Is It As Scary As It Looks?
No! I don't know where it got started, but the notion that canning meat is somehow more "dangerous" than canning simple foods, like
is just not true.
Meats can be canned just as safely as any other food; you just have to know how to do it. You're not going to get any sicker from canned meat than from canned fruits, or any other canned item.
What kinds of meat can I can?
Any kind - fish, beef, poultry, and even venison, can all be canned sucessfully. Keep in mind, however, that you need to be canning high-quality meats in order to get high-quality results. Canning tough meat won't make it tender! Choose cuts that you prefer in order to get the best results. Also, it's important to know that lean meats, with the fat trimmed, are the most ideal for canning.
Want to learn more about venison? Click here to find out more!
Click here for canning chicken directions.
In addition to different kinds of meats, there are also different ways of canning meats. For example, you could make your favorite beef stew or chicken soup, and can that. Or, you could prepare your meat your favorite way (strips, diced, cubed, etc.) and can it in that form. It all depends on what you plan to actually do with your canned meat. Think ahead on this one!
Canning Meat? Pressure Can It!
One thing you need to realize right from the start is that the only safe way of canning meat is through the
pressure canning method.
Meats are an extremely low-acid food....which means it needs a lot more heat and pressure to kill the bacteria contained in the meat. Although
water bath canning
will safely can high-acid foods, like
this method of canning will not safely can meats! Don't kid yourself; water bath canning meats is highly risky. Let me explain a bit more.
Water bath canning heats canned goods only to the standard boiling temperature, which is 212* F. The entire point of canning is to kill the bacteria in the food you are preserving, so it's important that you bring that food to a temperature high enough to successfully kill all that bacteria. Because foods like fruits, jams, and jellies contain high levels of acid in them, they don't need to be heated higher than 212* F. Thats why high-acid foods can be safely canned using the water bath method.
However, when you deal with low-acid foods, like meats and
you are dealing with something much different. Obviously, since they have a much lower level of acid in them, they are going to need a lot more heat to safely preserve them. Since
water bath canning
can only reach the standard boiling temperature, 212* F, you are going to need a different canning method! This is where pressure canning comes in. Pressure canners have sealed lids on the top, which allows a great deal of heat and pressure to build up inside. Because pressure canning brings food to a much higher temperature than water bath canning, the bacteria in low-acid foods is going to be completely eliminated.
So that's the first main poin: When canning meat, always use the pressure canning method.
See this page for more information.
Avoid lid failure
...it's so important to wipe the rims of your jars. Avoid losing all your deliciously canned meats to lid failure by wiping your rims!
The first time we canned meat, we canned our own chickens that we had raised and butchered ourselves. We canned maybe a dozen jars of chicken, and were terribly disapointed to find out that, just days after canning them, all of our lids were one by one "unsealing" and popping off the jars. Of course, we had to discard the chicken.
It was only after the fact that we realized our mistake: we hadn't wiped the rims of our jars. And if we had, we hadn't done it thoroughly. Remember that meats are very greasy foods, and no matter how hard you try to avoid it, you will always end up getting that grease on the rims of your jars. It will happen. When you have slimy rims, the lids will not seal properly. Even if they stay sealed for a few days, they will eventually "slide" off. That grease will always get you!
The other main point: Always wipe the rims of your jars to avoid lid sealing failure. This is true of any food you can, but especially meats.
You might also be interested in:
how to can
go from canning meat to home page