.
      Happy canning to you.

      BTW, how’s your son & family adjusting to the new place? I remember you being very thankful for the opportunity for them

      Have a Rockin great day

      1. Hi, RKRGRL68, They are so busy, not sure they have time to adjust, lol. They have a 2, 4 & 5 year old, so that equals pre-school and kindergarten. They have hit the ground running and are learning fast.

        My daughter in law grew up a farm girl, so segueing into prepping isn’t completely foreign. They are only a few hours from her childhood home and family, which is wonderful. She has even got her mother and sister in law to understand that food shortages are coming. PTL. Now they are starting to prepare; more people to be part of the solution.

        Did your daughter’s finger heal completely and return to normal use? I was wondering about her smashed tendons recovering.

        Blessings to you,
        Krissy

        1. Krissy,

          That’s wonderful to hear! More family on board is a blessing.

          My daughter is fully healed and back to her normal duties on base. Oh to be nineteen again! I would give anything to have that kind of stamina again.
          Said a prayer for you to heal up quickly also.

          Thank you for thinking of me it means a lot to me

          Rock on

    2. Krissy,

      I do hamburger in a variety of ways that work out well. We have canned it in broth after cooking it up and tend to use this to make nachos. We don’t mind it that way. I also cook it up into sloppy joes, taco meat sauce, a variety of soups with hamburger in it, and burritos in a jar. I pressure can for the ingredient that requires the most time which is usually the meat.

  23. I was wondering about a comment in step three concerning packing with a “butter knife”. I was always taught to not use metal of any kind to remove air bubbles or pack jars. Possibly since meats are low acid verses high acid tomatoes?

  24. I have been canning meat for almost 40 years. I can lots of hamburger( usually venison). I fry up the hamburger until done then drain well in a colander. I put the fried hamburger in the jar and just put in about a half inch of water then process. I’ve never had any complaints from anyone I’ve served it to. Because my hamburger is usually venison I usually add about a half teaspoon of garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a teaspoon of beef bullion. I don’t put much water in or it becomes mushy but if you don’t put any in it can become a bit crusty. Also it’s not recommended to can in half gallon jars. You might fudge with water bath canning but I absolutely wouldn’t pressure can in them. It’s just not worth the chance of not being properly processed. We process our own chickens. I cut them up and wrap 4 thighs together, 4 drumsticks together, chicken breasts separately and place the wings in baggies. I then pressure cook the remaining chicken down. I then remove the good chicken meat from the bones and drain the broth through a strainer. I can the meat pieces in pint jars and the broth in pint jars too. I then pressure can them both (separately as they have different canning times). I’ve canned fish, venison, ham, pork ,sausage, bacon and many other kinds of meat. It’s extremely handy and would be a good way to get prepared. I too believe most canned meat will be good for 10 years.

    1. Hi Sis,

      Hey, would you mind talking to us about how you have canned fish? I hear that there are lots of recipes. I’m interested in canning salmon and maybe some trout, if I ever catch any…

      Blessings,

      Lily

      1. Lived in Idaho 20 years ago and used to catch Kokanee salmon and can them. After cleaning the 9 inch fish (on average) I would cut them in half. As I recall, I could fit 3 and 1/2 fish in a pint jar. Oh yeah, before canning them I marinated them in a mixture of 5 parts brown sugar and 3 parts salt (and sometimes added a little Italian dressing to the mix) for 24 hours. Processed them at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes (might have been only 75). You can’t buy canned fish that tasted that good. Oh, yeah, again. Sometimes I would cold smoke the fish for a few hours. Works on trout, too.

      2. Lily,

        I can salmon and tuna often. I use wide mouth pint jars. Usually I get about a pound of find in each wide mouth jar. When I buy fish I wash and de-skin and bone the fish into fillets. Once I have the fillets I cut the fish into stips of meat and put it into the jars in a raw pack. I add a 1/2 teaspoon of salt (although you do not need to do this- we like the salt pack better) and then seal the jars. You do not have to add liquid and the fish will produce liquid. You can pints in the pressure canner for 110 minutes (although check your own manual for your type of canner).

        The fish turns out wonderful. We use it in a variety of dishes from a “tuna like meal” mixed with mayonnaise to using chucks of fish in pasta dishes or casseroles.

  25. Another tip. Last winter, most of my cooking was done on a wood stove, and only one 20 pound tank was consumed during a 6 month period.

