How To Preserve Beef in Glass Jars

Giurgi C.
By Giurgi C. February 8, 2016 10:45

How To Preserve Beef in Glass Jars

A reliable source of protein is always mandatory for long term survival. Those who have confronted the wilderness admit that finding a source of protein is one of the most challenging tasks, especially if unarmed or untrained to hunt. And when you finally succeed in killing a big prey, it’s mandatory that you have a mastery of good techniques to properly preserve the meat. If the preservation process is done incorrectly, there’s an increased risk for putrefaction processes, which will deteriorate the meat and make you seriously ill.

Beef has a few advantages over poultry and pork from a nutritional point of view. Chicken is lower in fat and calories—that is a great advantage for a sedentary person but not for someone that is very active in the outdoors, for someone that is struggling to survive, or for a person that only has limited access to meat. Beef is a great source of iron, which is essential for the red blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to each and every cell of your body. Beef is highly rich in zinc as well, which is essential for the immune system and in the healing process. It is also much rich than poultry in potassium and vitamin B12.

You’ll need:

  • Pressure canner
  • Glass jars
  • New lids
  • Meat
  • Condiments

First of all, the pressure canner is an absolute must for canning meat. Meat is a low-acidic food, and low-acidic foods need to be canned at higher temperatures than boiling. Otherwise, dangerous bacteria could multiply and then cause severe illness.

Prepare the jars and the lids. They all need to be perfectly clean. Washing the jars with hot water or in the dishwasher is mandatory. Make sure that the glass jars don’t have any cracks or air bubbles—they make the glass fragile, and the jars might break inside the pressure canner.

Prepare the meat. Fat keeps moist and is a great growing environment for bacteria, so it’s best to remove all the visible extra fat from the meat. Also remove all the muscle fascia—the white parts. Beef tends to have plenty! Don’t worry about getting your canned meat too dry if you remove all the fat—actually, muscle fibers still have plenty of it, which will keep the meat tender and soft!

You can cut the meat into cubes or just use ground meat. Season it according to your preferences.

Optional: Put it in a large frying pan, add a tablespoon of oil, and turn the heat to medium. Precooked meat is definitely tastier than raw meat! Another reason for cooking the meat is that it shrinks, making the whole canning process more space efficient. Make sure not to overcook the meat—the cooking process will continue in the pressure canner. It just needs to change color.

While the meat cooks, you need to regularly stir it.  Also, take your time while putting the jars in the pressure canner according to the instructions, and turn the heat on. Put the lids in a pan full of boiling water, bring them to a simmer, and just keep them there until later. This way, the lids will also be sterile.

Once the meat has changed color, put it in the jars. Leave a 1-inch (2.5 cm) space between the meat and the lid. Once the jars are full and the frying pan empty, add some water to the meat juice and boil it. This way, you will have enough liquid to fill the empty spaces between the pieces of meat in the jars. Once the air is removed, the bacteria will have a hard time multiplying in there! If you prefer, you can also use bone soup or meat soup to fill the jars; just make sure it was freshly made and boiling.

Take the lids and carefully wipe them with a clean cloth; then screw them down tightly. Put the jars in the pressure canner, but be extra careful not to hit them against one other because they might easily break. Cook them for about 90 minutes at 10 pounds pressure, closely following the use intructions of the pressure canner to avoid potential accidents.

Once the 90 minutes have passed let the pressure canner cool a little bit (at least 10 minutes), and then carefully open the pressure canner—if any steam is left inside, it might cause burns on your hands or face. Remove the jars, and put them on a folded towel or blanket. The liquid inside should still be boiling, and the lids might make some noise—it’s a strong indicator that the jars have sealed. Put the jars in several blankets, and let them cool slowly, over a day’s time. Once they are room temperature, you need to check to see if the lids are properly sealed. A sealed lid is slightly dipped in the center. If the lid can be pushed down and then pops back up, it means the jar is not sealed. You should process those jars immediately using another new lid, or refrigerate it and consume it over the next couple of days.

Homemade canned beef has plenty of advantages over industrially-preserved meat. First, it’s chemical-free, with no preservatives or colorants. Besides, it tastes absolutely delicious!

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Giurgi C.
By Giurgi C. February 8, 2016 10:45
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  1. Even Norwegian February 8, 13:42

    For how long could this kind of canned meat be stored?

    Reply to this comment
    • pat r February 8, 14:45

      5 years or longer, depending on how well you canned it, and how you store it. See my comments below.

