Some of my favorite home canned convenience foods are ground beef, turkey and chicken. People tell me they are too afraid of killing someone to can meat. I inform these cautious canners death is just as certain from an improperly canned slice of carrot. More people get sick on packaged foods and grocery store produce than home canned goods. You almost never hear of home canned goods causing illness. You just have to follow instructions, like you would cooking with any method.
Canned meats are not only a smart pantry staple, but also great for camping and as an emergency food. It’s safe to serve the meat right out of the can. There is a myth circulating the internet that canned foods must be boiled for 10 minutes – – that is not true. Our canned chicken goes right from jar to bowl for chicken salad. Try canning meats, but you must absolutely use a pressure canner, as with all low-acid foods.
Don’t try to can raw ground beef. Even though you can raw chicken, as it cooks in the jar, the ground beef will turn into a blob, and also might not be safe because of density. You also need to drain most of the fat off the meat before canning. You can also make taco flavored ground beef for a quick Mexican meal. I always brown my ground beef with onion and garlic, but it’s optional.
I’ve dry canned ground beef before, but didn’t like the results because it came out, well . . . dry. Dry canning ground beef is simply putting the cooked meat in a jar without water. I prefer to use water, or you can also use beef stock.
While I’m pretty faithful at planning dinner, there have been several occasions I’ve found myself with no dinner plan at 3 p.m. Having the ability to pop open a can of home canned meat gives me so many options, and makes quick work of my last minute meal. The only thing easier to can than beans is meat. I have a shelf for my 23 quart canner which allows me to can 16 pints at once. Last time I canned ground beef, the bulk package had enough for 11 pints, so I added jars of beans in the canner as well. Both meat and beans take 75 minutes for pints. Multi-purpose your canning!
Canning ground beef is simple, just follow these steps:
Brown ground beef with salt, pepper, onion and garlic.
Amounts of seasoning depend on amount of ground beef, and how much you personally like. You could also brown with taco seasoning. Brown until there is almost no pink, drain, then fill clean pint jars to the 1 inch line.
Add hot water to jars, filling to 1 inch line.
Secure with rings and new lids, and pressure can for 75 minutes.
You will notice after the jars cool, there will be a layer of fat at the top of the jar. That’s actually good, because canned food can lose water as time goes on, and the fat helps seals the meat to maintain moisture. You can scoop of the fat if desired before using.