What to do when the call comes from the butcher that this year’s meat purchased at the Junior Livestock auction is ready to be picked up but there’s either not a lot of room in the freezer or the meat takes up the entire freezer and you want room for other items?
Host a barbecue party. Eat meat every night for dinner for a week. Use the pressure canner (outside to keep the house cool) to can meat to store on the shelf. Make and pressure can meat-based soups and stews. Make your own salami and sausage. Smoke some meat. There are a lot of options.
If you can meat or soups with meat, you must use a pressure canner to ensure you reach a high enough temperature to kill any Clostridium botulinum spores that can survive in a low acid food, such as meat. These spores can create the deadly botulism toxin.
This concern is a non-issue when using a reputable recipe, the correct process and an accurate canner. (If you’re unsure how to pressure can foods, contact the Master Food Preservers.)
Using canned cubed meat makes it easy to quickly whip together a variety of dinners without having to wait for meat to thaw and cook. The easiest canning process is to raw pack meat pieces without adding any additional liquid. Just cut and can. (If you ordered stew meat, half of this process is already done.)
The USDA recommends starting with chilled meat, trimmed of excess fat.
Raw pack: Optionally add 2 teaspoons of salt per quart to the jar before adding any meat. (The salt is used as a spice, not a preservative.) Fill the jars with raw meat pieces, leaving 1-inch headspace. Do not add liquid.
Hot pack: Precook the meat until rare by roasting, stewing, or browning in a small amount of fat. Add 1 teaspoon of salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Fill the jars with meat pieces and add boiling broth, meat drippings, or water, leaving 1-inch headspace. Debubble the jar and add additional liquid, if necessary, to maintain a 1-inch headspace.
Adjust lids and process according to the canning method used:
Weighted-gauge pressure canner:
Pints: 75 minutes at 10 pounds (15 pounds above 1,000 degrees)
Quarts: 90 minutes at 10 pounds (15 pounds above 1,000 degrees)
Dial-gauge pressure canner:
Pints: 75 minutes at 11 pounds (12 pounds at 2,001-4,000 degrees, 13 pounds at 4,001-6,000 degrees, 14 pounds at 6,001-8,000 degrees)
Quarts: 90 minutes at 11 pounds (12 pounds at 2,001-4,000 degrees, 13 pounds at 4,001-6,000 degrees, 14 pounds at 6,001-8,000 degrees)
Want to get a little fancier and make your own sausage, salami, deli meats or smoked meats? Join the Master Food Preservers for either of the meat preserving classes on Saturday Sept. 7 or Tuesday, Sept. 10 for an overview of the process and tools.
This year’s annual series of free UCCE El Dorado County Master Food Preservers classes are from 10 a.m. to noon in the El Dorado County Fairground Boardroom, 100 Placerville Drive in Placreville.
Master Food Preservers are also available to answer home food preservation questions; leave a message at 530-621-5506.
For more information about the public education classes and activities go to the Master Food Preserver Website at cecentralsierra.ucanr.org/Master_Food_Preservers/. Sign up to receive our Master Food Preservers e-newsletter at ucanr.org/mfpenews/.