Canning a great way to preserve meat

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By Joan Martin

Canning meat is included in the food preservation workshop that I will be teaching April 13.
Tommy Yankey, Extension agent for agriculture and natural resources, will be teaching gardening basics during this first session April 13.
The meat will be processing while we learn about gardening.
I can meat because I’m a tent camper. There’s only so long fresh meat will keep in a cooler. I get tired of canned chili, tuna and salmon.
Popular meats for canning are beef, veal, pork, chicken, turkey, rabbit, game birds, small game animals such as squirrels and large game animals such as deer and elk. Rabbit, squirrel, game birds, venison and elk are usually brined before canning. Most people will not choose to can fish because it takes so much longer than meat to process.     
When preparing meat, be sure to remove as much fat as possible. Fat left on the meat will melt and climb the sides of the jar during processing. If the fat comes in contact with the sealing edge of the lid, the jar may not seal.
Canned sausage is the best. I like it much better than fresh cooked sausage because it isn’t crispy and it’s completely tender, no gristle anywhere. Of course, this isn’t something I eat every day but it sure is good when I’m camping. The canning method is below.
You can make sausage from fresh pork or purchase sausage. Do not use sage to season sausage as it may become bitter when processed. Most purchased sausage will not list sage. All the sausage I have canned so far has been good for canning.
Shape sausage into patties. Cook until lightly browned. Drain and pat off excess fat.
Pack hot sausage into hot jars leaving 1-inch headspace. Ladle hot broth over sausage. Beef broth or pork broth will give better flavor but boiling water may be used. Remove air bubbles with a plastic knife or air bubble releaser.
Adjust two-piece caps.
Process pints for 1 hour and 15 minutes after the canner is exhausted of air (which can take 15 to 30 minutes.) Process at 10 pounds pressure in a pressure canner. Do not use a pressure saucepan because of problems with uneven heating.
Note: 1 pound of sausage fills one-pint jar.
Contact the Anderson County Extension Office for information about the Food Preservation Workshop. In addition to pressure canning basics, canning meat and gardening basics April 13, there will be three other workshops. June 15 is canning vegetables, tomatoes, salsa and other tomato products. July 13 is canning fruits and making pickles. August 13 is jams and jelly along with freezing and dehydrating fruits and vegetables. There is a charge for these workshops.

Joan Martin is a consumer and family sciences agent with the Anderson Extension.