Although we use winter as our resting season, a lot still gets done. This is the time I do my catch-up canning. As we usually have butchered chickens, turkeys, pigs, and beef, I have a lot of meat in the freezer, which we can only run during the colder months. Our wind and solar don’t produce enough electricity to run our greedy freezer, and running the generator is expensive. Then there are always on-sale foods that I buy extra, usually at holiday season. For instance, during Thanksgiving/Christmas, both ham and turkey were on sale, so I bought a few of each and when Easter approaches, the ham will again be on sale.

So with all this cheap meat, I am slowly beginning to can it up. I just finished a turkey and am thawing out a ham. I can the meat and also, in the case of turkeys and chickens, the broth. And with ham, I use the ham bone and bits of meat to can up baked beans and bean and split pea soup.


And every day I’m taking seed out of our stored squash to dry for our seed business, Seed Treasures. I’m able to not only feed the goats and chickens the “guts” but also am canning up lots of squash for future pumpkin baking.

Also, during the rush tomato season, I can up quarts of plain tomato puree. Then, when I have more time, I open jars, cook it down, add peppers, mushrooms, spices, and meat and make lots of spaghetti sauce. I do this to make enchilada sauce and barbecue sauces, too.

It makes winter go by much more pleasantly, with a warm kitchen and no rush at all. You ought to give it a try! — Jackie


  1. Rick I WISH you lived near me. I’m still in the learning mode, but I’m getting better. We had hams on sell this week for 75 cents a lb., and tasty at that. Dad and I are getting ready to can up about 30 lbs of ham, 35 lbs of chicken, and about 5 lbs of ground beef, plus a few different varieties of steak. OOPs, and also about 8 lbs of bacon, diced and cooked into bacon bits. OH I can’t wait to see my pantry shelves get stocked even more, and dad’s too! I think some ham and beans and pork-n-beans might be in the picture, too.

  2. Wish I lived next door to some of y’all who have so much canning to do….I LOVE TO CAN and would gladly lend a hand. Rick

  3. Heather,

    Thank you, but you ALL are my homestead heroes! I never get it ALL done….just as much as I can each day.

  4. cpacek

    What I like to do is to just brown lightly crumbled ground meat, then lightly pack it into pint jars, leaving 1″ of headspace. Process at 10 pounds for 75 minutes without liquid. It is very tasty that way and SO versatile in its uses!

  5. It is nice to see that I am not the only one canning stuff in the winter. Just less push in winter but it certainly is nice to get the freezer with less stuff :) Spring will be here in soon I just keep telling myself.

  6. I really enjoy canning in the winter months. I’ve done several types of beans, mixed berry pie filling from frozen berries and ready to do coleslaw this week.

  7. I’ve got to clear space in the freezer because half a beef is ready in February (after getting a full one in November) and we just got two deer last weekend! This weekend I’m going to can up some beef steaks and maybe try some hamburger…I’ve done the beef steaks and venison before but never the hamburger. I’ll use your recipe. Thanks!

  8. Makes me think about the 4 freezers of pork and beef I need to get canned. Not much energy. But must get to it.

  9. Miss Jackie, I’m with you on purchasing extra turkeys and hams and during new year week fresh pork is on sale. I purchase fresh shoulders and loins and can all of these during winter too. It is so nice to have chicken, turkey, beef, venison, or pork ready to open and make a very nice meal at the drop of the hat any time company shows up or if someone is in need…… Rick

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