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Thread: Jarring meat-doing something wrong

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    Default Jarring meat-doing something wrong

    I'm hoping someone can offer some tips/advice/correction.

    I'm trying to can meat in pint jars (commercially processed, store bought, ground beef 12% fat content, from Costco), and I keep having jars not seal or something. I'm following all the directions, step-by-step, on the Alaska Co-op Extension website, but I'm still having issues.

    The first time I tried it, I browned (I'm doing the hot pack method) a pound of ground beef and filled a pint jar, then added boiling water. Then I installed a new lid and ring. I prepped the jar, lid, and ring, by washing in hot (almost too hot to touch) soapy water, rinse, and dry. (As stated on the website and on the package of new lids.) Went through the whole, 75 min canning process, in addition to the 10 mins of pushing steam out the petcock prior to starting the timer. Once the elapsed time passed and allowing for pressure relief and cool down...as soon as I opened the canner, I knew something wrong. I could smell cooked meat. Like at a BBQ. There was grease floating in the water, stuck to the outside of the jar, and the jar had no fluid in it. None. So I put the meat in spahetti sauce the next day and wrote it off. All I can think of is I didn't put the ring on tight enough.

    I canned another 3 lbs of meat this morning, 1lb (uncooked weights) each in (3) pint jars. Same thing to a lesser extent. As soon as I opened the canner lide, I could smell (barely smell) cooked meat. A slight amount of oil floating in the water. All of the jars were clean on the outside. All of the jars were full of fluid. Two of the three jars seem okay, but a third jar had a puddle of water on top of the lid. The jar was full of fluid, but it just seemed like I don't know like water had pushed out between the lid seal and the ring and ended up on top of the lid. Neither of the other two jars have this. The fluid in all three is boiling right now, inside all three jars on the cooling rack.

    Am I correct in assuming that the jar in question has a problem and needs to be reprocessed (with a new lid, of course)? What might I be doing wrong that is causing this? How can I be sure that I've done everything correctly?

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    When canning moose, bou, deer, etc.... I never add liquid. Veggies, spices, or a dash of olive oil, the meat will make its own gravy.....adding liquid is new to me.
    The jars will burp and emit excess oil (when cannjng fish) and a bit of juice when doing meat. Be sure to leave some head space when packing the meat in firmly prior to adding the cap and ring. The ring should be finger tight, not so tight its already sealed when you insert jar into the canner, this allows steam to escape.
    Once done, let pressure bleed down, remove jars (they will be boiling as you noted so use tools or good leather gloves to handle them). As the jars cool they will suck in the lid and make a popping soundwithin a few minutes. Once cool, they should have a concave lid and when the lid is pushed by your finger, it should not flex at all.
    They are now sealed.
    You must let them cool and retract the lid before assuming something is amiss.
    Hope this helps.
    Bk

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    You must let them cool and retract the lid before assuming something is amiss.
    Hope this helps.
    Bk
    Sooooo...puddle of water on top of the lid and little jar contents (oil or grease in this case) in the watr in the canner doesn't necessarily mean a can didn't seal? Hmmm.

    The jars are already cool to the touch, and the lids are sucked down with no flexing. The extension service website says to let cans cool 12 hours. I'll check them again in the morning. Maybe I'm just bein paranoid because I've never done this before.

    Thanks, BK

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Sooooo...puddle of water on top of the lid and little jar contents (oil or grease in this case) in the watr in the canner doesn't necessarily mean a can didn't seal? Hmmm.

    The jars are already cool to the touch, and the lids are sucked down with no flexing. The extension service website says to let cans cool 12 hours. I'll check them again in the morning. Maybe I'm just bein paranoid because I've never done this before.

    Thanks, BK
    If you got the contents hot enough, and if the lid pops down, your product is sealed and safe. I'm not sure that water on top of the lid is a problem at all. Oil that has escaped suggests that you aren't leaving enough head space.

