If you haven't tried canning meat such as moose, caribou, bear or venison, consider giving it a try with your big game harvest this year.
In addition to canned meat being tasty and nutritious, it does offer some advantages. For one, the canning process tenderizes the tough cuts of meat. Another is meals can be ready in minutes using canned meat. It is truly a convenience food.
To can meat follow these four steps.
1) Prepare the meat. Cut the meat into 1-inch cubes. Trim off fat and gristle. Brown meat cubes in a small amount of fat. Add water to the meat while cooking.
2) Prepare the jars. Prepare the jar lids as instructed by the manufacturer. Pack the hot meat into clean hot jars. Pour the hot liquid (in which the meat was cooked) over the meat, leaving 1-inch headspace. If there is not enough liquid, add boiling water.
Add salt if desired: 1/2 teaspoon to pints, 1 teaspoon to quarts. Wipe off the rim of the jars. Then put on the canning lid and screwband.
3) Prepare the canner. Put 2 to 3 inches of water in the bottom of the pressure canner. Add the jar rack. Heat until the water is the same temperature as the jars so the jars will not break.
4) Process the jars. Put the jars on the rack in the bottom of the canner. Put the canner lid on and fasten securely. Allow the steam to come through the vent hole or petcock for 10 minutes. Close the vent or petcock.
After the pressure reaches 11 pounds on a dial gauge or the 10-pound weight begins to jiggle or rock on a weighted gauge canner, start timing. Regulate heat to maintain a steady pressure.
Pints should be processed for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes.
After the processing time is up, turn off the heat and let the pressure drop to zero. Remove the weight from the vent port or open the petcock. Wait 2 minutes and remove the pressure canner lid. Remove the jars and place on a towel to cool for 12 hours. Store.
To request a copy of our publication, "Canning Moose and Caribou," contact the Cooperative Extension Service at 262-5824.
Linda Athons is an agent at the Alaska Cooperative Extension office on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Soldotna. She is a home economist and involved in the 4-H/Youth Development programs.
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