You can safely and easily can your own meat – just follow these simple steps to do it right.

How to can meat – by Repair Mama

how to can meat

Image courtesy stock.xchng user turbidity

Home canning meats can be economical and rewarding. When you home can a portion of the meats in your freezer, you are making part of your storage shelf stable. Should something happen to the power, or if the freezer should fail mechanically, you will not be stuck with a freezer full of thawing meats that you could lose.

Canning meats can also enable you to purchase meats while on sale, or storing your fresh hunting results thus saving loads of money and ensuring that you have a stockpile of good non freeze-dried , nonfrozen protein that you will want to eat. Home canned meats make it possible to prepare many meals that taste like you were in the kitchen all day slow cooking a wonderful meal for your family.

I will prepare a list of recipes that use home canned meats with in another post for you to add to your binder as you please. I can only hope that you enjoy canning and cooking with canned products as much as I do.

It gives me much-needed security knowing that I am helping provide for my family in normal times while saving money and will feed my family should something go wrong and the stores no longer are there to provide for our nutritional needs.

It gives me many choices of what to cook and does not need more than a nice dark cool room to be stored in till we want to use it. It also gives me more security in knowing what is in the jar and who handled it before we use it in a meal. No artificial colors, flavors,added fats and preservatives that we try to reduce in our diets.

So many of the commercially canned products have additional ingredients that we would love to avoid, but in the necessity of food storage, can not always be avoided.

O.K. enough of the reasons why. Here is what you need to get started:

The only major purchase up front is a pressure canner. Prices of canners can vary based on name brand, size and features. There are weighted pressure canners and the pressure gauge type. There are also one that take a rubber gasket and ones that have a smooth milled edge that does not require a gasket.

The canner that you purchase is your choice. You can utilize the internet for information in making your choice. Just remember, what ever you choose, it will not be wasted money! You can even purchase an inexpensive canner and then later choose to purchase a 2nd one that is better a little down the road.

Meats cannot be safely canned any other way. Meat is a low acid food and needs the increased temperature (higher than 180 degrees at boiling) to make it safe to eat. Some of the older generations did can meats without a pressure canner.

That is just the way it was done. It may have worked then, but each jar that was opened and used was a risk of food borne illnesses and poisonings. Some poisonings could be fatal if you consumed meats that contained bacterial growth and/or botulism.

Much has been tested and published on the subject of home canning meats safely and the procedures should be followed to a“T”. These procedures have been tested and have shown time after time to produce a safe product. It is advised that you purchase a good canning guide to follow.

Here are some basics of using a pressure canner:

  • Inspect the gasket for nicks and cracks. If it won’t seal, you will not be able to process your food at safe temperatures.
  • Your jars do not need to be completely covered with water for the processing to work like in a water bath canner.
  • Jars do have to be clean, but with pressure canning, you do not have to sterilize your jars unless you want to. The increased temperature in the canner will take care of that for you.
  • Always use the rack in the bottom of the canner. It is necessary to have in place for proper water circulation and to keep the jars off of the bottom
  • Always inspect your jars for nicks and cracks. These things can cause the jar to break during processing or keep a jar from sealing.
  • When loading the canner, make sure the jars are not touching. This will reduce the chance of jar breakage while processing.
  • Never try to cool the canner faster. It could blow up! Let it cool with the weight in place. Do not remove the weight until the canner has cooled enough to release the pressure. Then you can remove the weight.
  • Keep all small children from the stove during canning. Severe burns could result.
  • Read the instruction manual with your canner for all information that is particular to the brand and type of canner you have.

