Canning meat is one effective way of preserving it. Most websites and cookbooks emphasize that you use a pressure canner because other methods of canning such as a water bath canner are not always effective when getting rid of all of the bacteria that can result in serious illness or death. This is correct because water bath canning is not always the safest option. There are high risks involved with canning meat without a pressure cooker or canner. Although it may not kill you there is a strong chance of food poisoning. It is also important to note that the water bath canning of meat is a traditional method and it is not a scientifically approved method of canning. Also, If you do not have a pressure cooker there are two ways to water bath or can meat that you can try at your own risk.
Tools You Will Need
- Jars (pint/quart)
- Lids/seals and rings
- Large pot
- A large salad bowl or small bowls
- Sharp knife
- Jar lifting tongs
- A funnel (optional)
- Magnetic lid lifter
- Your Meat
- Clean towels and dishcloth
Prepare Your Meat
The first thing you should do before canning your meat is to prepare it. One way to prepare your meat is to cook it completely. Cooking your meat is recommended because it will kill all the bacteria. You can even add something high in acid that will help in preserving your meat. Others may use tomatoes but they are not always effective. The best ingredient to add for acidity is vinegar. The amount of vinegar you need to add will depend on the amount of meat you want to can. Cook your meat the way you like it, and add the right amount of vinegar to maintain its acidity.
Sanitise Your Tools
The next step to canning your meat is to sanitise your tools. Make sure that your jars are clean. You can hot-pack them to prevent the meat from cooling off, because that will result in the growth of bacteria and spoil your meat. Also sanitize your lids and rings. One effective way to sanitise your lids and rings is to put them in hot soapy water. Do not just clean your jars with dishwasher and cold water. As tempting as it may be, that will not necessarily clean the jars or lids properly.
Hot Pack Your Meat
When your meat is ready, pack it the jars. Make sure that the jars are also hot otherwise they will break. That may be a bit challenging because a lot of people do not know how to heat the jars. Make sure that there is no big difference in temperature between the jars and the meat. Also ensure that you leave about three-quarters of an inch space when packing the meat. A bit of headroom is recommended otherwise the jar will not seal well. Remove any air bubbles in the jars. The best way to remove air bubbles or pockets of air in the jars is by making use of a non-metallic spatula or plastic knife inside the canning jar between the meat and the side of the jar. Gently press the spatula against the meat in order to create a path for the trapped air to escape. Removing air bubbles will prolong the shelf life of your canned meat. Also clean the rim of the jars with some vinegar and seal them.
Place Jars In A Hot Water Bath
Once the packing is complete you can put the hot jars in a water bath canner filled with equally hot water. Again, the temperature of the jars and the water should not be different otherwise they will break. Make sure that the water is at least an inch or two inches above the jars’ top when you are done placing the hot jars in the hot water. The next step would be to bring the canner to a boil and let it sit for at least 3 hours or so.
Store Your Canned Meat
Once your jars are ready you can remove them with jar tongs carefully and set them on a towel. Cover your jars with towels once you have removed them completely. To ensure that they are sealed the jars should make a slight popping sound. After checking if your jars are sealed you can store them in a cool, dry place.
Tips For Canning Meat
It is best to sterilize the tools and materials you will use when canning all sorts of food as well as meat. If you can sterilise your jars, rims and lids the better. Preparing the jars with boiling water is crucial to completely get rid of any bacteria. In addition, there are many recipes that require that you soap-wash or boil the rims and seals with hot water as well. It is best to take time with prepping your tools and jars so that your end product will be shelf-safe for a long time. Another important tip is using unused seals. The lids with their seals are only good for using once. Once you have consumed all of the vegetables or meat from the sealed jar, toss them or recycle them. Lastly, do not neglect to check your jars for cracks or chips because that will prevent your lids from sealing properly.
Risks Associated With The Hot Water Bath Method
It is crucial to understand that the hot water bath method does not guarantee a full seal in any way. There are risks involved when it comes to canning meat using this method. Keep in mind that the water bath method is a method used to preserve high-acid foods. Also, using the water bathing method will not get rid of all the botulism spores, but a pressure cooker will. This is because botulism spores do not die at 212F, which is the boiling point of water. A pressure canner boiling water at 15PSI can raise the boiling point to 250F or so which can kill the spores.