My Foray Into Food Storage

A regular gal learning about Food Storage, Home Cooking, Canning, Gardening, and more!

I’m Flirting With Death Again. Yes, I’m Pressure Canning.

21 Comments

No, I am not an adrenaline addict, but I may be a canning addict.  Who knows?  Maybe you should ask my husband to stage an intervention.  Although I had only done it twice before (chicken and pinto beans), I decided that I really like pressure canning.  Maybe even love it.  Maybe I love it more than traditional “water bath” canning.  Why?  Aren’t there potentially disastrous consequences to canning, like death?

 

Honestly, I don’t feel like I’m risking my life.  Maybe I’m fooling myself, but I don’t think so.  I have a pressure canner which is quite new and in good repair (I bought this one from Amazon).  I follow the instructions RELIGIOUSLY!  As much as I like experimenting and improvising in the kitchen, I NEVER improvise when canning, especially not when pressure canning.  I want to keep my food as fresh as it was when I canned it, and I most definitely don’t want anyone getting sick from anything I’ve made.

 

Pressure Canned Ground Beef

Pressure Canned Ground Beef. Keep in mind, pressure canning is the only tested and safe method for home canning meats. Please do NOT use a water bath or steam canner or try “dry” canning for meat.   Those methods have NOT be safety tested for meat.

 

 

Back to the “Why am I flirting with death by pressure canning at home?”, I like providing healthy food for my family, but I also like fast, easy cooking.  Canning my own food gives me the best of both worlds.  It requires a bit of work up front, but I know exactly what’s in the food we eat, and it’s so much faster and easier to prepare dinner at night when most of the items are “dump, heat, ready” foods.  What is “dump, heat, ready”?  I can dump the contents into a pan (or microwave safe bowl), heat it up, and it’s ready.  No prep, no long cooking times, no standing over the stove for hours.

 

On Friday, I canned my own hamburger for the very first time.  Remember the ground beef I bought from Zaycon foods?  (See post here.)  I took one tube (10 pounds) and canned it.  I got 7 quart size jars plus a little extra out of that 10 pounds. I followed the instructions in my Ball Canning Book and my Presto pressure canner instruction book (you can see those online here).   I cannot stress enough how important it is to follow the instructions exactly (both with a safety tested recipe and for your pressure canner)!  This will keep your food safe, so you don’t get sick!

 

Want to see me risk life and limb for a few jars of canned meat?  Here’s my photo step by step.

 

Before I started processing my meat, I put some clean 1-quart canning jars in a large pot of water and heated them up.

Before I started processing my meat, I put some clean 1-quart canning jars in a large pot of water and heated the water near boiling.

 

Then, I pulled my huge tube of beef out of the fridge.

Then, I pulled this huge tube of beef out of the fridge.

 

I cut it into smaller chunks.

I cut it into smaller chunks.

 

Next, I put it in a skillet to brown.

Next, I put it in a skillet to brown.

 

I broke the meat into smaller pieces, so it would brown evenly.

I broke the meat into smaller pieces, so it would brown evenly.

 

While the meat was cooking, I got out my canning tools: a funnel, a measuring/bubble removing tool, and a lid lifter.

While the meat was cooking, I got out my canning tools: a funnel, a measuring/bubble removing tool, and a lid lifter.

 

I put the seals into a saucepan filled with a couple inches of water and heated the water until it was hot, but not boiling.

I put the seals into a saucepan filled with a couple inches of water and heated the water until it was hot, but not boiling.

 

After several minutes, the ground beef was ready to can.

After several minutes, the ground beef was ready to can.

 

I removed my heated jars from the hot water bath and placed them on a rack.

I removed my heated jars from the hot water bath and placed them on a rack.

 

I put my funnel into one of the jars, so I could add my meat without getting the top of the jar greasy (which would interfere with the jar and seal forming a good seal).

I put my funnel into one of the jars, so I could add my meat without getting the top of the jar greasy (which would interfere with the jar and seal forming a good vacuum seal).

 

I filled the jars with the meat using a slotted spoon to drain any excess fat from the meat.

I filled the jars with the meat using a slotted spoon to drain any excess fat.

 

I made sure to measure my head space (the distance between the top of the food and the top of the jar).  My recipe said I needed a one inch head space.

I made sure to measure my head space (the distance between the top of the food and the top of the jar). My recipe said I needed a one inch head space.

 

Next, I added salt to the jars (1 teaspoon to each jar).  Salt is optional and is only for flavoring,  I used a salt without any additives to prevent the liquid from becoming cloudy.

