If you have never canned, or bottled anything before now is the time to start, and canning meat is a logical place to begin.
Here are my 10 reasons why you should bottle your own meat:
1. You choose Ingredients
You know what comes out of the bottle because you control what goes into it. Most commercially canned meats have added salt or other ingredients. I don’t add salt to my bottles. I let the meat stand on it’s own. In addition, I can trim the heck out of my meat to avoid as many ‘goobers’ as possible. Goobers (for chicken) = fat, tendons, veins etc ICK
2. It’s less expensive
- Swanson Premium canned chicken $3.06 for 9.75oz (.31 per oz)
- Sam’s club canned chicken is $2.00 for 13 oz, (.15 per oz)
- My home canned chicken is $ 1.21 for 13 oz (or $ 1. 49 for 16oz) (.09 per oz)
If you buy in bulk at sale prices you don’t have to deal with wild price fluctuations. You are always paying sale price because you are shopping out of your pantry instead of the store until the next great sale comes along.
3. More convenient
When we need meat for a meal, it’s cooked and ready to add to the recipe. Just heat the rest of the ingredients to where they need to be without worrying about thawing or cooking the meat through.
4. We don’t have to think a day ahead
I don’t know about you, but I can almost never remember to get meat out of the freezer to thaw at the right time for an upcoming meal. ~ Are you kidding me? 5:30 pm comes every day? We just did this yesterday. ~ I just don’t think that far ahead most of the time. Instead, I can send one of my kidlets to the food storage room to bring up some bottled chicken and we are off and running.
5. Power outages
You can probably guess what’s happening to most of the freezers of those affected by the power outages in parts of the country. Yep, you got it, they are thawing out which allows the food to spoil. So… either:
- you have a huge neighborhood barbeque
- you find someone with a smoker to preserve your meat
- you get your solar dehydrator ready for a whole lot of jerky and fast.
We can’t predict power outages so bottling all that meat in the freezer (or a good portion of it) now while we have power to do so, will protect our investment. Then when the power goes out, we can take the ice cream or popsicles from the freezer to that neighborhood barbeque and not all our expensive meats.
6. You have fuel now, use it
Most likely, if you are reading this, you have easy access to fuel (electricity, power) at this moment. That may not always be how it is. Use that fuel to preserve your food while you have access to it and can replenish it. Of course, you could pressure can during a power outage outside on your Camp Chef propane stove, but then you are using up the propane that seems to grow more expensive on a daily basis. (have you noticed that the tanks at the exchange places seem to be getting smaller and smaller?)
7. Long Shelf Life
The metal in cans deteriorate over time and will fail eventually. Glass bottles, while breakable, are chemically inert and will not react with the food items stored in them. A storage life of 10+ years is not unreasonable for bottled meats. As for being breakable, there are lots of easy ways to solve that problem that I’ll address in another post.
8. Size versatility
With a family of 8, most of them adult sized, you can imagine that one pound of meat is usually not enough for the way we cook. Your family size will determine what size bottles you choose to can in. We use quarts mostly for chicken because they hold about 2 lbs, and pints for hamburger. The hamburger meals usually call for less meat so the 1 lb size is just right for that.
9.We can save the environment
Well, I’m not sure canning really saves the environment, but it does reduce the number of chicken cans that would otherwise end up in the landfill. Since you use your bottles over and over and over again, there is no output for container costs other than the canning lids. There is even a reusable canning lid option. I know people who have tried them and love them. They are called Tattler Lids.
Bottles can be found at most grocery or big box stores or online, but I prefer to get mine from thrift stores or at yard sales. Just check the rim for chips or cracks, they won’t seal with these so don’t buy them if the rim is anything but smooth. Even better than that is to get them from a neighbor or friend that isn’t using their jars anymore. Elderly people often have a collection that is gathering dust that they’d love to see go to a good home. Just put out a shout on Facebook and you might get some leads.
9. Personal Satisfaction
There is something to be said for the personal satisfaction of living a more self-reliant life. Knowing that you can provide for your family without depending on a commercial entity for things you use is a very empowering feeling. I dare say that I feel pride for my hard work when I gaze upon my jars of golden (or, brown) goodness lined up on my counter. They usually sit there for a day or two before being stored safely down in the food storage room so that any and all unsuspecting guests can be paraded by to admire them.
And Last, but certainly not least….
10. The Plink
Ahhh, the plink. (said lovingly with a head tilt and soft far-away gaze) The plink is the sound that the canning lids make during the cooling process when the center pops down and the jar seals. It’s opposite of the whoosh you hear when opening a jar, and is the most rewarding sound I can think of…Other than, “Mom, sit down and relax, I’ll do that for you.”, I digress. You can’t help but smile when you hear the plink so stick around when your jars are cooling or you’ll miss the best part.
There you have it, The top 10 reasons why you should learn to can meat.
Coming up very soon – Step-by-step directions on how to bottle your own meat…In the mean time, watch for some deals on meat so you can stock up at a great deal and be ready for the how-to post.