Each year, we purchase a side of beef, or a whole cow, depending on prices. While it’s awesome to have all that meat, storing it used to present a problem. I don’t have a lot of freezer space. And there was this one time that the freezer went out on me days after I got the full cow in there.
So, we had to make a bit of a change. We no longer rely solely on the freezer to store our beef. I am going to share with you how canning beef will help you stock your own pantry.
This is great no only for when you purchase in large quantities, but we love to be able to take it camping with us. Home pressure canning beef, ground or stew meat makes it so much easier to “dump and heat” for a quick and easy meal. It’s all the convenience of fast food at your fingertips and much healthier to boot.
While you only need a few things for canning beef, keep in mind safety factors. First, pressure canning beef is a MUST.
It doesn’t matter if your great aunt or grandma used to water bath it, it’s not safe. We know more about germs, botulism and such than they used to. Canning meat without a pressure cooker is not enough to kill those germs. You wont be able to taste, smell or see the toxins on there. So, just don’t. Please.
There are two methods to canning beef, and you will use them for canning venison meat, or elk. When getting ready for canning beef, or any canning, you’ll want a few things:
- A clean surface to work on
- Pressure canner
- clean jars and bands
- new lids (use new lids EACH time)
- rubber spatula to remove air bubbles
The first pressure canning method we will discuss is the raw pack method. This is just like it sounds, adding raw meat to the clean, sanitized jars. I use this for stew meats and roasts cut down into chunks.
The second is the hot pack pressure canning method which involves precooking the meat. I use this for ground meats. This will involve pre-cooking the meat, mainly ground beef or ground venison to before pressure canning. This reduces the amount of grease that will wind up in the jar. To fill the jars, you will need a pound per pint, or 2 pounds per quart. Remember the old saying, “A pint’s a pound, the world around”? Totally true here.
For canning beef chunks, such as stew meat, using the canning raw beef, or raw pack method.
- Add the beef into the jars.
- Cover with boiling broth or water. I like to use broth to add an element of flavor.
- Leave 1 inch headspace.
- Using a rubber spatula, run along the inside of the jar to remove air bubbles.
- Wipe the jar rim, cover with a new lid and clean band and finger tighten.
- Process for 80 minutes for pints, 90 minutes for quarts at 10 pounds pressure, adjusting for altitude.
- Allow the canner to cool on it’s own, remove jars and set in a non drafty place for 24 hours to cool.
- Any jars that don’t seal need to be used up within 3 days, while being stored in the fridge.
For the canning ground beef, you will want to use the hot pack method.
- Precook the hamburger. Remove most of the grease, and put 1/4 of the remaining grease into the jars with the meat.
- Fill the jars with hot broth or water, leaving 1 inch headspace.
- Run a rubber spatula along the inside of the jar to remove air bubbles.
- Wipe the lid of the jar with a clean, damp cloth to remove food residue.
- Add new lid and clean band, screwing on finger tight.
- Process both for 80 minutes pints, 90 minutes quarts at 10 pounds pressure, adjusting for your altitude.
- Allow the canner to cool on it’s own accord, remove the jars and set in a non drafty place for 24 hours.
- Any that didn’t seal need to be used up within 3 days, while being stored in the fridge.
If you have a lot of jars that didn’t seal, check that your lids are brand new. Reusing lids can cause faulty sealing. When canning beef and the seal fails, it is possible to re-process the meat by following the directions above. Make sure to use a new lid when re-processing.
To use your canned meat, simply add to your favorite recipes. When canning meat shelf life is approximately 1 year.
We like to add a bit of butter while heating the ground beef, and the canned stew pieces make for a wonderful beef and noodles, or beef soup. What are some of the ways you would use the canned beef? Tacos, spaghetti, pizza? Have you tried home canning beef before? What are YOUR reasons for doing so?