Next, I added salt to the jars (1 teaspoon to each jar). Salt is optional and is only for flavoring, I used a salt without any additives to prevent the liquid from becoming cloudy.

 

Next, I filled the jars with liquid (leaving the one inch head space).  I used "broth" mixture made from the fat and water as directed in the Ball cookbook.  You can use plan water, broth, or tomato juice.

Next, I filled the jars with liquid (leaving the one inch head space). I used a “broth” mixture made from the fat and water as directed in the Ball cookbook. You can use plain water, broth, or tomato juice.

 

Then, I used my measuring guide/bubble remover to remove any air bubbles from the jars by running it between the meat and the edge of the jar.  Then I measured the head space again to ensure it was still one inch.

Then, I used my measuring guide/bubble remover to remove any air bubbles from the jars by running it between the meat and the edge of the jar. Then I measured the head space again to ensure it was still one inch.

 

Next, I used a damp paper towel to clean the top of the jar to ensure nothing would prevent a good seal.

Next, I used a damp paper towel to clean the top of the jar to ensure nothing would prevent a good seal.

 

With the jars ready to seal, I removed the seals from the hot water with my lid lifter.  It's a handy magnetic tool which removes the lids without requiring me to touch the hot water.  Nifty, huh?

With the jars ready to seal, I removed the seals from the hot water with my lid lifter. It’s a handy magnetic tool which removes the lids without requiring me to touch the hot water. Nifty, huh?  Want one?  Check at your local grocery or hardware store for a canning kit.  Or take a look at this one from Amazon.

 

I placed one seal on each jar.

I placed one seal on each jar.

 

Then, I put the rings on the jars (fingertip tight).  Do not over tighten your rings!

Then, I put the rings on the jars (fingertip tight). Do not over tighten your rings!

 

I placed my jars in my pressure canner and filled it with the amount of water specified in my pressure canner instruction book (which came with my canner).

I placed my jars in my pressure canner and filled it with the amount of water specified in my pressure canner instruction book (which came with my canner).

 

I put my lid on, making sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions, and turned on the heat.  Once the canner was expelling steam through the vent, I let it "vent" for 10 minutes before putting the weight on the vent (again, as per the manufacturer's instructions.  Please follow the manufacturer instructions that came with your canner as it may be different than the ones provided to me.)   Once the weight was on the vent, I let the canner come up to the appropriate amount of pressure (12), and kept it there for the entire time required for processing (90 minutes).  When the time was up, I simply turned the heat off of the stove and let the canner cool completely before removing the jars.  Never open a pressure canner while it is pressurized!

I put my lid on, making sure to follow the manufacturer’s instructions, and turned on the heat. Once the canner was expelling steam through the vent, I let it “vent” for 10 minutes before putting the weight on  (as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Please follow the manufacturer instructions that came with your canner as they may differ from these.)
Once the weight was on the vent, I let the canner come up to the appropriate amount of pressure (12 psi) for my elevation, yours may be different, and kept it there for the entire time required for processing (90 minutes). When the timer went off, I simply turned off the stove and let the canner cool completely before removing the jars. Never open a pressure canner while it is pressurized!

 

When I removed the jars with my jar lifter, they were still very hot and the meat was still boiling inside the jars.  I left them overnight to cool completely.  This helps ensure a good seal on your jars.

When I removed the jars with my jar lifter, they were still very hot and the meat was still boiling inside the jars. I left them overnight to cool completely. This helps ensure a good seal on your jars.

 

For the final step, I labeled my jars with the contents and the date processed.

For the final step, I labeled my jars with the contents and the date processed.

 

This was even faster and easier than canning chicken (see post here).  The most time consuming part was waiting for the canner to do its work, but I was processing the rest of the beef, so it wasn’t a big deal (posts to come).  I was in the kitchen anyway.

Simple, huh?  Think you might try your hand at pressure canning?

Advertisements

Author: Laurie Nguyen

I am a happily married, stay at home mom with four sons, ages 24, 22, 18, and 14. I'm not a professional blogger, and I'm certainly not a foodie or a chef. But I like food, so I think I'm qualified to write about my own life experience with food. Want to be a little more prepared for the unexpected? Check out my Food Storage Blog, http://forayintofoodstorage.com. Have a question about Food Storage? Email me: forayintofoodstorage@gmail.com.

21 thoughts on “I’m Flirting With Death Again. Yes, I’m Pressure Canning.

