Preserve meat at home with a pressure canner

Using a pressure canner to preserve meat can help you create a quick and easy meal for the future.

Canned meats are a quick easy way to create a meal. Meat is processed by pressure canning because it is a low acid food. First, decide what type of meat you will be canning; this can include bear, beef, venison, veal, lamb or pork. After you decide the type of meat you will be processing then you need to decide in what form you would like to preserve your meat  -  strips, cubed, chunks or ground. For this article, we will use cubed meat in a jar.

At this point, we know we will be using the pressure canner, jars, lids and rings. It is best to have these items washed rinsed and sanitized, ready for use before the process of filling the jars. Now let’s package the jars.

Always package high-quality meat and remove excess fat before processing. It may be necessary to soak wild game in saltwater brine before packaging to remove some of the strong flavors it can produce. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes.

There are two ways to pack the jars, either hot pack or cold pack. Here are both methods;  you can decide which one you like best.

  • Hot pack. Precook the cubes of meat in a small amount of oil. You can do this by roasting in an oven or fry in a pan. After browning, pack the hot meat into hot jars. Do not pack it tight in the jar. Leave a 1-inch headspace. A headspace is the air between the product and the rim of the jar. Use a measuring tool used specifically for canning to be sure you have left the right amount of headspace. Now it is time to add the salt: ½ teaspoon to pints and 1 teaspoon to quarts, if desired. Next pour boiling broth, water or meat juices in the jar covering the meat, leaving a 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles by sliding a plastic knife or tool down the inside of the jar, then add more liquid if needed. Wipe the rim clean, adjust the lids, and process.
  • Cold pack. Add ½ teaspoon of salt to each pint jar and 1 teaspoon of salt to each quart, if you desire to add salt to your meat. Cut your meat into chunks and fill each hot jar leaving 1-inch headspace. Do not add liquid. Wipe the rims free of debris, adjust lids, and process in a pressure canner.  
  • For both processing methods, pints take 75 minutes, and quarts take 90 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure.

Michigan State University recommends closely following the recipe for either hot pack or cold pack when processing meat in a jar. Enjoy the ability to create a healthy meal from a jar when you have taken care to home process your meat.

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