      Reply to this comment
    • Sam November 17, 03:08

      Check with the manufacturer of your pressure cooker and/or extension university. It depends on the pressure you use and seals. The pressure recommended above is different from my instruction manual. Customer Service was VERY helpful and the extension university will calibrate your pressure valves annually at little to no cost. Check the manufacturer’s instructions on when you can open your pressure canner. Mine requires valves release on their own before opening. Far safer than past pressure cookers, they still need to be treated with respect. Sixty years ago, my godmother’s exploded and rice was everywhere! Practice with your pressure canner. Purchased just for meat products, I overcooked my first vat of spaghetti sauce and it broke my heart (after a year, the jars are still sealed.) However, my vegetable soup made me proud. Large batches can be pricey – start small.

      Reply to this comment
  2. First-time canner February 8, 14:31

    How high did the water raise when you put it in the pressure cooker? Did it, or did it not cover the cans?

    Reply to this comment
    • pat r February 8, 14:44

      Your water SHOULD NOT cover your jars. Place your jars. Add enough water to cover 3/4 of the jars. Tops should NOT be submerged. Run your canner to the 10-minute tornado (releases air); place your pressure gauge or weighted gauge or pressure cock (3 names for same thing) on the vent port. Bring to pressure per your altitude (where ya’ at?!). Process.

      You can use your canner as an autoclave (that thing hospitals use to sterilize instruments) by adding water to just below a tall rack. Place your jars on the rack ABOVE the water line. Process like meat.

      You MUST see that the pressure canner reaches 240 deg. F (10 lbs pressure) and maintains that temp long enough to be sure the contents of the jar are sufficiently processed to kill any bacteria that might exist in the food supply. ALL food contains some form of bacteria. It grows in medium that NEEDS some of that bacteria to be ‘healthy’.

      Reply to this comment
      • Jamee June 20, 18:15

        My pressure canner calls for only 2 1/2 Qts of water. This actually sits below the jars as the jars are sitting on a little metal insert. I still bring it up to 10-15 lbs of pressure and the time recommended for ground meat is 75 minutes. I recommend looking on YouTube for videos of what you are canning and using other sources of information. There is plenty of it out there on the internet.

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  3. pat r February 8, 14:36

    I much prefer to pre-cook ALL of my meats. I don’t like a lot of the ‘gunk’ (and beef has the most ‘gunk’) in my jars of food. I don’t cook it thoroughly. I cook it just enough to be able to remove the ‘gunk’ and get the fat I didn’t trim off to float to the top. The meat will cook during processing, so, it isn’t necessary to cook it completely, and you don’t really want overprocessed meat, though it will still be food. I let the fat from the beef rise to the top and cool. I pull it off. I put the fat in a separate pan (outdoors – because it stinks!) and cook it down again. Then I let it cool again. I scrape the “bits” off the bottom. Then I melt it down a third time (for purity). Pour it into a candle mold and you have a tallow candle! Tip: I soak my wicks in heavy salt-water overnight, then let it dry thoroughly for 24 hours before using in a candle. Add 2 days to plans before making candles. The salt-soaked wick burns more slowly and gives a brighter light, because it burns more slowly, making your candle last longer. Personally, I’ve canned meatloaf, and don’t care for it. But it’s food. I do grill pork chops, even steak, and can those in wide-mouth jars. I can deer, rabbit, chicken, beef, pork…you name it! My idea of “fast food” – open a jar of meat, dump stuff together, and walla!

    As to how long as it good? Depends on how you store it. We’re eating 5 year-old-meat that is no different than the more recently canned, and it would probably last even longer. Can it properly. Keep it away from heat, moisture, and light (cool, dark storage place). Enjoy!

    Reply to this comment
    • InPlaneSite April 12, 12:59

      its not ‘walla’ its viola’ French for ‘there it is’

      Reply to this comment
      • JenSzen July 6, 12:57

        It’s not Viola either! Lol. That’s a stringed instrument. It’s VOILA! I think I’ll just stick with good old American “Ta-Daa!” : )

        Thanks for the tutorial! It’s good to learn new and safe methods.

        Reply to this comment
        • Rae September 14, 12:48

          Thank you for the laugh! I think I actually prefer Walla to Viola, LOL! Although Ta-Daaaaa is always a good thing. 🙂

          I love these informative articles and tutorials.

          Reply to this comment
  4. Softballumpire February 8, 16:20

    I didn’t dispute your process steps until I sat that you add water to the cooked meat. My question is why? You have a pressure cooker. I always took the bones, viscera and scraps and threw them into the pressure canner with the bottom plate removed. By pressure cooking them for 60-90 minutes # 15# with some spices as rosemary & bay, I had plenty of beef broth, which was added to the meat jars I planned to can instead of adding plain water. The fat was ladled off and set aside to add to the dog’s food or whatever uses other readers might suggest. The unused portion of the liquid was used for canned beef broth. The chunk of meat & gunk on the bottom was canned on case by case basis for us or the dogs.

