Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Canning Venison (or beef)

If you have ever had canned beef or venison, you know that it is SO good and SO tender. It is amazing served over egg noodles, potatoes, and someone suggested to me today on Facebook to try a shepherd's pie with canned venison. That sounds so good that I just might make that a future post. These directions can be used for venison or beef. If you don't like venison (why not?) you will love how this beef tastes.

Canning venison/beef is extremely easy, that is, IF you are familiar with pressure-canning. If you are not familiar with it, I suggest buying the Ball Blue Book. This is THE authoritative book on home canning, and everything in it can be trusted.

You can use just about any cut of venison or beef for this. I don't use the better, more expensive cuts for this, because it tastes so good that you will THINK that you have a better cut of meat. For example, I am canning some beef (for my non-venison wife) right now and I am using round roasts that I found on sale.

First I recruited the help of my other 'girlfriend', Caly. Caly is a great help and good company. And she LOVES venison!

First you wash and heat your jars and lids properly, and prepare your canner. Cut out any excess fat from the meat. Then cut the meat into about 1-inch cubes.

Add some beef bouillon to the bottom of the jars, about 1 teaspoon to pints and 2 teaspoons added to quarts. Also place a slice of onion or two to the jars. Fill the jar within 1 inch of the rim (1 inch headspace.) I alternated meat and onion so that it has layers and looks nicer.

Now here is the kicker, don't add any liquid to the jars. It will make its own juices when it is processed. Process pints for 75 minutes and quarts for 90 minutes at 10 pounds of pressure. Of course, this needs to be adjusted according to your elevation.

And here is the final product, you will enjoy it! Now, to look up a good shepherd's pie recipe.....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Layered Chicken-Vegetable Soup, Canned

I saw a picture of this online somewhere and I just HAD to make it. Now that I've made it I don't want to open the jars, they are just too pretty!

Here are the ingredients, but there is a lot of room for variations among the vegetables. Amounts are approximate for a one-quart jar:

1 cup cubed potatoes (peeled, raw)
1 cup sliced/cubed carrot
2/3 cup corn
2/3 cup green beans
1/2 cup cooked chicken meat (reserve the broth)
1 Tablespoon (or more if you like) Onion
2 Tablespoons chopped fresh Roma tomatoes
1/2 Chicken bullion Cube

Cook the chicken in seasoned, simmering water for about 20 minutes. Remove bones and excess fat, and cut into chunks.

I used baby carrots which made it easier to chop into a consistent size.

The corn and green beans were frozen. I wouldn't suggest using already-canned green beans or corn because they are going to cook AGAIN for a long time.

The potatoes were cut to about 3/4 inch cubes.

Layer each of these ingredients into a one-quart canning jar. Alternate darker and lighter colors for a good look to your layers. I arranged mine in this order; potato, carrot, green bean, chicken, corn, tomato, onion.

Cover with the broth that you made when you cooked the chicken meat, leaving 1 inch of headspace. PRESSURE CAN at 11 lbs for 90 minutes, allowing for your local elevation.

Something I did was I made extra chicken and broth. I saved the extra chicken for another meal, but then I canned the extra broth. First I allowed it to cool, then skimmed off the fat on top. Then I strained it thru a fine strainer. Muslin might be a good strainer for this, also. For the broth it was also processed for 90 minutes at 11 lbs of pressure. Now I have quart jars of chicken broth all ready for whatever I want to use it in.