By Kitty R. Lynn
Canning meat and fish may seem like an overwhelming task. It is not as difficult as most people imagine and you have the satisfaction of knowing exactly what you are eating. Your sense of self sustainability surrounding food will be at an all-time high!
Important facts to note about canning meat and fish. First, meat is a low acid food. You MUST use a pressure canner to process meat and fish. Water bath temperatures reach 180 degrees F but you need the 240 degrees F that is reached by steam in the pressure canner. Secondly, no matter the recipe directions you must read the directions for using your pressure canner every time you use it. Always be sure and safe.
The basic directions for canning meat are all similar but read your chosen recipe and canner directions before you start.
The easiest meat to home can is stew meat. You can use beef, venison, moose or elk meat. If you partially thaw your meat it is easier to cut because it is firm and cuts easier and quicker.
Cut away any bone, fat or gristle and cut the meat into cubes.
Prepare your jars, lids and rings and have your jar lifter handy. Put your pressure canner on the stove with two inches of water in it (again follow the directions specific to your pressure canner).
Now prepare the meat to go in the jars. Put a tablespoon of cooking oil in a large frying pan and add the meat. Brown and partially cook the meat, seasoning as you desire. Using a slotted spoon, put the meat into the jars leaving 1 inch of head space. Once all the meat is browned and in the jars, add water to the pan to cook a broth to fill jars. When your broth is boiling, ladle it into the jars of meat leaving 1 inch of head space.
Now just like water bathing, wipe the jars, place your hot lids on. Firmly tighten rings on top. Now you are ready to pressure can your meat.
Meat must be canned at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes for pints and half pints, 90 minutes for quarts. Follow the specific direction for using your pressure canner.
When jars have been removed stand back and congratulate yourself. Canning meat is rewarding and not as hard to do as we think!