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Go Back   BHM Forum > Homesteading > Food > Canning/Preserving

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  #1  
Old 11-14-2009, 02:43 PM
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readra21 Male readra21 is offline
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Default How Much Water???

Hello Everyone, it has been a while since I posted anything. Hope all is well.

I am getting ready to can my venison and had a few questions.
I have read the blue ball book many times and nowhere does it say how much water to put in the pressure canner to cook.

Is it like my water bath where the jars need to be covered?
Or.... half way?
Or a few inches. My thought being that if it is a few inches, wont it boil off during the processing?

Also for canning meat, I see with all the canning books I have bought and read from BWH, it seems to me that it is best to fill meat with broth.
Can I raw pack my cubes and steaks and let the meat naturally broth?

Any help is appreciated.

Thanks
Don
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  #2  
Old 11-14-2009, 03:33 PM
Anon001 Anon001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by readra21 View Post
I am getting ready to can my venison and had a few questions.
I have read the blue ball book many times and nowhere does it say how much water to put in the pressure canner to cook.
I'm not quite sure what you mean. The purpose of pressure canning isn't necessarily to "cook" the food, although that is a side effect. Pressure canning is to kill bacteria and seal the jars with a vacuum.

Quote:
Is it like my water bath where the jars need to be covered?
Or.... half way?
Or a few inches. My thought being that if it is a few inches, wont it boil off during the processing?
No. Only put enough water to come up about 2 inches on the jars. I have used mine enough that I know where to fill to before adding the jars. I heat the water in the canner so that it is hot when I put my hot jars in it.[/quote]

If you are "cooking off" the water while pressure canning, you have a problem and need to read the instructions that came with your canner. Once the steam starts to vent, you let it do so for 7 minutes (bad memory day... I think it's 7 minutes lol ), then put the rocker on and bring up the pressure.

Quote:
Also for canning meat, I see with all the canning books I have bought and read from BWH, it seems to me that it is best to fill meat with broth.
Can I raw pack my cubes and steaks and let the meat naturally broth?
You can, but with venison, I brown it in a skillet first, then I pack the jars with meat and fill with my broth, or water, either one and any seasoning you want with it. I basically do it the same way that I do beef.

This year, I'm going to see about cold packing my venison.

By the way, it sounds to me like you need to read the instructions that came with the canner.

Paul
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  #3  
Old 11-14-2009, 03:59 PM
NCLee NCLee is offline
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Agree, please read the instructions for your pressure canner. The instructions for my Presto 21 qt is to add 3 quarts of water and 2 tbsp white vinegar in the canner. The amount you'll add will depend upon the size of your canner.

No, the water doesn't boil away, during processing. A little will escape during the exhausting process. However that amount is small. I can do from 3-4 loads before I need to add any more water to the canner itself.

Re: Venison - there are several different methods. I haven't tried raw pack with venison, so can't comment on the method. I use hot pack. For one thing I can get more meat into the jars. And I use the broth that's created during the hot pack method to fill the jars with liquid.

My hot pack method - Cut the meat into approx 1" cubes (bite sized). Rinse the meat in cold water, until the water runs clear. (This removes the blood.) Some people soak for a short time, with salt in the water. Once the meat is rinsed. I put it into a pot and cover the meat with water. Bring it to a boil. Skim off the foam. Simmer about 30 minutes or so. (No real set time here.)

Using a canning funnel I use a slotted spoon to remove the meat from the broth and add to hot jars. Then using an old fashioned water dipper, add the cooking broth to the jars. Wipe off the rim of the jars with a moist paper towel to remove any residue. Put on the lids & rings. Process @ 10 lbs pressure for 90 minutes, following the Blue Book instructions.

FWIW, I don't add salt. I use venison in soups and stews. These are seasoned, as needed, at the time of cooking.