  1. lol you make it look so simple but I just KNOW I’ll flop it 🙂

    Like

  2. Pressure canning is something that really fascinates me, I wish canning(of both kinds) was as big a thing here in the UK as it is in America. Jam and jelly making is starting to become popular but prices for equipment and jars etc are still really expensive. The last time I looked for a pressure canner was a few years ago and there were none that I could buy without importing, this post has encouraged me to look into seeing of they are now available.

    Unfortunately our UK houses, specially South Wales mining valley ones, are tiny compared to most American houses and as such don’t have much storage space to store even everyday items let alone food stores. I have converted the cupboard under the stairs to make a small pantry space but with a small kitchen and seven people that has had to become my regular food storage space!

    I still love reading your blog and getting ideas though 🙂

    Like

  3. I’m fascinated. How do you can chicken? Please share.

    Like

  4. Laurie, I have to tell you when you canned the beans, I thought wow! My girlfriend in TN put up a ton of chicken last year, then you doing it really gave me the bug. I would never have a pressure cooker because I was afraid of them. Lol. Well, I bought a pressure canner a couple of months ago, but it’s still sitting in the box it came in. Lol I hope I’ll get up the nerve to try it real soon. :). Thanks for your posts. Hugz:)

    Like

  5. Question for you: I was trying to get a good look at your stove, is it a glass top? We have a glass-top stove and I’m always a little cautious using the pressure canner on it. I’ve been warned that constant heat can crack or otherwise ruin the glass. We’ve canned on ours for two seasons, and I’m hoping to increase the amount we store this year, I’m just a little worried. Any thoughts?

    Like

    • Mine has a glass top, but the burner part is not glass, it’s metal (iron, I think). The pressure canner does not sit right on the glass. I, too, have read that a pressure canner can ruin a glasstop stove. Personally, I wouldn’t risk it.

      Like

      • Yeah, kind of what I’ve been thinking. I may have to encourage a separate plug-style burner to run the pressure canner on. Now I’ll have to do more research!
        Thanks for the quick response, you’re awesome! 🙂

        Like

  6. Great post–I can tuna every year in my mother’s old pressure canner. Last year she got a used one at a garage sale, and the first time we used it, the thing exploded–seriously, like a bomb–and shot beef roast all the way up to the ceiling. Thankfully, no one was injured, though we did have to repaint the kitchen. So no more used ones for me. Seriously, canning can be dangerous.

    Like

  7. Thanks for sharing. My mom and I are going to have to try canning the ground beef. We’ve done chicken, pork loin and sirloin. This would be great to try.

    Like

  8. I too enjoy pressure canning. I am extremely careful though. Since taking Microbiology (in preparation for nursing school), I understand the importance of eliminating the possibility of botulism.

    Like

  9. Wow looks likes quite a process, I struggle with making toast so this is not for me but I can see the appeal that’s for sure.

    Like

  10. This is wonderful! And I’m so excited because I’m going to get a pressure canner too so that I can do just that – can meat and chicken! I love the ‘dump, heat & eat’ concept. 🙂

    Like

  11. I used to use a pressure cooker often when I was cooking chicken because I would forget to take it out of the freezer in time for dinner. 😉 It was a great way to get dinner done on time. I’ve never done canning with it. You make it look so easy. I’ll have to give it a try. I love he idea of dump cooking. 😉 The faster the better!

    Like

  12. I grew up with my Mom putting away food. She canned green beans, made kraut, made pickles, chow-chow, tomatoes, tomato juice, etc. We dried green beans, too, and raised our own potatoes and corn. We slaughtered our own animals and put that meat away in the freezer or dried hams. I do not believe for a moment you are playing with your life. As long as you are careful and following the instructions you will be perfectly fine and have lots of food for the winter months, which is why she put away so much. It was very rare, when I was a child, for us to go to the grocery store for anything more than some sliced bread, crackers, and Pepsi. We also had a cow and so we had our own butter, buttermilk, and milk. The only thing my Mom did not do was make cheese. Me and my Dad always wanted to try our hand at making some cheese, but Mom said THAT was too dangerous! 🙂

    Like

  13. Pingback: What’s A Gal To Do With 20 Pounds of Ground Beef? | My Foray Into Food Storage

  14. Pingback: The Final Ground Beef Dish From My 20 Pound Stash, And It Can Be A Freezer Meal! | My Foray Into Food Storage

  15. Pingback: Makin’ Marmalade Again: Some Canning Tips And Tricks | My Foray Into Food Storage

Question? Comment? Please share with me!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s