Canning meat

How do you can meat? I have never tried to do it, but my mom did it when I was very young.

Bettye Bryan
Water Valley, Mississippi

Meat is very easy to can and it’s so useful, once in the pantry. I’d strongly suggest getting a copy of my book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food, for detailed instructions on canning all kinds of meat and meat based recipes.

To can meat, first gently brown it; it doesn’t need to be completely cooked as it will cook during processing. Cut the meat into convenient chunks or slices to fit easily into jars. Use the pan drippings to make a broth, mixing them with water. Pour this boiling broth over the meat, ending up with an inch of headspace (or room) at the top of the jar. Wipe the rim of the jar off to remove any particles or grease. Place a previously simmered, hot new lid on the jar and tighten the ring down firmly tight. In your pressure canner, pour two inches of water. Insert the rack to keep jars off the bottom of the canner. Fill canner with jars and clamp the lid on and turn on the heat. Leave the weight off or the petcock open so air and steam can exhaust. When the steam shoots out in a steady stream for 5 minutes or the time recommended by your canner’s manual, place weight on or shut petcock to build up pressure. Process pints at 10 pounds pressure for 75 minutes and quarts at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes in a pressure canner. When the time is up, turn off the heat and let the canner sit until the pressure has returned to zero and remained for about 5 minutes. Remove the lid and, using a jar lifter, lift out each jar and place on a folded towel in a draft-free spot to cool. When cool, check to make sure the centers of the lids are indented, which indicates that they are sealed. Remove the ring and wash the jar in warm, soapy water to remove any grease or minerals on the jar. Dry and store in your pantry. Do not put the rings back on, as they do nothing to ensure the seal and only trap moisture, resulting in rusty lids.

Again, I’d strongly recommend getting Growing and Canning for a whole lot more information. — Jackie

Canning lard

What process is best for canning lard? Some say to pressure can it; some say to heat it and pour into hot jars then add the lid and ring and let the cooling lard create a seal; some say to water bath it. I’m looking for a safe way to store it unrefrigerated.

Michelle Schwarzin
Crane, Oregon

I’ve always canned my lard by ladling the hot lard into hot jars, wiping the rim to remove any grease then adding a hot lid and screwing down the ring firmly tight.

I don’t feel it necessary to pressure can it (pressure canning can actually blow some liquid lard out under the lids, resulting in a bad seal). Water bathing would do nothing but ensure a seal. Any type of canning is unnecessary. The enemy of lard is air and once sealed, air cannot get to the lard to turn it rancid. The hot lard, hot jar method has worked for me for more than 50 years. — Jackie


  1. In 2015 sealing lard in jars this way is a wonderful way to store it, but before we overthink/overstress over this ladies my granny stored hers in lard stands. These were a large container the equivalent of a 5 gallon cookie tin. Great granny used a crock with a cloth tied over the top with string!
    Let me share a method of storing sausage I had never heard of. An 85 year old told me how in very lean times his mom would form the sausage into balls, then stack these balls into clean corn husks (dried & cobb removed) carefully pulling/overlapping the leaves of the husk to seal it in, then tie up the end. These were hung in the smoke house. This interested the heck out of me, so I gave it a try. No smoke house so I put mine in the fridge for 5 days. It was wonderful! It develops a rind like air dried salami. But like the guy told me, the cornshuck imparted a flavor. I was trying to duplicate a 75 year old memory…. by taking a swing at it, done correctly I bet it was good.

  2. Thanks Michelle for asking that question on storing lard. My dad and I discussed how his mom kept lard, and did he think we could do that. He said the same thing as Jackie, and the stories he told. He enjoyed the remembrances of his mother and passing them on. Funny how the smallest question could bring on such big smiles. Good luck to you. Dad is just a few months shy of 90 now. I am interested in canning REAL bacon bits, and I didn’t want to toss good fat, bacon gravy and chicken fried in bacon fat – oh my. My mouth is watering thinking about it.
    Jackie you have officially created a monster! My next project is canning sweet and sour chicken.

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