Friday, February 10, 2012
pressure canning ground beef - a tutorial
Receiving the versatile blogger award from Canning Granny yesterday motivated me to get another canning post done and posted for you guys.
This is one that has been sitting around in my queue for several months now. I actually think I canned up this ground beef in August in order to make room for the 2011/2012 steer.
I love having canned ground beef around for a couple of reasons. It gives me more room in the freezers for other cuts of meat and it's so darn convenient to have around. I don't have to worry about taking the time to defrost the meat and when I use canned ground beef in casseroles, soups, or other dishes it really cuts down considerably on the prep time.
It's also really easy to can. In fact, most meat is pretty simple to can up.
The first step for me is browning the ground beef. I do it in batches of about 2 pounds at a time in a frying pan on top of the stove. Sometimes I add in some chopped onion. I always season it with sea salt and freshly ground pepper. The ground beef we get with our steer orders is really lean, but if there is visible fat after browning yours, be sure to drain it before canning.
As I finish up a batch I add it to a large roasting pan and keep it covered and warm in the oven. I continue to add to it until I'm done browning all the meat I want to can that day.
7 and a half pounds of ground beef, browned
While I'm browning up the ground beef I also have a large pot of water on the stovetop and I'm bringing it up to a boil.
After the ground beef is browned and is warming in the oven I go ahead and warm up canning jar lids in a saucepan full of warm water.
And then I'll fill my pressure canner with about 2" of water and place canning jars filled with clean warm water inside. I'll put the lid on the canner and turn the heat on the burner up to high. This is to warm the jars. Warmed jars are much less likely to crack when you add the hot beef and water to them.
Then I assemble all of the rest of my canning supplies and get ready to fill the jars.
here you see the jar rings, canning jar tongs, magnetic lid lifter, canning jar funnel, clean cloth for wiping the rims of the jars, and the roaster full of browned ground beef
The next step is to place the canning jar funnel into a jar and fill the jar with browned ground beef. I fill up to where the threads begin on the jar. I include some of the liquid from the cooking.
Then I ladle in hot water - again filling only up to where the threads begin on the jar.
showing the headspace - I like to stop filling just below the threads on the neck of the jar
Then I lift one of the warmed lids out of the saucepan using the magnetic lid lifter and place it centered on the top of the jar. I place a ring over it and hand tighten.
Next I place the jar into the pressure canner. The canner still has about 2" of warm water in the bottom.
five quarts filled and in the canner ready to process
When all the jars are filled and in the canner ready to be processed I put the lid on the canner and tighten the lid down. The All American 921 pressure canner that I use most frequently has a lid system where you screw down the lid with bolts.
Then I turn the heat on the burner to high and wait for steam to come out of the vent pipe.
I tried to take a shot to show you the steam coming out of the vent pipe, but couldn't pick it up with the camera - it is still venting, though, you'll have to trust me!
Once the steam is actively exiting the vent pipe, I set the timer for 7 minutes. That's the amount of time I need to allow the steam to exit the canner before placing the pressure regulator weight over the vent pipe. I place the weight on at 10 pounds because for my altitude I'll process the ground beef at 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. If I had packed them in pint jars I'd process at 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes.
With the burner still set on high heat I watch the dial gauge waiting for it to read about 10 pounds of pressure. Once it reaches 10 pounds I typically need to reduce the heat on my stove to about medium (it reads 6 on my stove).
dial gauge reading between 10 pounds and 13 pounds of pressure
Once it reaches 10 pounds of pressure I'll set a timer for 90 minutes. I need to continue to monitor the pressure gauge and adjust the heat on the burner to keep the pressure between around 10 and 13 pounds of pressure. One of the features I love about the All American pressure canners is that the pressure weight jiggles and has a distinctive sound to indicate when the pressure is getting too high. This allows me to leave the kitchen as long as I'm still within hearing range. I know when the rattling sound is too frequent that I need to go back and reduce the heat to regulate the pressure. With my Presto canner I do need to stay with it and visually monitor the pressure gauge.
After 90 minutes of processing I turn the heat off and wait for the pressure gauge to read zero. That typically takes about 20 minutes. After the gauge is at zero I unscrew the lid and remove it. Then I use the jar lifting tongs to remove the jars and place them on a sheet of cardboard on the countertop.
five quarts of canned ground beef cooling
When the jars have completely cooled I'll remove the rings, wash down the jars, and label them with the contents and date.
- A 40 something mama meandering through life with an eclectic 21 year old boy-man (the boy), an 8 year old girl (big girl) who is a ball of lightening, and a 4 year old girl (baby girl) who brightens our lives with her smiles. I'm grounded by my 40 something husband and partner (the hubster) whose quirky mannerisms brighten my days.
I've been a single mama, married mama, divorced mama, career mama, SAHM, and WAHM. There was a short time of my life when I wasn't a mama, but that was a LONG time ago!
I hold an AA, BS, and MA and most say I'm wasting them by devoting my intellectual capabilities and energy in the nurture of the wee ones that I've been entrusted to raise, but there is nothing else I'd rather be doing these days. :)
I love hearing from readers, so please share your thoughts and leave comments, too!