Canned meats - shelf life & nutrition

Discussion in 'General Food and Foraging Discussion' started by suzyq, Jan 26, 2011.

  1. suzyq

    suzyq Member

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    What is the shelf life of home-canned meats? How much nutrition do they lose during preparation?

    I've never canned before, but I know from reading here that I need to use a pressure canner for meats. With my daughter having celiac disease, she can't eat TVP; and freeze dried meats are pricey. So I am thinking of canning meat. It's something I can get started at as meats go on sale. I actually do have 4 or 5 dozen quart canning jars, which were brought brand new a few years ago but never used. With a family of 6, I figure quart size is probably the right size.

    Thanks!
     
  2. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

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    I don't have hands-on experience with this yet, as I just started canning meat a few months ago. However, I've read that home-canned meats are 'good' for 2-5 years, but are best if used within a year (in terms of flavor). I don't know about nutritional value.

    Right now I've got some chicken going as I type. Got it last night on sale because the 'sell by' date is today. I'm always stalking the 'marked for quick sale' clearance section for these kinds of mark downs, and I've built up a substantial supply of canned meat this way. Last week it was a couple of large roasts. You will enjoy canning meat - it's so satisfying to see your meat supply slowly but steadily grow. :)
     

  3. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

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    TVP is a place where it was once possible to hide gluten. It is now required, at least in Canada and the United States, that wheat be clearly disclosed as 'wheat'. So, 'hidden' gluten should no longer be a concern.

    Textured soy protein is gluten-free, but is not safe for those avoiding soy. Soy, like wheat, must now be clearly disclosed on the label.

    I hope this helps.
     
  4. suzyq

    suzyq Member

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    Thank you. So far on all the emergency supply websites, wheat has been listed in the TVP ingredients. I figure that canning meat would be helpful for my daughter's sake. I'll keep looking for gluten-free TVP.
     
  5. Clarice

    Clarice Well-Known Member

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    I can all types of meats, beef, chicken, turkey, pork & venison. It taste wonderful and is so handy for a meal in a hurry. The chicken I skin and only debone the breast, because of the small bones add hot water or broth. The beef and venison roast I brown slightly on all sides, (this is not necessary but looks nicer in the jar) add hot beef broth. The ground meat I brown but do not cook thru add hot beef broth. My next adventure is to can sausage patties and bacon. I purchase what we can afford as it comes on sale until we have enough to fill a canner or two. If you are a couple of jars short on product fill the other jars with hot water and seal. This will keep your jars from moving around and possible breakage.
     
  6. MrSfstk8d

    MrSfstk8d Well-Known Member

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    Saw an interesting bit of information on meat storage on NOVA a few days ago. It was in relation to NASA space program, and long term mission planning. The meat is always the hardest part, even for advanced pachaging methods. It's no great feat, even for the home canner, to exclude air, moisture, microbes, etc. The limiting factor is the composition of the materials themselves. Meat has a completely different make up, from the intracelluler chemistry, cellular structure, etc. on up that comes with a built in shelf life. The enzymes, co-enzymes, electrolytes, amino acids, etc. in muscle tissue (meat) will still be present in the preserved product and will affect the stored material continually, if but at a delayed and significantly slowed rate. In short, nobody can really get meat to stay good (palatability and nutrition value) longer than a couple of years.

    So, if you can put up a couple of years of animal product, great. But keep rotating it out quarterly, oldest for new, if I was in your shoes.
     
  7. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    I canned sausage patties and bacon today. I browned the patties and stacked them in jars. The bacon was laid on parchment paper and then rolled and stuffed in the jars. I dry-can meats, meaning I don't add water to the jars. A few years ago I got tired of soggy ground meat and other home-canned meats, and quit adding water. Amazingly, the jars don't break!

    Part of the length of shelf life has to do with how you store it. If you keep it in a cool, dark, dry place, you'll get more years. If you keep it in a warm kitchen cupboard, probably a year or two?

    We try to keep it worked out where it gets rotated enough through regular meals that nothing is more than 2 or 3 years old. I have occasionally found a jar that was 4 or 5 years old, and if the seal was still tight, the meat tasted fine, and we lived after eating it (didn't get sick, either! :D )

    Though a couple times, we found jars that had come unsealed and we could smell them and had to track them down. Nasty!
     
  8. suzyq

    suzyq Member

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    Thanks. I will probably start with ground beef and chicken since that's what we eat the most of anyway. As per my other post, if we can figure out how to make it work, we'll be storing the food in our old fieldstone, unheated, unfinished basement. So it should be plenty cool enough. I'm hoping to be able to order a pressure canner soon so I can get started.
     