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    After browning the meat in a little oil, I put the liquid that was used in the pan into the jar with the meat, add hot water until there is about 1 in of head space left. 10lbs for 90 minutes if using quart jars, 75mins for pints.

    After your time is done and all the pressure is out of the canner, open it up and take the cans out right away, place them on a grate and let them cool. after about 10 minutes you should hear each one POP, a little metallic ting noise. I usually wait till I hear every jar pop, then check the tops to see if they are sucked down. Any questionable one I open up and eat. Yes, they will burp and spit stuff out while cooking, they dont seal until they start to cool. If you are leaving them in the canner in the hot water until everything is cool to the touch, this may be preventing them from sealing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Sooooo...puddle of water on top of the lid and little jar contents (oil or grease in this case) in the watr in the canner doesn't necessarily mean a can didn't seal? Hmmm.

    The jars are already cool to the touch, and the lids are sucked down with no flexing. The extension service website says to let cans cool 12 hours. I'll check them again in the morning. Maybe I'm just bein paranoid because I've never done this before.

    Thanks, BK
    You bet, sounds like your doing it right. Once cool to the touch, (an hour or two usually) I screw the lids down tight, and put them back in the cardboard box for storage. As long as the lids don't flex, your doing it right. As they cool the glue on the lid seals them up tight.
    Try some variety, like taco seasoning or veggies to make a stew....good stuff!

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    Quote Originally Posted by bkmail View Post
    Once cool to the touch, (an hour or two usually) I screw the lids down tight, and put them back in the cardboard box for storage.
    I'm not sure if I am misreading this, but I was taught to remove the screw lids after the jars are cool to the touch. I rinse them and store them after they dry. If I leave them on the jar, they tend to rust and I can't re-use them.

    I am also one of the heathens who re-use my lids. I know that I'm on the fast track to hell and, I guess, botulism, but I still do it. Never had a problem.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    ...I was taught to remove the screw lids after the jars are cool to the touch. I rinse them and store them after they dry. If I leave them on the jar, they tend to rust and I can't re-use them.

    I am also one of the heathens who re-use my lids. I know that I'm on the fast track to hell and, I guess, botulism, but I still do it. Never had a problem.
    Yeah, no need to store them with the rings on the jars.

    But reusing your lids?? Straight to hell, for sure.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    I'm not sure if I am misreading this, but I was taught to remove the screw lids after the jars are cool to the touch. I rinse them and store them after they dry. If I leave them on the jar, they tend to rust and I can't re-use them.

    I am also one of the heathens who re-use my lids. I know that I'm on the fast track to hell and, I guess, botulism, but I still do it. Never had a problem.
    That's how my grandmother did it. She also re-used the lids and congestive heart failure got her before the botulism did. I, on the other hand, won't be re-using the lids-too cheap to take a risk.) Since my last post, Ive noticed that the natural grease in the meat has solidified against the glass. Actually looks kinda icky lol.

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    Moderator bkmail's Avatar
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    I don't reuse the lids. I store my jars in a cool dry atmosphere. Rust has not been an issue, as our stuff rarely lasts more than a year.
    Either way, glad it worked for you.
    Now, time to start your next processing adventure, dehydrating stuff....jerky, carrots, fruit, and such!
    Bk

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    Personally, I don't pre-wash my lids with soap... If I'm hot packing for water bath canning, I boil the lids and the jars to sterilize them prior to filling. (Same for beer bottle caps; they get boiled to sterilize before capping). But if I'm cold packing jars for pressure canning, I just use new lids straight out of the box.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Personally, I don't pre-wash my lids with soap... If I'm hot packing for water bath canning, I boil the lids and the jars to sterilize them prior to filling. (Same for beer bottle caps; they get boiled to sterilize before capping). But if I'm cold packing jars for pressure canning, I just use new lids straight out of the box.
    Interesting. I didn't boil anything, but it was hella hot water. I did use soap, because the directions said to, but I rinsed the heck out of it.

