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Ask Jackie headline

Click here to ask Jackie a question!
Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning ground meat and planting apple seeds

Tuesday, February 26th, 2013

Canning ground meat

I pressure dry-canned 4 quarts of ground meat. I cooked the meat, drained what little fat there was, placed in hot sterilized jars, removed bubbles, placed lids, then processed for 90 minutes in my pressure canner. However, I apparently didn’t pack them tight enough. There is a 2- to 3-inch headspace. Is this safe since there is no liquid covering the top portion? I’m new to pressure canning so it makes me a little nervous.

Judy Alexander
Spendora, Texas

Yes, this is safe — very common, as a matter of fact. Ground meat almost always settles as it is processed. Nothing to worry about here. It’s best NOT to pack meats tightly so the steam generated during processing will penetrate all of the food completely. — Jackie

Planting apple seeds

I live in zone 7 in Arkansas and want to plant Granny Smith apple trees. Can I plant seeds from an apple and get the GS? If I plant a tree do I also need to plant another variety?

Barbara Barnes
Rose Bud, Arkansas

Planting seeds from most tree fruit is possible but the problem is that because most trees grown today are grown from grafted stock, the seeds may or may not produce the kind of fruit you want. And it gets further complicated as it usually takes about 5 years to see fruit from a seedling tree. Then to get an acceptable fruiting tree, you should grow a couple dozen trees, which takes up a lot of room. Unless you are set on growing trees from seed, it is best to buy your grafted tree from a nursery. Since you live in the South, you might want to purchase the tree as locally grown if possible so it is acclimatized to your area. It is always a good idea to plant at least two apple trees to ensure pollination. While they may fruit as a lone planting, pollinated by a neighboring apple or crabapple tree, they will nearly always fruit better with a nearby partner. Choose a tree that blooms about the same time as your Granny Smith. Read your nursery catalog thoroughly or ask at a local nursery. — Jackie

2 Responses to “Q and A: canning ground meat and planting apple seeds”

  1. Elise Says:

    You will not get the same type of apple from seed as from graft. Apple seeds do not give you the same fruit as the parent tree – even if the parent tree isn’t grafted. Even the same seeds in the same apple will not give you the same variety of apple. This is the entire reason for grafting – because most apples don’t taste particularly good, when they found a variety that DID taste good, they propagated it via grafting to maintain the flavor profile.

    All Granny Smith apples EVERYWHERE originated from the same seed/tree – every one since then is a clone/graft of that original plant. Graftings taken from existing (grafted) GS trees will graft and yield GS fruit. Ditto every variety of apple.

    Apples are odd that way, and you definitely need more than one variety, as there are very few varieties which do not require cross-pollination. Also, not all varieties will cross-pollinate.

    Lots of great info at this forum: and also at this site:

  2. gen Says:

    I’m not sure if I remember my ‘history’ much, about the man called Johnny Appleseed? He planted seeds as he moved along, but it wasn’t really to get good eating apples, it was because you could get good hard cider? I guess pioneers would juice the apples and put in barrels, in the winter the juice would freeze, but the alcohol in the juice would make it’s way to the top of the barrel, and you could spoon/scoop it off, as alcohol doesn’t freeze. At least that’s what I think I remember.

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