    Reply to this comment
  5. k.w. shultice February 8, 17:57

    Have been canning for nearly 45 years two to 3inches of water is all needed bottom of canner. Added jars will make it rise i never have depth over half way all jars in canner. NEVER pre cool down canner after burner off. You will cool an lower temp and pressure in canner not jars an blow contents out of jar as it as not cooled. Wait till pin in safty gasket drops or tap gauge genty an make sure no pressure on gauge. I know from doing so early years of canning. You can blow jars blow out content of jars an will not seal by getting in a hurry. If time is that important to you on canning buy another canner new or used. I have gotten them at garage sales for give away prices as low as one to 25$ or new wal mart less than 100. Happy canning. Wayne

    Reply to this comment
    • Elle March 16, 21:16

      I always thought you do it after all the pressure has been realeased!

      Reply to this comment
    • Sam November 17, 03:21

      Pressure canners can be different. Read the instructions. Mine is 23 quarts and says 3 quarts of water no matter what you’re canning. Covering the bottles with water is not necessary and takes forever (see, I didn’t read ALL of the instructions) Pressure is way different from water bath.

      Reply to this comment
  6. Waltz February 8, 23:39

    WOW- Really love your instructions… going out tonight to buy a canning pressure cooker.

    Thanks for making the video

    Reply to this comment
  7. Doug December 5, 23:56

    A half inch from the top is enough room while processing? if everything going in the jars is hot? I’m concerned about this in the jar expanding or boiling over in the jar now dirting your seal between the jar and the lid. As you know then would make a seal almost impossible. I have canned but not meats. due to the added knowledge needed for the low acid levels. And can one add all the spices onions ect when canning your meats. Thank for the info just loved your artical and comments.

    Reply to this comment
    • Lidge July 8, 20:22

      It says one inch or 2.5 centimeters. If you can’t follow instructions you will die. Future world will be harsh. I mean this very nicely.

      Reply to this comment
  8. coyote307 January 25, 19:27

    canned for 35 years buty ou don’t want water 3/4 on jars may cause them to shake and break. I place a couple of quarts in canner as it works fine

    Reply to this comment
  9. Lisa January 25, 19:41

    My pressure canner says qt to 6 cups of water total. Do not hurry the cool down. My electric will cool all night. Yes, I want a real canner, but all that fits right now. The important idea is start now, whatever is on sale, as you can afford; shelf safe and no electricity for a freezer.

    Reply to this comment
  10. Lisa January 26, 05:23

    After SHTF, there will be no extension. Learn now to provide for your family.

    Reply to this comment
    • Rae September 14, 12:51

      Thank goodness we DO have them now. How else will we learn to provide for our families unless we DO ask the experts?

      Reply to this comment
    • Sam November 17, 03:25

      So, use them to learn now. That’s why they are there. You may have to pass the craft along. It’s our responsibility to learn now and teach later. Useful people live longer.

      Reply to this comment
  11. Dee September 10, 02:48

    What if you dont have a pressure canner?

    Reply to this comment
    • Sam November 17, 03:32

      Presto has a large 23 quart pressure canner that can be used on a glass-top stove – my water bath canner can not. I bought mine at Ace so that was provably more than I needed to spend. Amazon has used items and extension university will check valves. You can’t do meat products without it so it’s a personal decision. Do it now; it takes some practice.

      Reply to this comment
  12. coyote307 September 10, 04:20

    do it before things got south and do Like I did buy one in fact have 3 it really speeds up processing time

    Reply to this comment
  13. Randyman April 13, 16:17

    Regarding screwing down lids tight. I have done this before with wide mouth lids and pressure built up and lids buckeled. I may have had too much water in canner, but now I leave lids two finger tip tight. This works, but contents sometime boil out and greasey or oily foods get under lid seal, that worries me. Thus far However everything I have made, baked beans, chili, stew, split pea soap, bean with bacon soap. Have all been fine lids appear to be sealed etc. After jars come out of canner and have cooled, I do give them a bath of soapy water and rinse to get rid of any external oils/grease.

    Reply to this comment
  14. Donna E May 31, 17:27

    I have eaten chicken that had been canned 20 years earlier and kept in a cool dark cellar. Would never have known, except for the date on the jar.

    Reply to this comment
  15. Lidge July 8, 20:35

    If buying new canner check out All American. No rubber seal, a wedge metal to metal seal. Plus can buy in large sizes. I think the big one does 19 quart jars at a time. Its my dream canner. I do not cook food directly in aluminum. I have two yard sale specials stainless pressure cookers. Aluminum is fine for canning. Tattler ‘re usable canning lids. Also, my mother will use any jar that has a sealed lid for canning. Old pickle jars, picante peppers jars that would normally be trash canned. She’s been doing it all my life. I’m closer to fifty than forty five, so it’s been a while.