Other needed items:

  • Jar lifter- looks like a funny set of tongs. It may have rubber coating on the end that comes in contact with the jars and rubber handles on the other end for your hands.
  • Lid lifter- this is a plastic rod that contains a magnet on the end to lift the canning lids from a pot of hot water without burning your fingers.
  • Canning funnel. (This makes the process easier, but not really necessary.
  • Small rubber spatula
  • Colander
  • Wide mouth canning jars.(size of your choice for what you are canning) The wide mouth makes it easier to load the jar and makes it easier to remove the food when you choose to use it.
  • Wide mouth canning bands and lids.
  • Canning salt (table salt can be used, but the product will result in cloudy liquid because of additives that prevent caking)
  • Pot holders or mitts
  • A couple of clean kitchen towels
  • Cutting board
  • Good sharp butcher knife and another knife of your choice.

Now that you have your equipment together, turn on some good music and get out the meats that you want to can.

We will start with boneless meat – chicken, beef, or pork.

The method I will walk you through is called “RawPack” This process is for the meat in chunks and not ground meats. Ground meats have a method of their own.

Wash your jars, lids, bands, and other equipment that will be touching your food. Get the cutting board out and choose the boneless meat that you will be canning. This meat should be thawed or only a little frozen. Cut away all bones, fat, and gristle.

Only place the meat in the jar that you are willing to put in your mouth. Too much fat can ooze from the jar during processing and coat the rim of the jar and cause the jar to not seal.Cut the remaining meat into chunks. I can most of my meats in large chunks.Pay attention to the run of the grain in the meats and cut against the grain. This will make the strings of the meat smaller and easier to use.

Place the meat chunks in the clean jars. Pack the meats down getting as much in the jar as possible leaving 1” of head space or to the bottom of the threads on the jar. Use the handle of the rubber spatula and run it down the inside of the jar and push the meats down at the same time. This helps release air bubbles. Depending on the capacity of your canner, pack the amount of jars that your canner will hold.

Put canner on the stove and add water to the bottom of the canner as stated in the instructions of your canner. My canner takes3” of water to the bottom of it before adding the jars to the canner. (I put a small“Glop” of vinegar to the canner to keep the jars from taking on a haze of minerals that are in the water) Turn on the burner and heat the water,but not to boiling yet.

Make sure that the circular metal plate is in place in the bottom of the canner. This lets the water circulate around the jars and keeps them off of the bottom of the canner.

Add canning salt to the jars (1/2 tsp for pints and 1 tsp for quarts) just on top of the raw meat. You do not need to add water or broth to raw packed meat. As the processing takes place, the meat will make its own juice.

Wipe the rims of each jar with a paper towel to remove any residue. Anything left on the rim will can cause the jar not to seal. Place lid and band to each jar and only tighten finger tight. Place the jars into the canner and place the lid in place and lock. Do not add the weight to the canner yet.

You will need to know the altitude at the location that you are doing the canning. This will determine the pressure that you will need to set the canner. Up to 1000 ft you will use 10lbs of pressure and above 1000 ft you will need to use 15lbs of pressure.

The size of the jar will determine the length of time that you will process your meats.

A pint-sized jar will need 75 minutes of processing time and a quart will need 90 minutes of processing time.

Bring the canner to boiling. Let the steam vent from the canner for a full ten minutes. This will purge the air from the canner. Once the 10 minute mark has been met, place the weight on the canner (using the proper side of the weight for the pressure needed)

You will see numbers around the weight as 5, 10,and 15. Use the one appropriate to the elevation where you are doing your canning. My elevation at home is right at 1000 ft so I use 15 lbs of pressure. You have to wait for the weight to bob or “Jiggle”. You are looking for a few jiggles a minute. Once you have reached the“Jiggles”, you can set the timer for the appropriate length of time for the size of jars that you have used.

Stay near the canner and watch it. If the pressure drops or the weight stops jiggling, you will have to bring it back to pressure and start the time over. Usually you can adjust the temperature of the burner a little lower after the canner comes to pressure.

Once the processing time is done, turn off the burner and let the canner cool on its own naturally. DO NOT TRY TO HURRY THE COOLING PROCESS!! Do not try to pour water on the canner to cool it faster. Do not lift the weight and blow off the steam. This could result in the jars boiling over and ruining their ability to seal. This could also result in injury!

