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Ask Jackie Online
By Jackie Clay

February 14, 2007
Jackie Clay
Jackie Clay answers questions on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.
Click Here to learn how to Ask Jackie a question.

Canning times for meats

Iíve started to get my feet wet with canning and Iíve read many books on the subject but none specify the canning times for meats and such. I have a variety of recipes but just the specified times for those particular recipes. I know the time is adjusted for the type of meat(s) being used in the recipe (if Iím completely wrong on this please let me know, I really donít feel like being the reason why so many of my friends would be running frantically to the loo). Anyway the question is: How do I figure out the process times for low acid foods...and maybe some of the acid foods as well. Is there a mathematical equation for this or is it all rocket science?

Daph
my_little_froggy at hotmail.com

No equation and certainly no rocket science needed to determine the times we process our foods. Any good canning manual, such as the Ball Blue Book of Preserving (Alltrista Consumer Products Co., P.O. Box 2729 Muncie, IN 47307-0729) gives these times and much more information on home canning. Briefly (but always check your canning manual), red meat such as beef, venison, and pork are canned at 10 pounds pressure (unless you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet and must adjust your pressure to suit your altitude; consult your canning manual for directions); quarts are processed for 90 minutes and pints for 75 minutes. Poultry of all types are processed at 10 pounds pressure (see above). Pints are processed for 65 minutes and quarts for 75 minutes, with the bone left in. Boned poultry is processed at 10 pounds pressure (also see above). Pints are processed for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.

The reason you process boned poultry longer is that when you leave the bone in, this takes up more space in the jar and you canít pack the meat in so tightly. Thus the boned poultry needs a longer processing time so the meat is sure to heat adequately, through and through.

Now the tricky part. Suppose you want to can chili. Your recipe has tomatoes, onions, beans, and beef, along with spices. You find the time needed for each major ingredient. In this case, tomatoes take the least time and beef, being a meat, takes the longest time at 90 minutes for quarts. So you must process your chili for 90 minutes to ensure that the meat is heated to a high enough temperature, for a long enough time, for safety.

Until you get the hang of it, perhaps youíd feel safer using recipes in the canning manual. Of course you are free to ďtweakĒ them by adding different spices, sugar, or salt to suit your taste. Do not make major changes, such as adding many more peppers to your salsa recipe in your book. The peppers are low-acid food and if they are not pressure canned, they must be in a recipe with adequate acid, usually in the form of vinegar, to prevent them from spoiling. This is not for beginners. Follow this type of recipe quite closely. Again, you may vary your spices, salt, and sugar safely. For instance, if you donít like hot salsa or barbecue sauce, add less hot pepper. Hotter? Feel free to add a bit more dry red pepper to taste. This is not adding enough pepper to matter as it would if you dumped half a cup more peppers into your recipe than it called for.

There are many good canning manuals and books out there. Check your local library and get a few before you buy one. Or try your bigger bookstores and find one that does have the processing times for meats and vegetables.

ó Jackie

Chickens not eating corn

My husband and I are retired and have about 9 acres of land (mostly wooded) that we live on. We are raising some chickens and for the first time ever we have noticed that the biddies donít eat the corn. We have always bought scratch feed for them and they eat everything but the corn. My son tells me that some of the cattle farmers around are telling him that their cattle are not eating the corn either and have been losing weight. Is anyone else having this problem and could it be the genetic engineering of the corn? What do we do about this besides just not buy it? I feel we are really getting ourselves in horse pucky if we donít do something, but what?

Judy from Florida

I honestly havenít heard about this problem before, anywhere. Although I am definitely against any form of genetic engineering, I doubt that it is the problem. How long has this been going on? Do you always buy your scratch from the same company or mill? My off-the-wall guess would be that something has gotten mixed with the corn, such as a chemical spill that makes the corn smell and taste bad to the birds and animals.

I would try a different brand of scratch, such as one bagged in a different area. For instance, if youíre buying the millís brand of mix, try a commercial brand, such as Purina or Nutrena. If the chickens eat that, you can continue buying that brand for awhile and see if the problem clears up later. Iíd also ask your feed dealer about the problem. He may have some ideas, and Iím sure heíll be interested in hearing that there is a problem before he loses much more business. Just ask in a polite, friendly way.

ó Jackie

Raccoons eating corn

How do we get rid of the raccoons that are eating our corn? We only got a few ears last season. Would pouring urine around the corn patch help?

Lawschapel at aol.com

Iíve tried the urine around the corn patch. Ha, ha, ha! Does that answer your question? Seriously, raccoons are too smart to fall for that one, no matter what the advertisements say. Of course you can trap and shoot them, but I really hate to go that route. The one way I have gotten corn without Brother Coon helping himself is to fence the garden with 2x4 inch welded wire, then run an electric wire near the bottom about 6 inches up from the ground, another up about 18Ē from the ground and finally, another one on the top of the fence, close to the welded wire. After I have done this, I didnít lose another ear to the coons.

