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By Kellene Bishop

meat-butcherIf you’re like me, you’re an avid meat eater.  I plan on having meat protein in at least one meal a day, even during an emergency.  Rather than relying on my hunting skills or the available of tasty game after a nuclear blast, a hurricane, or an earthquake, I’ve made sure to store chicken, turkey, SPAM, seafood, and beef.  However, I got sick of paying $4 to $6 a pound real fast!  I also didn’t really want to eat “jerky” for a whole year either.  So I simply HAD to find out for myself whether or not it’s possible to can “bottle” meat.  Sure enough, YES, it is.  And it’s EASY to can meat!

Yes, you can easily can meat of all kinds—beef, seafood, ham, turkey, chicken breasts, roasts, sausage, bacon, pork chops, chicken breasts, salmon, tuna, whitefish, ground beef, beef chunks, roast, and turkey.  You can bottle just about anything but shrimp.  There really isn’t much of a limit to what you are able to can!  In fact, when you can meat it’s actually healthier, costs about 25% of the price of canned meats, and is more tender and tasty than what you can buy in the can.  Sounds like a no-brainer, right?  Did I mention that it’s also EASY?

I have a local grocery store that has a sale every Friday on various meats.  I can usually get chicken for a great price and ground beef for as little as 99 cents a pound!  But, my freezers are filled to the brim.  So my husband is resistant to allowing me buy anything that needs to go in the freezer.  Well, now that I’ve shown him how easy it is to can meat, I don’t hear a grumble out of him.  I’ve been able to find very fresh, chemical-free meat at local slaughterhouses as well.  Now that I bottle my meat, it’s possible to save SO much money on meat!

Look how easy this is.  Simply stuff a clean, new jar (does not have to be sterilized) completely with your preferred meat—RAW—not processed meat within a ½ inch of the rim of the jar. Add a little salt (¼ to ½ teaspoon).  With the exception of ground meats, no water is added to the meat.  In a small pan, boil the lids for about 2 minutes in order to soften the rubber seal.  Be sure the rim of the jar is clean before you put the heated lid and ring on.  Place the clean and sanitized lids on the jars and then place them in your pressure canner for the appropriate period of time, based on the kind of meat you’re canning.  (Your canner instruction will tell you how much time and you can obtain the canners for cheap on ebay—of course, and when exactly to put your lids on.)  About 60 to 75 minutes later you will have fully cooked meat that you can eat today or 5 years from now fresh from the jar.  Better yet it will be so juicy and tasty.  A pint jar will hold about a pound of meat.  Usually a pint is good for just about any recipe.  Be sure to keep your eyes out for jars on sale.

pressure-canner

Note: Ground beef is the ONLY meat that I cook prior to canning.  Also, there is a BIG difference between a pressure COOKER and a pressure CANNER. You need a CANNER for bottling foods.  

You can add spices to your meat, but don’t add any starches or dairy.  If you want to have a meat sauce or a beef stew during your “roughing it” phase, I recommend that you bottle just the meat separately and store your other items otherwise.  This way you can use the meat however you want and aren’t pegged into a particular dish.  You can bottle the meat with the bone inside, but it takes up more room.  I wouldn’t plan on bottling drumsticks, for example.  The canning process will cook the chicken already, so frying it after the fact won’t be that great.

can-meat-jarsWhen you’re finished, just date and label the jars and store them in a cool dry place like your basement or a box under your bed.  You literally cannot buy canned meat as good as you can bottle it yourself.  It goes through at least two cooking processes and therefore loses so much of its moisture, taste, and nutrition.  When you bottle your own meat you’re not paying for all of the “parts” and liquid in the container with your $6 price tag.  So plan on eating all of the yummy meats you want when times get tough and doing it affordably!  This is a GREAT strategy not just for an emergency, but to stretch your dollars when you find a great sale on meat.  It takes a lot less time, energy and money than putting the food in the freezer, running the electricity, thawing it, and then cooking it.  And you don’t have to worry about all of that meat in the freezer in the event of a power outage!

Aren’t you glad to discover that you can easily can meat?!

Copyright 2009 Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.  All rights reserved.  You are welcome to repost this information so long as it is credited to Preparedness Pro & Kellene Bishop.

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