    Curious, what do you use to boil the jars in, and how long do you boil them?

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Interesting. I didn't boil anything, but it was hella hot water. I did use soap, because the directions said to, but I rinsed the heck out of it.

    Curious, what do you use to boil the jars in, and how long do you boil them?
    If water bath canning (such as for jam or fruit etc.) I boil the jars in the canner for just a couple minutes, and the lids in a sauce pan. Jars come out of the boiling water unto a towel covered counter top and filled, sterile lids are slipped onto the jars with sterile tongs, rings installed, and jars returned to boiling water bath...

    Some people fill their jars, still hot, straight out of the dishwasher (I don't have one).

    Cold packed jars for pressure canning (like when I can fish); everything gets sterilized in the pressure canning process.

    Probably no harm in washing lids with soap, so long as all the soap it thoroughly rinsed off. I just don't bother.
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    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Some people fill their jars, still hot, straight out of the dishwasher (I don't have one).
    You don't have a dishwasher!?!?! My God Man! What kind of a third would country are you living in!? =)



    Quote Originally Posted by iofthetaiga View Post
    Cold packed jars for pressure canning (like when I can fish); everything gets sterilized in the pressure canning process
    Oh yeah. DUHHH. I don't have to boil my jars to sterilize them.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    I'm not sure if I am misreading this, but I was taught to remove the screw lids after the jars are cool to the touch. I rinse them and store them after they dry. If I leave them on the jar, they tend to rust and I can't re-use them.

    I am also one of the heathens who re-use my lids. I know that I'm on the fast track to hell and, I guess, botulism, but I still do it. Never had a problem.
    You should buy some of these re-useable canning lids. These ones are meant to be re-used ~20 times.
    http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/

    Then again it's your life and your health.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kasilofchrisn View Post
    You should buy some of these re-useable canning lids. These ones are meant to be re-used ~20 times.
    http://www.reusablecanninglids.com/

    Then again it's your life and your health.
    I keep meaning to. But, I've never properly understood the risk of re-using lids. They are sterile, and if they maintain a seal they maintain a seal. If they don't maintain a seal, it's pretty obvious and you throw the food away. Although, I have never had a jar lose a seal after it cools. Not once. Any lost seals have occurred while the jar is still hot.

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    While we're having a discussion on jarring/canning, and rather than start yet another thread (this is my second) I have two other questions I to pose.

    1.) Do you guys do anything to help your canner lids seal? I've read on the internet (so it MUST be true) that some people will put grease or oil along the mating edges of their canners to help them seal better. I couldn't tell if this was strictly for canners with o-ring type seals, or the ones that are "gasketless" (e.g. the All-American brand). The reason I ask is my canner seeps a little bit, rightn ear one of the locking screws. Nothing major, but a steady little bit of steam and the intermittent hiss of drops of water boiling off. (My pressure cooker, which does have a gasket does the same thing.) I don't have a problem attaining or holding the minimum pressure for canning, just makes me worry a little bit.

    Question 2 is relate question 1.) I find myself having to frequently adjust the burner on the stove to hold a steady pressure. I have an electric stove, and I'll run it on HI to boil the water and push steam out the petcock for 10 mins and then turn it down once the gauge hits the right PSI for jarring. THEN the fun begins. Turning it down to 5 will keep it 1 psi over minimum for a while, then it will start to lower. I'll turn it up to 5-1/2 or 6, and it will go up to like 14 psi. I tend to have this oscillating pressure between 12 and 14 psi throughout the process. I wonder if that is related to the little bit of escaping steam.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    1.) Do you guys do anything to help your canner lids seal?
    I have an old pressure cooker that is gasketless and the lid will fit in multiple orientations. I found that one orientation sealed better than the others, and after marking it and repeatedly using it in that orientation only, the seal has improved over the years. It still isn't 100% perfect, but it's pretty good.

