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Thread: Meat Canning (jarring) Questions (First Timer)

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    Default Meat Canning (jarring) Questions (First Timer)

    I'm looking into canning meat (commercial/store bought meat, ground beef or pork and stew meat-I came up empty handed this season; no surprise there) and have a couple questions for which I haven't found answers on the internet. Hoping some folks here can offer some suggestions.

    I've been reading about canning on the web, starting with the Alaska extension office, and one thing I've noticed is they used the term pressure canner not pressure cooker. I have what my grandmother called a pressure cooker. I thought the only difference was size and the psi gauge on the lid. (I thought the psi gauge was just something a bit more modern.) Mine has a weight that goes over a valve and it rocks and toggles back and forth while you cook/can/whatever. Anyway, from reading several websites, I've discovered that these older-school models use a 15 psi weight fairly universally. Everything I've read in regards to meat canning says 11 psi at sea level and 15 psi at 1k ft and above. Apparently, the psi relates to temperature, with higher pressures equaling higher temps. (240 deg F at 11 psi to be exact.) So my first question is, can I use a pressure cooker with no PSI gauge? (Seems like I should be able to-same process.) And 2.) what happens if I can meat (or anything else for that matter) using 15 psi instead of 11? It seems to me that the same results will be achieved because the meat will still be brought to that higher temperature. Is there such a thing as over-canning meat (like over cooking)?

    My other question is about food quality and such. Obviously, since I'm canning store-bought meat, I could just buy canned meat, such as canned roast beef. It seems to me that that stuff gets processed a lot more than home-canned, fresh meat. Would there be any benefit, health and diet wise, to canning my own (less chemicals, etc.) over buying commercially canned meats?

    So that's it. I know that's a lot of words for a couple questions.

    PS: I'm sure someone is goig to ask: there reason I'm doing this is I plan to spend most of the summer at our cabin property with my son, and I'm looking for ways to keep whole foods without having to buy ice every other day. Canning ground beef wilt let me fix spaghetti, chili (real chilli, not Hormel in a can), tacos (all foods my son likes) without worrying about refrigeration. Err, that's my plan, at least.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    All the canners I have ever seen had three weight holes on them. Pick the weight you need and use the correct hole. If yours doesn't have the three holes then buy one that does.
    I know trustworthy in Soldotna sells the weights and other parts. Someone in Anchorage surely does as well.
    This is a pressure cooker:


    This is a pressure canner:
    pressure canner.jpg
    You should not can in a pressure cooker.
    This link answers your question.http://housewares.about.com/od/press...surecanner.htm
    If you have one that does not have a weight but only a guage then you need to get your gauge calibrated annually.
    With a weight no calibration needed.
    My wife loves to can stuff and I think it is becoming an addiction for her. But I like it.
    She has done her own Applesauce,pie fillings,jams,jellies,Fish,homeade soup mixes,etc.
    We canned 17 cases of Salmon this year. We won't have to can salmon next year so thats nice.
    I canned some caribou scraps years ago and it was great. We didn't have the sausage making stufff so I canned it.
    Open a jar heat in a pan and add your favorite BBQ sauce. Just like a pulled pork sandwhich.MMMMMmmmm....
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    There are some models with no weights. They have PSI gauge instead. I bought one not knowing the difference.

    They are f---------ing terrible. You have to hover over the stove to check the gauge and adjust the heat every two minutes. If you don't it either goes to 15 or below 11.

    I was able to buy the weights separately and it is an indescribably huge improvement.

    I wouldn't have bought the one I did. I didn't know it didn't come with weights. It's one of the Presto models. Their other models come with weights.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mike h View Post
    There are some models with no weights. They have PSI gauge instead. I bought one not knowing the difference.

    They are f---------ing terrible. You have to hover over the stove to check the gauge and adjust the heat every two minutes. If you don't it either goes to 15 or below 11.

    I was able to buy the weights separately and it is an indescribably huge improvement.

    I wouldn't have bought the one I did. I didn't know it didn't come with weights. It's one of the Presto models. Their other models come with weights.
    Good point. I have never used the gauge only type but my wife tells me the same thing you just did. Hovering over it making constatnt adjustments doesn't sound like fun.
    With the weight the over pressure just vents out lifting(jiggling) the weight.A steady jiggle and you are good to go.
    Another note is Water bath canners are not to be used for meats and fish.
    They are for canning fruits and veggies only.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    Good point. I have never used the gauge only type but my wife tells me the same thing you just did. Hovering over it making constatnt adjustments doesn't sound like fun.
    With the weight the over pressure just vents out lifting(jiggling) the weight.A steady jiggle and you are good to go.
    Another note is Water bath canners are not to be used for meats and fish.
    They are for canning fruits and veggies only.
    So what you're describing is pretty much what I have. (same as "pressure cooker" you pictured below) The jiggling weight keeps it at a certain pressure (15 psi I believe). As long as the weight keeps jiggling, it's at 15 psi. Stops jiggling-it has gone less than 15. Curious, why do you say those are for fruit and vegetables only? I ask because, from my reading, most vegetables are low acid content, same as most meats, so both would be equally susceptable to the same micro organisms. Most fruits are acidic enough to just can in a hot water bath. (Which is all the canning I know about-from my grandmother.)