I know it takes work and money, but I promise you that itíll be definitely worth it. If the deer donít bother your garden, this fence only needs to be four feet tall; coons donít jump far. But boy can they climb. And they will dig under unless you put on that bottom wire, too.

When Iíve been broke, Iíve borrowed my horse pasture fencer for a couple of weeks, right before the corn ripened and kept the wire hot until the harvest was in. My horses always think the wireís hot and donít challenge it anymore. There are also many brands of smaller ďgardenĒ electric fencers that are quite inexpensive. Battery-operated ones or a solar fencer work well for more remote locations. Mr. Coon does not like those hot wires and quickly gets the picture. Enjoy your corn this year.

ó Jackie

Canning in tin

I just read where someone had written you asking if you could can in tin cans and where they are available.

Lehmanís Catalog has the machine to seal tin cans with but it is very expensive. Go to Lehmanís.com or call 1-877-438-5346 and ask to send out a copy of their non-electric catalog. They donít sell cans, though, but look in the yellow pages.

Sherry Morse
Silver Lake, Minnesota

Yes, I know Lehmanís has the sealing machine, but itís very hard to find someone who sells the cans you need unless you live near a big city. If you ship the cans, itís very expensive to buy them. Like you said, you can try looking in the phone book, but good luck. Iíve found that home canning in jars is much cheaper and you can save your jars to reuse for decades, unlike the use-once-and-throw-out cans. Iím cheap and proud of it.

ó Jackie

Using home-canned meat

Thanks for the nice article on how to pressure can venison at home. I froze my deer this year, but next year I think I will try the canning.

I have a question about using the meat when it comes out of the canning jars on the other end. I have read that the USDA recommends boiling any canned product for at least 10 minutes (16 minutes where I live at 6,000 ft. in Colorado) before even tasting it to kill any botulism that may be in the product. But boiling deer meat would just seem to defeat the purpose of having it, which is to use it in stews or straight on the BBQ. So, what do you do when you take the venison out of the jar? Or hamburger, or any canned meat for that matter?

Sidney Patin
Colorado Springs, Colorado

You donít necessarily need to ďboilĒ the meat before tasting it. You just need to bring it up to boiling temperature. This can be done in your favorite stew, soup, and barbecue, or in the oven. All the ways I use my canned meat, Iím heating it up anyway, so this is not an inconvenience. I hope you do can some venison next year. It is really so much better than frozen meat. And tender, too.

ó Jackie

Canning moose meat

I just purchased a Mirro pressure cooker and canner and would like to know how to can moose meat. I canít seem to find any recipes for moose cannning so I donít know how long to cook this or how much water to use.

Your help would be greatly appreciated.

Tina Sooley
Paradise, Newfoundland

Moose meat or venison is canned the very same way you do beef or pork, and this is covered in all good canning manuals. Where I used to can my game meat raw so I could quickly process it, Iíve switched to pre-cooking it first. This results in a nicer looking jar of meat that cans quicker and is not dried or tough.

Basically, I cut steaks and roasts about an inch thick, trim the fat and bone, then sear them on both sides and fry just until the meat has shrunk down and is about half done. This is cut into convenient pieces and packed in jars. For bigger pieces, I use wide-mouthed jars for ease of removing the meat later. For smaller pieces, I use the regular jars because the lids are so much cheaper. The meat is packed to within an inch of the top of the jar. You may add a tsp. of salt to the quarts and half a tsp. to the pints, if you wish. Then add water to your frying pans to make a broth. When this is hot, pour onto your meat, leaving an inch of headspace in the jar.

Wipe the rim with a clean damp cloth and place a hot, previously simmered lid on the jar. Screw down the ring firmly tight and process at 10 pounds pressure (unless you live at an altitude above 1,000 ft, then consult your canning manual for directions in adjusting your pressure to suit your altitude, if necessary). Pints are processed for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.

For ground meat and stewing meat, I also pre-cook it the same way. You may add spices, as you like, as well as the salt.

You can also make your favorite chilis, stews, soups, and barbecue shredded meat using the same processing times. Youíre lucky to have the moose; itís my all-time favorite meat!

ó Jackie

Pickled beets

Hi, I remember hearing my uncle talk about making pickled beets out of canned beets from the store shelf. Any idea how he did that? Heís gone now, so I canít ask him.

Bob Voigt
Rvoigt at reinbeck.net

You can use store-bought beets in any of your favorite pickled beet recipe because you usually cook your beets before you pickle them. If you donít, they are awfully crunchy. In case you donít have a pickled beet recipe, hereís a basic one for you. Adjust the amounts to suit how many you want.

