Monday, July 23, 2012

An epic canning day

So what do you do with meat that you decide doesn't have much flavor when you cook it or use it in dishes? 

You cook, boil and can it!

Yes, ladies and gents, that is what I spent Saturday doing.  Canning approximately 40 pounds of ground meat.  My hubby started the day cooking meat and getting a head start.  He added spices to the meat while it was cooking. 

I do believe it was 43 jars that I filled. At one point we did have to stop, make a trip to Menard's and buy more pint jars.  The canning jars were on sale this week. 

After cooking and draining the beef I filled the jars and would smack the side of the jar to help the meat settle down.  Later on I realized that this was kind of a useless step. 

After filling the jars with meat we put a bit of beef broth in the jars and filled the rest (leaving one inch headspace) with water. Then I took a plastic utensil and ran it along the inside of the jar to get rid of the air bubbles.  Doing that kind of defeated the packing down I did earlier.  While the beef was cooking was cooling and waiting to be processed, we were taking bits and pieces of the beef and taste testing.  Yum!  That was the word of the day. 

It's looks belies it's true flavor. Probably the best ground meat I've ever tasted.   If it tasted that good before being pressure cooked and canned, I can only imagine what it tastes like now!

I'm fortunate enough to have two pressure canners.  If I didn't have two of them, this process would have taken at least two days.  I was able to have the second pot ready to go as soon as the presser canner on the stove was done. I *highly* recommend getting two pressure canners.  This was one of the best moves I've made since I started canning. 

Out of the 43 or so cans only three jars didn't seal.  I'm pretty impressed with that ratio.  I really took my time and properly prepped the jars, making sure that the headspace was correct and that the top of the jars were clean, the lids were on and that the bands were finger grip tight. 

This has been one of the *hottest* summers in recent years.  Those who do canning and processing know how hot it can be when you are doing this. 

 Last year we thought ahead when we purchased a new grill.  We got one with a side burner.  I did all my processing outside.  There was no way I could have done this in the house.  

This project was started about 7 a.m., I think, and it wrapped up after 8 p.m.  I now have lots of jars of yummy meat that will help me and the other cooks in the house when it's time to think up something for dinner. Not to mention the time it will save! 

No comments: