Q and A: canning corn and canning meat — 7 Comments

  1. Jackie, you are the greatest and an inspiration to all of us, thank you for everything you do. Hope I can grow out of my fears but right now I’m just too scared of all the things that can go wrong and I wouldn’t know it or know what to do about it. I have a pressure cooker that was a gift about 15 years ago that has never been out of the box. If you’d like to have it let me know… :-)

  2. Zelda,

    EEEEkkkkk!!!! Canning IS easy! Do you use a stove? Hey that’s “dangerous”. Drive a car? Horribly dangerous, compared to the few minor injuries from canning in this country each year (cuts and steam burns mostly). Heat your house? There are millions of house fires every year.
    Modern canners have two safety devices that prevent pressure from blowing up a canner. End of story. You can read. I know you’re a very smart person. All pressure canning amounts to is 1. reading directions and 2. telling time. Paying attention helps too.
    In three generations in my family of home canning, not ONE person has ever become sick from eating home canned food. Ever. In fact, I don’t know of one single person who has. And I do know a lot of people! I’ve never had a pressure gauge that went “wrong” even a little bit so that isn’t a huge worry. And if you are worried, you can certainly have the gauge tested before each year’s use.
    No nutritional value left? Unless you eat your food raw, where it does have a little more nutritional value, you cook it. When you roast a beef roast, it’s in the oven for hours, the same as a turkey. When canned, it’s only 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts and not only do you have one meal, but often 19 or more meals, all pre-cooked. Yes, you should bring them to boiling temperature for 10-15 minutes, but when I use one of these jars, it’s often in a casserole, stew, roast, etc. where it needs to be heated that long to blend the flavors….as well as to be safe. (If you eat any canned “store food”, it’s been canned for that long as well and also should be heated before being eaten for extra safety.
    Okay, on to the energy use issue. Okay, I also use fossil fuel to can in warm months. But again, back to that 19 or more pints (or more half pints) of food I can all at once. That’s only 75 minutes and I’ve canned (cooked) 19 meals with only the 10-15 minutes re-heating time on serving. If I cooked 19 meals, I would have used a lot more energy to cook 19 meals than what I did to can them.
    I, also, am very frugal with my energy use and sure don’t waste it.
    Worrying about your freezer failing is a very real concern. I’ve had that happen with no emergency about and had hundreds of packages of food ruined. And this is no isolated happening. Hundreds of people I’ve talked to have had this happen and have turned to canning to prevent it from ruining future food.
    And it doesn’t take your health failing to keep you from putting in a garden or harvesting it. How about very early freezes or a hailstorm killing your garden? Hey, it happens. Been there, done that. But with a pantry full of canned foods, you shrug and go on. Without hunger.
    I sure wish you could come to one of our seminars or just come for a day’s visit and I’d walk you, step by step, through canning and you would giggle at how your fears melted away. You’d be addicted and love it!

  3. Joe,

    I’ve seen several recipes for canned Amish steak, both using jar-sized, rolled up pieces of “real” steak and patties of ground meat. I can these regularly as well as different varieties of flavored meatballs in sauce. When using the patties, you’ll lightly brown them to get them to hold their shape then lightly stack in wide mouth canning jars. You can use either pan-dripping broth or seasoned tomato broth or sauce. You will process at 10 pounds pressure (unless you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet) for 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts.
    As for your salsa, I’d try different varieties of tomatoes to get chunkier salsa. Beefsteaks are too juicy. I’d try San Marzano or Amish Paste, for instance.

  4. Ohboy. I’ve never learned to can, and the thought of doing it leaves me terrified speechless. Easy??? Between all the jar cleaning and boiling and pressure and the danger of having spoiled food in those jars because I did something just a little off or the pressure gauge wasn’t quite right, I have not got the courage or whatever it takes. And the idea of boiling my canned food for 15 minutes before I dare eat it is unsettling. The food is being cooked twice, once at high pressure and temperature. Seems like there’s not much nutritional value left. I would have to can using commercial fuel sources, I don’t have a woodlot. Seems expensive, cooking something for 90 minutes. I use every possible method to keep my daily fuel use to a minimum. I do freeze and store my harvest, and I do sometimes lie awake thinking what I will do if the power or the freezer fail, or my health is impacted to the point where I can’t put in a garden next year. And there’s no good answer except home canning, but I just haven’t got the courage. Blessings to all of you who do!

  5. Jackie Hi, Looks like you and Will have been really busy this year. I was wondering if you had ever pressure canned Amish steak for your pantry. I have been try to search the internet for the details but have come up empty. Would you or any of your readers have the recipe for making up the patties. Also can you utilize tomatoe juice for the heated broth or just the pan drippings made into a broth. How well done should the patties be cooked 1/3 or 1/2 way done? I assume that pints and quarts will need to be processed at 10 psi but for how long?
    Second question: I have made several batches of salsa this year but cannot get the tomatoes to come out chucky more like stewed. Most recipes require cooking for a minimum of 10 minutes at a simmer. We have subjected the tomatoes to boiling water for 2 minutes and plunged them into ice water to slip the skins and when cool enough cut up into 3/4″ chucks . After cooking a minimum of 10 minutes at a simmering boil, when canning in pint jars the tomatoes already appear cooked down . We are using Beefsteak and Romas which should hold their consistency. We are water bathing the jars for 25 minutes. The taste is great but I would like to find a way to keep the tomatoes chunkier In the salsa. Any hints?
    Joe Tubb Wartburg Tenn.

  6. Why in the world would a person not learn how to pressure can??? Garage sales, thrift shops, friends or family – they’re all sources of a cheap second hand canner. A new gasket and a quick boiling water shake-down test, and you’re good to go. Jackie, your book is a perfect place for a starter.

    We’ve been canners for nearly 50 years. This year, our world has flipped upside down. My wife is going off to teach every morning, and now I’m home running the canning operation. Years ago, it was the other way around. We find, as I’m sure your reader will find, that not only is the food cheaper, it is FAR SUPERIOR. And what a reward to be able to know we did it ourselves. Home canning is gourmet stuff. It is easy. It is rewarding. So to your reader, I add, GO GET A PRESSURE CANNER AND LEARN HOW TO USE IT. You’ll wonder why you waited so long. End of Sermon