    Canned fat will be major handy, or rendered fat.

    Reply to this comment
    • Sam November 17, 03:39

      Check all the boxes that have street signs to prove you’re not a robot. First of all, I admire your courage. Next, kudos on your canning skills. I’m impressed.

      Reply to this comment
  16. tazzyslady July 15, 17:22

    Before disaster hits please do yourselves a favor and purchase a Ball Blue Book-Guide to Canning and Preserving. It will answer all your questions with up to date information with no questions left over. I’m seeing a lot of questions that make me cringe. Improper procedure or inadequate processing times are asking for trouble. Done properly, it’s quite safe.
    I’m going on 4 decades of canning and preserving. An “All American” caner is an awesome piece of equipment that is worth every bit the money it costs. (I would save nickles, dimes and quarters to get the money to purchase one). I have a 16 quart All American. A 16 quart caner will process 8 quarts or 10 pints. Please use Mason Jars and Mason lids and rings. Jars saved from food purchased at the supermarket may work or they may crack and break under pressure for long periods of time. Picking glass and inedible food from a caner makes a person want to cry.
    When you fill your jars please wipe the jar rim with a clean wet dishcloth and then pull a lid from your boiling water and turn the ring down hand tight only.
    Process them at 10 lbs of pressure-75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts and after your heat processing let your pressure go down naturally as this is part of the processing time it takes to insure food safety. When your gauge is resting on the pin or your weight lets no pressure out (doesn’t hiss) when it is touched you will know your pressure is down to where you can open the caner safely. Please open away from you. It’s hurts like crazy to get burned on steam.
    All low acid foods need to be processed in this manner. Times vary. All vegetables should smell good when you open them and be boiled for 10 minutes before tasting. You should smell all canned meat and boil for 20 minutes before tasting. If anything smells off before or after you cook it, throw it out.
    Your Ball Blue Book will become your best friend. You can find them at Walmart or even Amazon. I use mine every year!

    Reply to this comment
    • Lisa July 15, 18:31

      I Agree in most parts. An All American is a must, no rubber gasket, can be used on a grate over a wood fire outside if you must. The Ball book is very helpful. I’m also looking for the older books. The newest ones are gov correct. As a rebel, yes, I reuse lids, all in how they are taken off. Also part of the canning “recipe” you don’t hear about is boiling the meat 10 min as you prepare the meal. That was so a given in the older days, it was rarely written. I do that myself, if the seal hiss was not at loud as I like. There are many things cannable, why the vintage books with their table of canning times are very valuable. Now about waterbath. yes, meat can be waterbathed. for 3-4 hours. Do I do that now? NO. In other countries that do not have access to pressure canners, yes. Why we push for an AA canner and learning how to use it. As for commercial grocery store jars and one piece lids. Yes they can be used, hope we never have to consider those the norm, but that’s why we prepare. Those lids must be boiled for 10 min to soften the rubber seal. Used one for my canned goat milk. What a hiss as it opened. I’ll be using those again.

      Reply to this comment
    • AJ May 14, 14:54

      Thanks for your comments. The only thing I disagree with is that not everything should be canned at 10 lbs pressure. The pressure levels are determined by altitude, the time is determined by product and jar size. For those who are just stating out, a pressure COOKER is NOT the same as a pressure CANNER! Definitely do not use leftover jars from store bought foods! And definitely get the Ball Blue Book!

      Reply to this comment
      • Lisa May 15, 19:18

        The ball book is good, ask the elders for their ball book. The older ones have recipes and techniques frowned on now. Yes, a canner is not a pressure cooker.
        Now for the store bought jars. They work very well. The lugs (lids) need to be boiled for ten min to soften the seal. I have used them for tomato sauces. also for fruit juices. They do work. Take care when you use them..

        Reply to this comment
  17. Arge January 15, 19:08

    For years I canned jelly the FDA accepted way of cooking the product to the specified temperature, pouring into readied canning jars, wiping rim, adding lids and more than barely finger tight rings (a little more than the water bath and pressure canning tightness), turn then upside down for a couple of minutes to steralize the inside of lid, turn upright and let seal naturally. Now FDA says to water bath can jellies/jams Now I don’t understand this as boiling sugar/water is much hotter than boiling water, but be that as it may. Remember that altitude changes boiling boiling of water for water bath canning, charts are even on the bottom of new jar boxes. and jar size affects canning times, both water bath and pressure canning.

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