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Different ways of preserving food without refrigeration or freezing

 
Byron Gagne
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I would like to start a thread on the different ways others have used to preserve meat, fruit and veggies. I know I had thrown this in butchery wasn't sure we're it would belong. Please only add methods that you have used, your recipes that or tried and true! I'll go first.

This year I harvested a bison. My family and I canned both hamburger and diced meat in our pressure cooker.
I quart jars were used.
Hamburger and diced 1" pieces were browned not completely cook in fry pans. This makes a better looking final product but not necessary.
Jars filled full topped up with water to the bottom of the rim.
Pressure cooked 1.5 hrs at 10 lbs my canner does 7 at a time.
Canner allowed to cool until pressure is at atmospheric. Then the lid is removed jars set out to cool the rest of the way. The none sealed ones were consumed right away.


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Byron Gagne
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Would like to see pickling, corn meat recipes, drying, and salting techniques that might be out there. Agian lets keep this do what you actually use not what you've read or researched somewhere.
 
Wes Hunter
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Location: Seymour, MO
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Confit is a great preservation technique--easy and delicious.  Most commonly done with ducks and to a lesser extent geese, but I made some venison confit (with lard) that turned out pretty well.  The biggest trick, I think, is not over-salting, which is easy to do if you leave the salted meat even one extra day before cooking.  Duck confit makes a great, quick meal (preferably with a hunk of bread, some pickles, a slice or two of cheese, and maybe a green salad), perfect for busy summer days.

Drying (jerky) is a cinch with a dehydrator.  I just cut slices, salt them, and into the dehydrator.  Stores easily in mason jars--the difficulty is not eating it all straight away.
 
Jessica Padgham
Posts: 94
Location: Denver, Co 6000ft bentonite clay soil
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I'd love some ideas of how to use the canned meat.  My husband got me a pressure canner for christmas and so far all I have done is beans. 
 
Larraine Brandt
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Jessica, 

I can almost ALL of the meat we eat. Sometimes, I make soups or stews.

Sometimes, with Italian sausage that I have canned, I add apples, carrots, cabbage (sliced thin), onions, and potatoes (white or sweet potatoes). I slice them all into bite-sized pieces and toss them into a big pot with a little oil and maybe a little extra water. I may or may not cover the pot. I cook them until they are all done and throw in some caraway seeds. Really, really good! (And, I am going to take credit here for having come up with such an outstanding combination.)
Sometimes, feeling lazy, I just reheat the meat and add side dishes of a vegetable and a grain.
With beef, I might make beef stroganoff. Just make it in the normal way, but the meat only needs to be re-heated, not cooked.
Chicken: chicken and dumplings, which is a favorite of my husband.
Turkey: I add the drippings from the canning and make turkey gravy and whatever else sounds good. If I have lots of energy, I'll add in many of the traditional Thanksgiving sides.
Pork: It always tastes so good. I use the drippings for a gravy and make some mashed potatoes.
Ground beef or ground pork: spaghetti sauce or sloppy joes. (A mixture of meats tastes best. I learned that from my sister, Carol.)

With any of the meats, I might just throw them in a pot and start throwing in vegetables and water for a delicious, nutritious soup. (Did I mention delicious?)

I have also started to season my meat before canning. My rule of thumb is "one Tablespoon of seasoning for each pound of meat". Typically, that one Tablespoon will be made up of one teaspoon salt, one teaspoon sugar, probably a half teaspoon of paprika, a quarter teaspoon of pepper, and whatever other seasonings sound good for the meat I am using. (I may end up with more than a Tablespoon, but I make it in big batches and just add a tablespoon to each pint of meat.) Paul Kirk has an OUTSTANDING book, "Paul Kirk's Championship Barbecue Sauces: 175 Make-Your-Own Sauces, Marinades, Dry Rubs, Wet Rubs, Mops and Salsas" which teaches you how to come up with your own spice combinations that may become award-winning. (He's won lots of awards. Check the book--it'll give you more info.)

I have also come up with my own spice combinations for orange beef and for chinese pork. (They aren't perfect yet, but I am working on them.)

My favorite canned meat is pork spareribs. I use pint-and-a-half jars so that I don't have to chop through the bones. After canning, the meat falls off the bones and I can actually bite through the bones and eat the marrow, if I am so inclined. (It's supposed to be very good for the body! It doesn't taste bad. It actually tastes okay, so i tend to eat the marrow.) Using Mr. Kirk's book, you can come up with a really delicious pre-seasoning for the ribs. My mouth is watering just thinking about the ones I have made and had in the past.

I guess the point is that you can do almost anything with your canned meats. You just don't have to cook them again. They actually don't even have to be reheated. You could eat them from the jar. They make their own juices during the canning--which always makes for great gravy or sauces. And, with canned meats, I can have dinner ready to go in just a few minutes! Plus, I think canning meats is the easiest type of canning you can do! Slice up the raw meat, season it if desired or add the spices directly to the jar, throw the meat in a clean, sterilized canning jar with the appropriate headspace, wipe some vinegar around the rim and along the inside of the rim, put on the lid and the rings and put it into the pressure canner with an inch or two of water in the canner for the appropriate time at the appropriate pressure. No added liquids are required. 

Here is a link to the National Center for Home food preservation website for canning meats: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can5_meat.html ;

I am a big fan of my canned meats. By canning, I can sometimes keep the cost of dinner for two (which includes the sides) under a dollar. My goal is to always keep it under $5 per meal for the two of us, but when I see meats on sale, I know it's time to stock up and keep my overall costs down. For example, a few times a year, I will see chicken leg quarters on sale for 49 cents a pound. I will try to can at least thirty to forty pounds. For meat with bones, I figure on 3/4 pound per person; for the two of us, I squeeze about a pound-and-a-half in pint-and-a-half jars. Anyway, for the bone-in chicken, that is about 75 cents per meal.

I'll also notice pork butt on sale for about 89 cents a pound and I really work to can at least thirty or forty pounds of that. For boneless meats, I can it in pint jars. It works out to slightly under a pound of meat, but that is close enough to my goal of a half pound per person at dinner. For the pork butt, I cut out the bones and the meat gets seasoned and tossed in one pint jars. No additional liquid. Same deal with the vinegar around and on the rim. I have figured the cost of the pork alone to be about $1.67 per meal for the two of us. I save the bones in the freezer until I am making soup stock.

My goal for canning meats is to keep the cost to under $3 per pound. That's easy enough with chicken and pork (even with pork spareribs), but much more difficult for beef. I can find ground beef for about $3 per pound, but beef chunks are tougher to get the price down on. I found some stewing meat that was about $3.50 per pound. (It was close to the expiration point.) There were actually two types. For some of it, the original price was $4.99 per pound. Others were originally $5.99 per pound. I asked the butcher what the difference was. The higher cost meat had more of the fat and gristle trimmed off. Good to know. For normal cooking, the higher-priced meat would be desirable, but with pressure cooking and with pressure canning, all of the fat and gristle melts away and provides a delicious, mouth-watering flavor that makes the meat seem heavenly. I put back the higher-priced version and opted for the fattier version. (They had both been marked down to the same price, but I realized that one was much-more desirable for canning.)

My point is that it is possible to cut the cost of meals WAY DOWN by canning your own meats and still have wonderful meals. I also figure that all of those $1 meals will help me justify the occasional king crab meal, which would otherwise be way outside of my budget.

I hope you will start canning meat and that you will find it as wonderful a help as I have.
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