  9. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Just one tiny word of advice on storing canned foods in the basement--if it is really damp down there your lids can rust thru. I had an aunt that used to lightly oil the lids that she stored in part of her root cellar and regular basement and they don't rust out that way--but she did check them at least once a month to make sure that they were still rust free.
     
  10. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Emerald, I'm delighted to know that about lightly oiling the jar lids! I try not to store many jars in our root cellar because it's so damp and the lids rust! I'm delighted to know what I can do about it, so I can try again at storing them there! Thanks!

    Right now I've been storing them in boxes under the beds in our cool bedrooms (Cool as in pretty cold, not as in totally awesome! :D ) and in closets, but I'm always running out of space.
     
  11. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    After talking to my Mom today about this very thing she said that her sister used lard as it made a better "film" on the lids and she took the rings off. And that the jars in the basement got ate up first as it was her overflow from the pantry! :D The things you pick up as a child and then when ya ask later in life you find the "whys" lol. Reminds me to ask more questions about why they did some of the things I remember them all doing when I was young!
    Lucky for me our basement is super dry compared to some in the area- the most water you see down there is in the summer when the cold water pipe sweats a bit by the stairs!

    Oh and by the way--Backwoods home issue this month has an online article about how to can bacon! With pictures.. I am so gonna try this.:2thumb:
     
  12. goshengirl

    goshengirl Supporting Member

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    Thanks for the tip! My bacon-loving sons will be forever thankful. :2thumb:
     
  13. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    You're welcome but I am sure that GypsySue and others here already can bacon too! Maybe we should sweet talk them into doing a pictorial thread with all their instructions here!...;) ;) Nudge, nudge! :D
     
  14. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

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    Yeah, I have, and it works quite well. Just be sure NOT to add water to the jars, unless you like bacon soup!
    [​IMG]

    Cloudy as it looks, that's bacon wrapped in parchment paper in those jars. I lay a piece of parchment paper on the counter, place the strips of bacon on it, lay a second piece on top of that, then roll it in kind of a flat log. Then into the jar, follow canning directions (wipe jar rim, take lid from pan of simmering water, place on jar, screw on ring, put in pressure canner, process for 90 minutes at 10 lbs. pressure if you're elevation is less than 3500', 15 lbs. pressure if your elevation is higher than 3500'.)

    One thing that I do differently than the author of the article in Backwoods Home Magazine is that I don't fold the bacon. I cut the strips in half.
    [​IMG]

    You can see by how far apart my hands are that the bacon strips are short.

    I usually take a pair of scissors and cut the whole package of bacon in half. Well, after I open the package, I cut the bacon as it is, just snip right through the whole pile.
     
  15. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    We cut our bacon in half to cook it too! makes it fit in the pan better!
    Thanks for putting up the pictures GypsySue! makes me want bacon for breakfast.. lol
    Can you still use the bacon grease from cooking the bacon? Iknow that we use bacon grease for cooking all the time...
    And I wonder if the Buckboard bacon I make/smoke can be treated the same way?
     
  16. OldCootHillbilly

    OldCootHillbilly Reverend Coot

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    Emerald, if yer buckboard bacon is cured (which I assume it be) you can treat it like ordinary bacon. Difference bein the buckboard come from a shoulder (leaner) an the regular bacon from a belly (lots more fat).

    I make a sell alota what we call Mahogany Shoulder Bacon. Real tasety an folks like it cause it be leaner.

    The process be not much different then what the packin plants do cept were on a smaller scale an put some love in our products. No liquid smoke fer us!
     
  17. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    Well then the next time the good shoulder pork goes on sale I am gonna order a few more (with the extra fat on the bottom,, ya know they cut that off if you don't ask for it!:eek:) and after brining and smoking I am gonna try canning a bit.
    My buckboard bacon looks like Canadian bacon with a nice thick fatty regular bacon stripe on the bottom! I usually add quite a bit of nice fresh ground course black peppercorns to the outside too! nothing like good black pepper bacon!
     
  18. MrSfstk8d

    MrSfstk8d Well-Known Member

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    Good grief, I'd have to buy AT LEAST double what I'd plan on putting up. I'm aweful clumsy around pork products and invariably, some of it falls off the slab and into a hot pan. Such is my cross to bear, lol.
     
  19. Emerald

    Emerald Well-Known Member

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    I hear ya there! It is always amazing how the turkey I roasted had all the skin on it when I put i in the oven and by the time it gets to the table some is always missing!:eek: ;) :D