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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    You should not can in a pressure cooker.

    This link answers your question.http://housewares.about.com/od/press...surecanner.htm
    Sort of, but not entirely. I guess what I'm trying to understand is why CAN'T I jar/can in a pressure cooker? It's the same process in the same type of vessel. The even both regulate pressure in the same way (weighted cap-either fixed wieght, like mine, or an adjustable weight as on a "canner"). The only difference is one has a gauge and one doesn't. I'm not understanding how that gauge makes a difference.

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    Premium Member kasilofchrisn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    So what you're describing is pretty much what I have. (same as "pressure cooker" you pictured below) The jiggling weight keeps it at a certain pressure (15 psi I believe). As long as the weight keeps jiggling, it's at 15 psi. Stops jiggling-it has gone less than 15. Curious, why do you say those are for fruit and vegetables only? I ask because, from my reading, most vegetables are low acid content, same as most meats, so both would be equally susceptable to the same micro organisms. Most fruits are acidic enough to just can in a hot water bath. (Which is all the canning I know about-from my grandmother.)
    What I said was "water bath" canners are for fruits and veggies only.
    They look like this:
    water bath canner.jpg

    I suggest you visit you cooperative extension service with your canner in hand and ask them your questions.
    From the sounds of it you need their professional advice. They will probably be doing another class at the sportsmans show this year as well.
    I suggest you buy a pressure canner to do all of your meats. We use the All american brand. They feature a metal to metal seal so we never have to replace o-rings on the lid.
    We have 3 pressure canners and a water bath canner at our house.
    My wife is becoming very skilled in using all of them and keeping our pantry full of healthy Alaskan grown and harvested foods.
    But don't take chance with your life. Learn how to use them properly.
    "The closer I get to nature the farther I am from idiots"

    "Fishing and Hunting are only an addiction if you're trying to quit"

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    Also there are some canners without gauges.

    Links to why not use cooker:

    http://www.uaf.edu/files/ces/publica.../FNH-00223.pdf

    http://www.foodsafety.wisc.edu/consu...randcooker.pdf


    Even if I were safe to use a cooker, it would be a pain in the donkey. It takes 2+ hours, way longer when you include cooling, so doing a couple of cans at a time in a cooker would be a waste of time and money.

    Also, you need a rack to put the cans on.

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    We can large amounts of meat every year. Something I have not seen brought up is browning ground meat before canning. Otherwise you end up with a jar shaped chunk of hamburger.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    We can large amounts of meat every year. Something I have not seen brought up is browning ground meat before canning. Otherwise you end up with a jar shaped chunk of hamburger.
    Browning before jarring is called hot pack. It's the same 90 mins at 10 psi process as raw meat (cold pack), but you start with hot water instead of cold in the cooker/canner, and you pour all of your meat juices left over from the browning process into the jar first, then add water.

    I'm not sure which way to go. For chili, the eat will be reheated while cooking the chili, but for tacos, I'll have to reheat in the skiller-I may as well cold pack and brown it while reheating.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Browning before jarring is called hot pack. It's the same 90 mins at 10 psi process as raw meat (cold pack), but you start with hot water instead of cold in the cooker/canner, and you pour all of your meat juices left over from the browning process into the jar first, then add water.

    I'm not sure which way to go. For chili, the eat will be reheated while cooking the chili, but for tacos, I'll have to reheat in the skiller-I may as well cold pack and brown it while reheating.
    Whatever it's called it beats digging chunk of Meat out of the jar. Browning first makes ground meat a lot easier to deal with later which is my whole reason for canning meat in first place.
    Life is not a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming-----WOW-----what a ride!
    Unknown author

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    Quote Originally Posted by jkb View Post
    Whatever it's called it beats digging chunk of Meat out of the jar. Browning first makes ground meat a lot easier to deal with later which is my whole reason for canning meat in first place.
    Right. Actually, all of this got started when I was comparing the texture of home butchered hog; the meat was much more finely ground than commercially bought sausage-the commercial stuff made big chunks in the pan during browning which wasn't conducive for a good spaghetti sauce. My friend double ground the hog, so I've started running my store bought ground meats through a small, hand powered grinder before browning. Anyway, I think you're right, smaller ground meat will can better.

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    Default Found the answer!

    Found the answer to my question. It took a bit of searching, several hours over the past two nights, but I found it.

    The reason USDA and others advise against using a pressure cooker to can meats and low acid foods is the size of the cooker. Those USDA approved procedures (10 psi for 90 mins for qt jars) only apply to pressure vessels that will hold at least 4 quart jars or more. The smaller pressure cookers heat up too quickly and cool down too quickly. The rise (heat-up) time and cool down times are part of the overall food safety process. Shorten either of them and you risk an under processed product and the inherent risk of food borne illness. Apparently, folks already tried using the smaller pressure cookers back in the 1940's by adding time to the process, but that didn't always result in a safe product.

    http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/nc...recookers.html

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