Salt curing meat
I am interested in salt cured meats. Can you tell me more about that?
Paso Robles, California
Salt curing is an ancient process, right down to Bible days and before. Today we most often use it in ham, bacon, beef, and fish. And today, a salt brine or dry rub is usually done prior to smoking. The process is simple but must be done step-by-step, so it is too long to relate here. I’d advise picking up the book Cold-Smoking and Salt Curing Meats, Fish, and Game by A.D. Livingston or one of the many other books on this subject. I buy a lot of my books through Amazon or you could probably order them for loan through your local library. — Jackie
I recently purchased a canner and canned 14 quart jars of meatloaf which look wonderful. My question is that during processing some grease leaked out of the jars and into the canner. Do you think that the jars will remain sealed or will the potential grease buildup under the lid cause a failure? I watched them all “ping” afterwards and so they look ok. How will I know if they failed (other than smell)?
Little Elm, Texas
Usually, when grease leaks out of the jars, the seals do stay sealed, even though you’d think they might well fail. Just wash the jars well with hot soapy water to remove any clinging grease, remove the rings to prevent rust from forming (it won’t make the seals fail), and store as usual, in a cool, dark place. If they should fail, when you look at a lid, the center will NOT be pulled tightly into an indentation but will pop up and down when you press your finger on it. Then when you take off the lid, it will come off quite easily.
You might want to pick up a copy of my book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food, for tons of gardening and canning tips and how-to information.
Just a note: where we used to can meatloaf all the time, and some sources still recommend canning it, many experts tell us now that it is too dense a product to can safely. I wouldn’t be too afraid of your canned meatloaf, but I’d probably start canning meatloaf as meatballs or patties instead, with liquid for totally safe processing — just to be certain. — Jackie