Hope this helps. Good luck with your venison.
Lee
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  #4  
Old 11-14-2009, 04:44 PM
oeb oeb is offline
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We raw pack the chunks and strips and brown what little bit of the ground stuff we put up in jars. We've also browned the meat chunks before but frankly I can't tell a lot of difference in the broth, taste, or texture after using either method. It is true that a little more can be packed in if it's first browned.

As for amount of water in the canner, our canners both hold 20 pint jars (forget, off hand, how many qts.) and we use 3.5 qts. of water with a few spoons of vinegar in the bottom. As mentioned before, your canner's book will tell you and if it's not available you can almost always find a copy somewhere online. Good luck with it.

Otis
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  #5  
Old 11-14-2009, 09:27 PM
Mom5farmboys Mom5farmboys is offline
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We also raw pack the venison in chunks. I like just salt added but the husband likes to get a little creative with his spices, so he always plays with a few of the jars and tries different combinations of spices each time we can meat.

I do not add any liquid to the meat it will make its own juice. I also have used quart, pint, and jelly jars. The pints and jelly jars are great for gift baskets, and for older folks or people who live alone. I always do some in jelly jars for my parents who are getting older and don't eat very much at one time anymore.

I process quarts for 90 minutes at 10lbs pressure. I know I don't have to go quite that long for pints or jelly jars but I always let them go 90 minutes too. I don't know why . We like the canned venison so much that now its the only way we preserve it.
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  #6  
Old 11-15-2009, 12:47 AM
gunsmoke Male gunsmoke is offline
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All the meat I've ever canned has been fully cooked in the form of soups stews chilis and sauces. My MOM was not very adventurous when canning and I never learned any other way. Good luck and let us know how it works out for you!
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  #7  
Old 11-17-2009, 06:52 PM
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Smile Thank you!!!

Thanks everyone!
I appreciate all the responses. I ended up forging forward and had success with canning 14 quarts of various cuts of venison and they all turned out great! Now comes the waiting to see how long they will last. My wife is just now getting on board with the whole canning thing, something that I have wanted to do for years, now that we actually have a farm that we are raising/harvesting our own animals, this is a wonderful skill to have started.

Our next project is to build and maintain a root cellar! Feel free to chime in with any suggestions you might have, I truly appreciate all of your help!

Don and Rian
Porter, WA
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  #8  
Old 11-17-2009, 08:07 PM
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I'm new to canning myself. The first time I used it I put in what the owner's manual said to, about 1-2 inches, and by the end of the session I was almost out of steam to move the weight. I read Jackie Clay's new book where she recommends 2-3 inches in the bottom of the canner. I did that and had no problems with maintaining pressure.

I had the same question you did about raw pack meat. Again, Jackie Clay recommended water or broth up to 1 inch below the top and covering the meat. Worked like a charm.

If you're like me, this will be a good bookshelf reference.
http://www.backwoodshome.com/store/files/jc01.html
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  #9  
Old 11-17-2009, 10:52 PM
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Two or three inches tops. Too much water equals too much pressure which can blow out the emergency stopper.
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  #10  
Old 11-18-2009, 10:52 AM
nhlivefreeordie Male nhlivefreeordie is offline
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Hmmmm,
I guess I missed the part about the water level. I made sure the jars were covered in my pressure canner. I did not have a problem with the safety valve blowing out, and kept the pressure at 10 lbs during the process, is all the food I canned OK?
This would be great about the 2-3 inches, as it takes a long time to boil the amount of water I was using.
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  #11  
Old 11-18-2009, 11:17 AM
kawalekm kawalekm is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by momma_to_seven_chi View Post
Two or three inches tops. Too much water equals too much pressure which can blow out the emergency stopper.
No, this is not right. The pressure will always be the same in the canner unless either you have so little water it dries out, or has so much water it is spirting out the top. Pressure is pressure, and 10 psi will be 10 psi whether the canner is 10% full or 90% full.

