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.
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?
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