Monday, August 22, 2011
Canning Taco Meat
One of the fun things about canning is canning convenience foods. I love having meat canned and ready to use. Canning taco meat is a great convenience. When jars are opened all you have to do is heat the meat and assemble tacos or taco salad. It doesn’t get any easier than that. These also make great burritos or any favorite Mexican casserole. Not only that, it just makes for good food storage!
The leaner the ground beef, the better. Plan on one pound of ground beef for each pint of taco meat. (It helps to know how many pints your canner holds and use enough meat to fill your canner if possible. Mine holds 10 pints so I do 10 pounds of hamburger at a time.)
When meat is cooked, drained and spices added, you may be tempted to put less meat in each jar than one pound, but fill it pretty good as the meat will shrink a little when processed. Prepare ground beef, by browning it, draining fat and adding spices. This recipe uses dried spices. Feel free to add fresh onions or garlic if you wish; the dried spices make it super quick and easy to do. Use the following spices, or any spices of your choice. These spice amounts are for each pound of beef. Multiply them by the number of pounds you are canning. This is not a real spicy meat mixture, adjust amounts of any of the spices to your liking. DO NOT add cornstarch or any other thickening agent. Wash and sterilize jars and heat in oven or hot water. Put lids (bands and flats) in a saucepan and bring them to a simmer. Here are the suggested spices and amounts for each pound of beef you are canning:
2 t. dried instant minced onion
1 T. onion powder
½ t. instant minced garlic
1 t. chili powder
½ t. crushed dried red pepper
½ tsp. dried oregano
½ t. dried cumin
1 tsp. salt
Mix well...Now it's time to fill the hot jars with the beef mixture! Fill the jars, leaving an inch of headspace (I usually stop about where the threading on the jar starts). Next wipe the rim of the jar with a damp cloth to remove any and all residue (Tip: dampening the cloth with a little vinegar helps to remove grease). Next, put the lids on the jars and tighten. When all the jars are filled it's time to process them. Put jars in pressure canner and process according to your pressure canner instructions.
Process the pint jars, (again use the directions in your brand of pressure canner's instruction booklet), at 13 pounds of pressure (for a dial gauge canner – 15 lbs. for a weighted gauge canner) for 75 minutes (this is for 4000-6000 feet above sea level) Quarts would be processed for 90 minutes.
After processing, allow the pressure to drop completely on canner (don't force it down by cooling it, let it cool on its own or you could cause the glass jars inside to break), then removed the canner lid carefully, it was still very hot and steam is released when the lid is removed. Remove the jars with a jar lifter and place them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool. Wait for the beautiful sound of jar lids “pinging” to make sure they are sealed.
I leave the jars sitting undisturbed for about 12-24 hours, and then recheck the seals... if they're still sealed, I label and date the jars, then store them in a cool dark place.