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Jackie Clay

Q and A: heating canned meat and canning meatloaf

Thursday, February 21st, 2013

Heating canned meat

I have two questions. First, I request that you expand on your answer to Margaret Baker of Valleyford, Washington about using home canned meat. I am still confused. If I understand you correctly, you are saying that you remove the ring and lid from the jar and then put the jar (with the meat still in it) into a pan of water and simmer it 10 to 15 minutes. Is this correct? Also, do you put something on the bottom of the pan so the jar doesn’t sit directly on the pan while simmering?

Another question. Can you mix meat directly from the jar into a casserole and bake it in the oven. Would that count for your 10-15 minutes of heating? Or could you cook it like a hamburger helper type dish on the stove using canned hamburger?

Pati Sandstrom
Olympia, Washington

Oops, I was unclear about that. Sometimes when you’ve done something so much, you forget to mention details. Yes, I do put an old jar lid (usually it’s the rinsed-off lid from the jar) under the jar full of meat to prevent the jar from contacting the very hot bottom of the heating pan, then simmer for 10-15 minutes.

Yes, you can mix the meat into a casserole or any recipe as long as it is brought to 212 degrees for the correct length of time. If you use a Hamburger Helper type recipe, just make sure the meat is heated long enough, even if you must just turn it into a small pan and simmer it before adding to the recipe then draining it and dumping it into the other ingredients.

I hope I cleared up things for you. Sorry for the misunderstanding. — Jackie

Canning meatloaf

I have a question about canning meatloaf in pint jars. Isn’t it too dense to be safe? If so, could it be packed in then a hole worked in the center like a donut. I just lost 7 pints of roasted red bell peppers/garlic because it was too thick and made a mess. I tried to salvage it the next day by mixing with chicken broth for a soup, but it was bitter.

Nancie Droughton
Marysville, California

I used to can meatloaf, but when new info came out, I switched to canning meatball mix in the form of meatballs and lightly browned patties stacked in the jar, instead. I think either would work for you better than trying to make a hole in the center. I’m sorry you lost your roasted peppers/garlic. The density thing is a real concern. — Jacki

5 Responses to “Q and A: heating canned meat and canning meatloaf”

  1. Dan Says:

    Isn’t meatloaf basically the same density as ground beef? So does this mean that ground beef isn’t safe to can? Or is the problem with raw-packing the beef in the meatloaf recipe?

  2. Judy Says:

    So are all of the meatloaf jars we have suspect? Should we throw them away or just heat to a high temperature for the required time? Mine are canned in the pint and a half jars. I won’t can any more meat loaf for sure except in patties or meatballs.

  3. Keren Says:

    I have canned meatloaf, raw, in wide mouth pint jars. I just slip out on a plate, slice and heat in gravy or pan fry and enjoy. I got the recipe on the Internet. Am I taking a chance with safety?

  4. jackie clay-atkinson Says:


    When you can ground beef, you lightly brown it and crumble it or form into patties. Both ways allow the meat to separate during processing and allow steam to flow throughout the jar and the meat. With meatloaf, the meat is in one solid chunk and it’s possible that it may not heat thoroughly in the center for long enough for safe processing. If you were to make meatloaf, then slice it and pack it that way, you could can it that way. But I’ve found out that making meatloaf seasoned meat balls seems to work better as the meat doesn’t dry out.

  5. jackie clay-atkinson Says:

    Judyand Keren,

    There is a big debate about the safety of canning raw meatloaf. My All American canner manual recommends canning it. Some experts say “no”. When canning any raw meat, it’s necessary to “exhaust” the open jars of meat before putting the lid on and beginning processing. This involves sitting the open jars of meat in a large pan filled with water nearly to the top of the jar then heating the jars of meat on the stovetop until they reach 170 degrees in the center of the jar. Then quickly wipe the rims of the jars clean and place a hot, previously simmered lid on the jar, screw down the ring firmly tight and place in a warmed canner to process.
    If your meat has not been exhausted before canning and has been packed raw, I would be very careful to thoroughly heat that meat before eating.

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