This post has pictures of raw meat if you don't like the sight of raw meat skip this post.
Ok, as most of you know I have been hired to look after and can someone's garden. This is something I enjoy doing though it has added a lot more to my days since I am gardening for 2 gardens and canning 2 gardens. Their garden isn't as big and their surplus to can isn't that much so that has been a blessing.
Last week I was asked to can some rabbit meat for them, its just like chicken meat and since I do that in great quanities every year from our meat birds we raise, this was easy. I thought I'd share what I do since I have been asked alot about canning meat and I have realized most of the things I do others have forgotten that at one time it was done all the time and was a standard thing in american households
They had 8 rabbits to process they only gave me the legs to can with the meat on the bone the backstrap of the rabbits they kept to fry up fresh for dinner.
Since they wanted the meat on the bones this meant I was going to raw pack it. You can hot pack with I usually do.
The difference is one is raw and packed into hot jars and canned without broth. The other, hot pack, I cook the meat 3/4's of the way done,, debone and pack meat into hot jars top with hot broth.
With wild game like rabbit and squirral you want to soak the meat for an hour in salted cold water. What I canned was not wild but I still followed the directions for rabbits. While this was soaking I washed the jars and put them in a warm oven to keep them hot. I usually put them in at about 150 which is my warm setting, this keeps them sterilized. I put the lids and rings in a pan of simmering water, you don't want to boil the lids just warm them so their sterilized.
Then I stuff the meat in the jars, you'll need 1 inch head space and because of the bones that made it a little hard. We use a pair dikes which cuts metal we find these work great when we are slaughtering animals to cut through bone, also tree trimmers for larger bones. I would suggest if you do this to have tools just for this purpose and good sharp knives and know how to keep them sharp. We both have good skinning knives we love and keep them extra sharp I always nick myself at least once during our cleaning sessions.
Now meat must be pressure canned so if you don't have one its better to freeze and yes you can freeze in your jars. When I have a jar that doesn't seal for whatever reason I put it in the freezer for later use. This doesn't happen often so no worries there. With raw pack you just add salt to the jar if your doing chicken the rabbit I soaked the meat in salt so didn't have to add it.
I have 2 pressure canners one holds 14 quarts and the other 7 when I have large batches of things this comes in very handy. But a 7 quart is the perfect size, I have had smaller but the 7 worked better as my canning became a bigger operation.
Follow the directions that came with your canner for loading it and adjust for altitude.
And here is the finished product we can alot of chicken and we do it in pints this lasts us a year and the meat is just as good a year later as it was a day after. You can can any meat just follow the directions in your ball canning book. If you don't have one I highly suggest one since it has been a good tool for me when a question arises though I might not use exactly what they have in there for recipes. I buy a new one every so many years to keep up with new canning guidelines. They sell them with the canning supplies at Walmart.
I also read blogs of people can or web sites but I research what I'm doing first before jumping into it to keep things safe you don't want your hard work ruined by bad canning procedures.
If you have any questions please ask or have ideas on what you do share.