Sunday, January 10, 2010

Food Storage Fun

Our church had a "preparedness fair" a couple months ago that was put on by the members in the area. There were classes on gardening, food storage, bread making, dutch oven cooking, 72 hour kits, quilting along with many others. The Hubbs and I went along with my parents and I was motivated to start my food storage. One of the sessions we attended was on canning meat.... so this last weekend my dad and I went back to our mid-west farming roots and ventured into the wonderful world of canning meat. The end product... 48 pounds of beef and chicken canned and placed in our food storage. My dad told the Hubbs tonight, "well Bri- if there is any major natural catastrophe that hits Arizona (like non ever have or probably ever will)... at least you will be warm (because I quilt) and you will have meat". Sounds like we would be doing pretty good.

First: cut up the meat... you can use any meat that you wish but on this particular Saturday we did beef and chicken because it was on sale

Pack the meat into the jars- wide mouth mason jars (pints). It is suggested by the famous Wendy Dewitt ( to buy new jars and then re-use them over and over rather then buying used ones. We watched her series on YouTube and also visited her blog. She has some great ideas.
Heat your lids for 2 minutes in boiling water so that the little rubber ring softens up.
This is the MUST HAVE item for canning- a pressure canner. We bought ours on Amazon for $200.00- it is a 21.5 quart All-American brand. Plave 3 inches of water in the bottom of the canner.

Put the canner on high heat- since we have a glass top stove- we had to do it in the outdoor kitchen.

You have to allow the pressure canner to "exhaust" steam for 10 minutes before you put the weighted gauge on. For the desert, you use 10 pounds of pressure.

Once you have exhaused for 10 minutes, place the weight on and once the gauge gets to 10 lbs., start timing for 75 minutes. This is the same time for all meats except fish which is 95 minutes. Slowly turn the heat down to maintain the 10 lbs mark. The weighted gauge will rattle and spit steam out throughout the whole 75 minutes.
Once 75 minutes has passed, turn the heat off and let the pressure go down to 0 again- then open the lid slowly (away from you) and remove the jars. Place in room temperature (nice that its room temp outside in Arizona in January)
  Let cool... you should hear a *plink* sound. Check to make sure that all jars are sealed- if you tap on the top, it should not move. If it moves, then can the meat again or use the meat.

So fun.... Dad and I were able to can 45 jars in 9 hours.

Then Bailey.. our diamond eating Cocker Spaniel... got into the jars and this is what resulted. We only lost two jars but have a full bellied dog.

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