Canning meat at home is one of the easiest canning you will ever do! The only special items you need are a pressure canner (not a pressure cooker), jars and pickling salt. If you want to keep canning after you try this, I would also suggest a tool set. I will be including links to these items on Amazon but, aside from the pressure canner, you can get most of these at a local store. This is the picture I took at Ace Hardware. LOOK AT ALL OF THESE GOODIES! I have never seen so many canning supplies in person! There were so many I ended up buying more than I intended (they had 1/2 gallon jars!!!!).
This is my pressure canner.
It’s a Presto 16-quart pressure canner and holds 7 quart jars (16 quarts is the total liquid the pot holds). There are times I wish I had a bigger one but it would make it too heavy to move around if I did have a bigger one (which means, maybe, I should get a second one). Now, even though mine isn’t the largest, it IS heavy. You cannot use canners on glass top stoves! If that’s what you have, you could use them on a stable/secured turkey fryer base (you don’t want it tipping over), a propane grill, or a tabletop electric burner (as long as it can handle the weight). You need your heat source to be easily adjustable, so wood or charcoal would be much more difficult.
Pickling salt: why do you need this? Well, table salt has iodine and anti-caking agents (which can change the color of the foods and leave liquids cloudy), whereas pickling salt is just that: salt. Officially, this is the only salt you can use for canning. Unofficially, I have used kosher salt and never had any issues.
Now, you will need jars. For meats, I like to use pint or 12-ounce jelly jars. They are perfect for a meal (or adding just a little meat to a dish). Every grocery store I have been to in my area has canning jars but if your stores don’t, here’s a link to the best deal I found on Amazon. You don’t need anything fancy. How many jars will you need? It depends on how much meat you want to can. Roughly 1 pound of raw meat will fit in a pint jar.
- Meat: beef, game, chicken, pork, fish
- Pickling salt: 1/2 - 1 teaspoon per quart jar
- White Vinegar
- Wash jars and lids.
- Cut meat into cubes. Place in a clean jar, packing the meat down to ensure there are no air pockets. Continue to fill, leaving 1 inch of space between the meat and the rim of the jar.
- Pour 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of pickling salt on top of meat (amount of salt depends on your tastes).
- Pour some vinegar on a paper towel and wipe the rim of the jar (this is to ensure there is no residual fat or liquids from the meat). Place lid on top of the jar, then screw on the ring. Do not over tighten the ring or it will be virtually impossible to remove later.
- Process in your pressure canner for the amount of time required (I am at sea level, so I process at roughly 12-15 pounds pressure for 90 minutes). Turn off heat and allow the natural release of pressure (let sit until the pressure gauge is at 0).
- Remove jars from canner, placing them on a towel. Let them cool (and seal).
- Remove the rings, wash the jars with soapy water, write the contents and date on the lid, then store in a cool, dark place.
- As long as the seals hold, these should last for at least a year.