Monday, January 17, 2011
Pressure Canning Ground Beef
This is one of the best things you can do to save both time and money. I put off canning ground beef for a long time because first, I thought it would be hard, and second, I’m pretty fussy about the meat I eat. When I did finally can ground beef, I did it in a big way. I started with about 15 lbs. which ended up being about 15 pints canned then did another batch that was bigger than the first. I had quite a bit of ground beef in my freezer that I wanted to get out of the freezer and use up. Besides, my freezer is older than dirt, well 2 years older than me, and I didn’t really trust it but it is still going strong.
Watch for the Lean Ground Beef to go on sale. Extra lean ground beef was on sale in the store where I shopped this weekend for $1.99 a pound which is a great deal. I like to use pint jars because 1 pint holds about 1 lb. hamburger, but if you use more than 1 lb. at a time, can it in quarts. I might mention here that you don’t have to can the extra lean ground beef. If you cook the meat in a kettle with some water and rinse with very hot water as described below, you will get rid of most of the fat.
Decide ahead of time how many pint jars your pressure canner will hold at one time and calculate how many pounds you can process at a time. Wash canning jars; keep on a tray in the oven on low while preparing ground beef. If you have a large enough kettle you can cook 10 lbs. or more at a time. Cook beef in a little water, breaking it up into small pieces as it cooks. Cook and stir until the pink is gone.
Drain ground beef; be sure not to pour the greasy water down your drain! I also like to rinse the cooked beef with very hot water to get rid of any extra fat that may be lurking in there. This is more important to do if you are canning beef that is fatter. Put a beef bouillon cube in each pint jar (This is optional but I love the flavor it adds) and fill with cooked ground beef. Pour boiling water in each jar to the bottom of the neck of the jar. Wipe off jars well; add flats (which have been kept warm in a pan of water on the back of the stove while you were preparing meat. Screw on rings and you are ready to go.
Following directions in your pressure cooker manual exactly, put jars in pressure canner, add water (mine suggests adding 2 T. white vinegar with the water to avoid rust stains which I always do) and put the lid on. Process exactly as your manual suggests. Process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.
When processing is completed and pressure has dropped, remove jars, wipe good with a hot soapy dish cloth, label with contents and date. Make sure to put on the label that it contains 1 lb. ground beef. Canning ground beef make take some time but it is definitely an easy project and you’ll love having canned ground beef on your shelf all cooked and ready to go. You find that Taco salad, sloppy Joes, chili or many other dishes are just a few minutes away from your table when the beef is already cooked. It frees up your freezer for all those extra ready-to-eat-meals you want to make ahead of time and the other good deals you find and can stock up on!