Pickled beets:

2 qt. small beets
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 stick cinnamon
1/2 Tbsp. allspice
3/4 cup water
1 3/4 cup vinegar

Drain your beets; slice if desired. Add sugar, spices, salt, and water to vinegar. Simmer 15 minutes. Pack beets hot into hot, sterilized pint jars. Heat liquid to a boil and pour over beets. If not enough liquid to cover, add more vinegar. Process pints for 30 minutes in a boiling water bath. This makes about 4 pints.

ó Jackie

Inverting jelly jars

I read in one of the back issues a recipe for pomegranate jelly and you stated to invert the jar for 5 minutes before placing in canner. What is the purpose for this and should it be done on all jellies?

Your advice to all about asking around for jars is right on the money as we were just recently gifted with approximately 400 jars. Right before that we bought almost 140 jars at a flea market for $19. What a blessing both finds were for us. Thank you for all the wonderful things you share with us.

Shannan Sweeney
Ocala, Florida

Inverting the jars of jelly was the old way to ensure a seal. My old recipes have that method, but itís not recommended now, as we process all our jams and jellies in a boiling water bath to ensure a good seal. The inverting of the jars heated the jars thoroughly, helping them to seal well. It is not necessary to do when you water bath them.

It sounds like you got a terrific deal on your jars! Good for you. Asking around has always worked for me, in anything Iím looking for. Iím cooking on a wood range I got in just that way. Folks are usually more than happy to help out.

ó Jackie

Canning new potatoes

I love eating small one-inch white potatoes with the skin but they do not keep fresh that long in the fridge and take some time to cook. I am therefore looking for a way to can them but all recipes call for peeling first, something I really do not want to do. Is it really dangerous? Can you give directions and cooking times? Do they need to boil before being put in the jars? I would be worried that they become too soft. Also, I would like to can basmati rice in such a way that the grains stay firm and need only 5 minutes of cooking with half a cup of water to be ready. It is commercially available from Dainty in Canada in 500-ml cans and seems simple to do but nowhere can I find information on canning rice as if it was impossible to do. Any hints?

Guillaume Brouillard
Granby, Quťbec (Canada)

I absolutely love my little new potatoes. Most people throw them away or leave them in the garden when they dig potatoes. I sure donít. I can them. No, you do not need to peel them. In fact, when you leave the skins on, it holds the potato firm and does not let it get starchy and mushy. I simply scrub those potatoes, prick them with a fork and pack in pint jars, raw. I add a half a tsp. of salt to each jar and then fill the jars to within an inch of the top with boiling water. Process pints of new potatoes at 10 pounds pressure (unless you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet and must adjust your pressure to suit your altitude; consult your canning manual for directions, if necessary) for 45 minutes.

I have not canned rice, except when itís added to a soup or broth. Any readers out there who have successfully canned rice?

ó Jackie

Icicle pickles

I take care of my mom who will be 96 this June and is doing great. I handed her a seed catalog today and she has talked about a recipe she had for Icicle Pickles and you use ice cubes. I would be so grateful if you know of this recipe as we put a ramp in for her and thought she would get a kick out of helping in the garden. I asked her today if I found that recipe would she can them for us, and she snapped right back, ďYou bet I will.Ē

Louise
Lmkoko at earthlink.net

Hereís a recipe for icicle pickles for you and your mom. Enjoy...both the eating and the making.

Icicle pickles:

3 pounds 4 inch cukes, cut into eighths lengthwise
6 small onions, quartered
6 5-inch pieces of celery
1 Tbsp. mustard seed
1 qt. white vinegar
1/4 cup salt
2 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup water

Wash, cut cukes; soak in ice water and ice cubes for 3 hours.

Drain; pack in clean pint jars. Add 1 onion, 1 piece celery, and Ĺ tsp. mustard seed to each jar.

Combine vinegar, salt, sugar, and water; bring to a boil. Pour over cucumbers, filling jars to half inch of the top. Process in boiling water bath for 10 minutes. Makes about 6 pints.

ó Jackie

Burdizzon castration

On your website you wrote that there is no chance for infection with a burdizzon. With the testicles still in the animal, wouldnít they need a place to go? And why would they not become infected with no life-giving blood going to them? This is hard for me to conceive. Maybe you can enlighten me.

Will
Ivegonefishing2 at aol.com

The body simply and gently reabsorbs the testicles. With larger animals, this takes awhile, but certainly does work. I think itís simply a case of not all the blood vessels are crushed and killed, just ones that supply the main part of the testicles, and of course, the cord that supplies the sperm from the testicles is crushed. This does work very well, and Iíve never seen an infection or any pain evidenced by the animal after the procedure has been done.

ó Jackie




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