    To preserve propane, pre-heat the canner and contents on a wood stove. Once the pressure starts to rise rapidly toward the target pressure, or after it has reach the minimum pressure, transfer it to the propane stove. It takes lot of propane to get it up to pressure, yet very little propane to maintain the required pressure. To use the wood stove for entire cook time, create a thick bed of coals, add large pieces of wood, and once the the pressure begins to climb, shut the stove down. It takes practice, yet a stable temperature and pressure can be maintained for more than one hour. If need be, use a large iron skillet to create space between the stove and canner or pot. This will greatly reduce the amount of heat it receives from the stove.

  26. Lived in Idaho 20 years ago and used to catch Kokanee salmon and can them. After cleaning the 9 inch fish (on average) I would cut them in half. As I recall, I could fit 3 and 1/2 fish in a pint jar. Oh yeah, before canning them I marinated them in a mixture of 5 parts brown sugar and 3 parts salt (and sometimes added a little Italian dressing to the mix) for 24 hours. Processed them at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes (might have been only 75). You can’t buy canned fish that tasted that good. Oh, yeah, again. Sometimes I would cold smoke the fish for a few hours. Works on trout, too.

  27. When I first tried canning hamburger, I used the method of browning, draining and adding liquid. The resulting product reminded me of cheap canned dog food. So I tried raw packing and didn’t care for the results with that either.

    Now I lightly brown hamburger, drain it well and pack it tightly into pint jars, leaving a one inch headspace. I do not add any liquid and process the pints for 75 minutes at the pressure for my altitude.

    Using this method, I can’t tell the difference between freshly browned hamburger and canned. I use it in any recipe calling for browned hamburger.

  28. Good article and timely info as the 25 year food buckets commonly sold now do not contain much protein, specifically, no meat. Its all carbs, which makes for boring food. I’ve done my share of meat canning and can add a few tidbits. First of all, the part about fats turning rancid inside sealed canning jars is FALSE. When pressure canning, the reason we let the canner vent for 15 mins is to drive out most of the air and replace it with steam. This also happens inside the jars. Once the air is mostly gone, no oxygen is left to oxidize the fat, and it cannot turn rancid, even after a decade. Sure, cold fat may not look wonderful, but fats and oils are VERY IMPORTANT part of our diet, especially when food is short. Fat is THE most concentrated form of energy there is. In cold climates, drinking rendered oil and eating blubber is the only way humans can keep warm. Another example is pemmican which is made from raw dried pulverized beef, with added dry blueberries and… rendered beef fat aka tallow. Pemican left from the Civil War was found to be fully edible almost a century later, wrapped in layers of parchment paper. Fat in canning jars has its place and its valuable during hard times! I’ve canned diced bacon and the fat is delicious when used to make gravy, or frying hash browns.
    ***Here’s a handy gage for your canned meat supply. A quart jar is approximately 1 3/4 lbs. of meat. If you eat ¼ lb per day, a week needs 1 3/4 lbs, or exactly one quart jar. So, per person, 52 quart jars is one year of meat. Happy canning!

  29. Sorry for the delay. I’ve bee super busy putting up garden produce and fruit and berries that I’ve picked. I sometimes miss the help of my now grown kids ☺. As to canning fish. I’ve canned lots of Alaskan salmon and moose when we lived in Alaska. With Alaskan salmon you’re lucky if you can put one fish in 3 quart jars. I didn’t realize salmon could be so small until we moved here to Montana. Up there I just skinned the salmon ( placing the fish on newspaper while doing it so it wouldn’t slip around) and raw packed it in the jars. I used wide mouth jars so it was easier to get out. My husband would also kipper and smoke some which I canned in pint and 1/2 pints. Here in Montana I have canned the kookinee salmon in quart jars by just washing the fish well and putting the fish in a jar unskinned. Also my husband has smoked these which I’ve also canned. My sons liked to fish for pike. I’ve canned them raw and unskinned too. I find that the pike meat can be used a lot like tuna. I haven’t seasoned my fish except for the smoking as I like to have lots of options on how I fix it ☺. It’s really easy to do. Just make sure you can it for the full time at the right pressure ( a bit higher is fine, just not lower). It’s wonderful to have a variety of meats canned and always available on hand. It’s easy to put together a quick and very nice meal in a short time with canned meat and other canned foods.

  30. I have been canning meat for over 10 years, and have made beef dishes with good results.
    I also can bacon grease for future use as fat in your diet will be a key to survival. In my area canning supplies are sold out, lids and jars are gone. I see that All American canners are back-ordered into January. I recently canned some hamburger patties separated by parchment paper, haven’t tried them yet.

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