    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    Question 2 is relate question 1.) I find myself having to frequently adjust the burner on the stove to hold a steady pressure. I have an electric stove, and I'll run it on HI to boil the water and push steam out the petcock for 10 mins and then turn it down once the gauge hits the right PSI for jarring. THEN the fun begins. Turning it down to 5 will keep it 1 psi over minimum for a while, then it will start to lower. I'll turn it up to 5-1/2 or 6, and it will go up to like 14 psi. I tend to have this oscillating pressure between 12 and 14 psi throughout the process. I wonder if that is related to the little bit of escaping steam.
    This confuses me a little bit. Do you not have an adjustable petcock. All pressure cookers I've used allow you to control the pressure by either using the correct weight or by adjusting the petcock. The Pressure Cooker is supposed to vent steam through the petcock, but pressure should stay pretty constant. It sounds to me like you have the petcock adjusted too tight, and you are trying to control the pressure by giving it just enough heat, but not too much. That sounds like an inducement for a migrane.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FL2AK-Old Town View Post
    While we're having a discussion on jarring/canning, and rather than start yet another thread (this is my second) I have two other questions I to pose.

    1.) Do you guys do anything to help your canner lids seal? I've read on the internet (so it MUST be true) that some people will put grease or oil along the mating edges of their canners to help them seal better. I couldn't tell if this was strictly for canners with o-ring type seals, or the ones that are "gasketless" (e.g. the All-American brand). The reason I ask is my canner seeps a little bit, rightn ear one of the locking screws. Nothing major, but a steady little bit of steam and the intermittent hiss of drops of water boiling off. (My pressure cooker, which does have a gasket does the same thing.) I don't have a problem attaining or holding the minimum pressure for canning, just makes me worry a little bit.

    Question 2 is relate question 1.) I find myself having to frequently adjust the burner on the stove to hold a steady pressure. I have an electric stove, and I'll run it on HI to boil the water and push steam out the petcock for 10 mins and then turn it down once the gauge hits the right PSI for jarring. THEN the fun begins. Turning it down to 5 will keep it 1 psi over minimum for a while, then it will start to lower. I'll turn it up to 5-1/2 or 6, and it will go up to like 14 psi. I tend to have this oscillating pressure between 12 and 14 psi throughout the process. I wonder if that is related to the little bit of escaping steam.
    I've never had the isue described in Q1, but Q2 for sure. I've found that even the ambient kitchen temperature, or small changes in airflow around the cooker will noticeably affect the btu input required to maintain a precise pressure reading. I always have to adjust the stove downward as time progresses, or the pressure will continue to climb. (This is simply a function of the thermal mass of the contents of your canner reaching temperature saturation. As a result the cooker becomes progressively more sensitive to btu input). There's wiggle room tho, so you don't need to be ubber-AR about it. So long as you hit and maintain at least the minimum pressure for the minimum time, you're good. I try to keep my pressure really steady (because I'm AR and it's a fun exercise), but allowing it to climb a little higher than your minimum target won't hurt anything. Radical swings back and forth are to be avoided tho.
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    Quote Originally Posted by HikerDan View Post
    This confuses me a little bit. Do you not have an adjustable petcock. All pressure cookers I've used allow you to control the pressure by either using the correct weight or by adjusting the petcock. The Pressure Cooker is supposed to vent steam through the petcock, but pressure should stay pretty constant. It sounds to me like you have the petcock adjusted too tight, and you are trying to control the pressure by giving it just enough heat, but not too much. That sounds like an inducement for a migrane.
    No. Nothing is adjustable on mine. (Well, I could open the petcock up some, but that would just create a leak in the system, with constant steam, heat, and pressure escaping.) There is no "jiggle weight" on mine. I have a petcock that I remove the threaded "T" from to let that first 10 mins of steam and air escape, then I put the threaded plug back in and lock it down tight. Pressure build on the steam gauge, and there is pop-off safety valve. When I'm all done, after the steam gauge reads zero, I remove the threaded plug. Then, and only then, do I loosen the locking bolts and remove the lid.

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