The only thing that more water will effect is the larger mass of water will take longer to heat up to temp and use a little more gas/electric in the process. I do generally tend to add the maximum recommended amount of water for two different reasons. The first is that there is a small amount of water loss during startup, and while processing, and secondly, a good layer of water helps buffer temperature changes that can be so great some kinds of glass can actually crack and break. Though I've never had a glass canning jar break, I have had cheap glass crack when using my canner to prepare microbiology media for beer making.
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  #12  
Old 11-20-2009, 12:33 PM
nhlivefreeordie Male nhlivefreeordie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhlivefreeordie View Post
Hmmmm,
I guess I missed the part about the water level. I made sure the jars were covered in my pressure canner. I did not have a problem with the safety valve blowing out, and kept the pressure at 10 lbs during the process, is all the food I canned OK?
This would be great about the 2-3 inches, as it takes a long time to boil the amount of water I was using.
Anyone?? Do I go by, if sealed, it's ok?
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  #13  
Old 11-20-2009, 12:40 PM
Anon001 Anon001 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nhlivefreeordie View Post
Anyone?? Do I go by, if sealed, it's ok?
Yes.

The only thing I would add is that you should always make note of how easy the lid does or does not come off when you open a jar. Through hot and cold, the seal can actually be lost. Just checking the ping isn't always enough to know that the jar remained sealed.

The main thing isn't how much water to put in the canner, but to use the correct amount called for with YOUR canner. With that said, most canner instructions call for anywhere from 1 to 3 inches.

Paul
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  #14  
Old 11-20-2009, 12:55 PM
nhlivefreeordie Male nhlivefreeordie is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulNKS View Post
Yes.

The only thing I would add is that you should always make note of how easy the lid does or does not come off when you open a jar. Through hot and cold, the seal can actually be lost. Just checking the ping isn't always enough to know that the jar remained sealed.

The main thing isn't how much water to put in the canner, but to use the correct amount called for with YOUR canner. With that said, most canner instructions call for anywhere from 1 to 3 inches.

Paul
Thank you Paul, I was bummed thinking that my hundreds of jars of nicely canned food was at risk. I looked at each jar, they all look fine, the food inside looks fine. The Presto canner I have C-21 had a manual, but somewhere in my mind I must have crossed to water bath instructions with the pressure canner. Everything I canned in the pressure canner was covered with water, even when I double stacked the pint jars. It took forever to get it boiling it seemed. But I did get the water lightly boiling before putting the jars in to avoid over processing.
Out of the several hundred jars, only one jar of wax beans failed to seal, which I used the next day. I held the pressure for the specified time, and did everything else according to the recipe instructions. Guess I just missed the water level thing.
Good to know that I can get by with less water, I was really concerned about wasting so much water, and power getting things up to boiling.
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  #15  
Old 11-20-2009, 12:58 PM
Anon001 Anon001 is offline
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You'll be amazed how much quicker you're able to can food without all that water. lol

Paul
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  #16  
Old 11-20-2009, 01:09 PM
NCLee NCLee is offline
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As far as I can determine you're OK.

Water in an open container doesn't exceed 212 degrees. The only way, that I'm aware of, to heat water to 240 degrees is to put it under pressure. 240 (250 at higher altitutes) is needed to ensure that low acid foods are canned safely. 10 lbs pressure at sea level = 240 degrees.

BTW, this reminds me of a short story. Helper in the kitchen boiling some potatoes for supper. High output gas burner turned to high. "Turn down the burner!" response "I want it to cook faster." Had to explain that water boils at 212. Doesn't get any hotter to cook the food faster. All it does is beats the potatoes to death as they're bouncing around in that FULL rolling boil.

Lee
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Old 11-20-2009, 02:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PaulNKS View Post
You'll be amazed how much quicker you're able to can food without all that water. lol

Paul
How about it...I think back now to those nights not getting to bed until 2:00AM because of all the wasted time.....I learned something new today, so today is going to be a good day no matter what the rest of the day brings, thank you again.
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