Let the canner rest and cool until the weight no longer has pressure on it. I usually bump the weight to see if it is still under pressure. Or you can press on the blow out plug to see if it still pushed upward. Once the canner is cool enough to have released its pressure, you can remove the weight.

Wait another 2-3 minutes (or until the handle release will let you open the lid) to try to open the canner. Be very careful! The contents are still very hot. Open the lid away from you using pot holders or mitts to prevent steam burns.

Place a towel on the counter in a place out of the way of air conditioning vents and drafts. This is where you will place the finished jars. Using the jar lifter, carefully lift the jars and very gently, place the jars on the towel leaving some space between them. Let them sit and cool for at least 12-16 hours.

Resist the urge to push on the tops of the lids or adjusting the bands at this time. You will be able to hear the “Pings” as the jars cool on the towel. This is the sound of triumph! That jar has sealed!

But don’t mess with them at all till they are completely cool.

Now you can look at the meats in the jar. It has produced some juice (will not be liquid to the top, but at least ½ way. The meat will have shrunk a little, and float a bit in the juice. These meats are now completely cooked and when you use them, all you have to do is open the jar and put contents into pot and heat up.

Once the jars are completely cool, I have found that they seem to have a little bit of a greasy residue on the outside. Now is the time to run your finger along the top of the lid and feel if it has sealed. If it makes a popping sound when you push down, it did not seal.

If the lid is slightly concave or sucked downward, you have a seal. I remove the band at this time and wash the jars and bands with soapy water, dry and replace the band. You do not have to replace the band, but I do this by choice. Now you are ready to label your jars with the contents and date canned.

If you find a jar that did not seal, you can reprocess it, or simply place in refrigerator and use in a day or two. I prefer not to reprocess the jar because it would be like overcooking the contents. We just eat it.

Most of the literature I have found online states that home canned meats are good for a period of 1 year if properly stored. I have also seen posts and blogs stating that the meats are good for 2-3 years before the taste and quality starts to degrade.

Based on the information that I had found, I have decided to try to use each one before the period of 1 year is over, but would not be afraid to eat it if it were over 1-year-old. You can do your own research on this topic and make the time choice for yourself.

Use of Home Canned Meats

It is recommended that you do not eat the meat out of the jar cold. It should be cooked or boiled for 10-15 minutes before consumption. Cooking or using in a dish will suffice for the 10-15 minute cooking time.

Now you have produced some wonderful sources of protein for your family that will only require being stored in a cool, dark,dry place. Place it on the shelf and know that it will be there until you want to use it. I love to look at my pantry after a canning session.

I see rows of beautiful,simple, healthy food for my family. I know that if the power fails, freezer fails, or the prices of meat should skyrocket, that this is already purchased, stored, and no longer requires electricity to be usable. It will not spoil or thaw and go bad. A product made with my own hands. I know that it was handled cleanly, at the proper temperatures, and I also know exactly what is init because I put it there.

All that is left now for this segment is to cleanup the kitchen, make a cup of coffee, and relax. You have done a great job! Added a new skill to your preps! Now you have the first step in beating the rising prices of meat and can purchase while the ranchers are selling off their herds due to drought and the rising cost of feed for the animals.

Meats prices will skyrocket this winter and into next year once these initial animals are gone. You now know how to put up venison during hunting season and not having to worry about losing all of your care, time and hard work due to a power failure or breakdown of a freezer. This will also allow you to store more than your freezer will hold.

I hope this post was informative enough to walk you through the process. I hope and pray you find the results of canning meats as a good one. I pray that this helps you save money and provide quality food for your family no matter what may come. We are all in this together and we need to share our experiences and skills with one another so we can pull through whatever comes our way.

Your friendship and camaraderie means so much to me and is what keeps me going on days that I feel down or pressured. I want to thank everyone for everything and hope that God blesses everyone in your lives, families, work, and preps.

Happy canning and happy prepping! Repair Mama

About M.D. Creekmore

M.D. Creekmore is the owner and editor of He is the author of four prepper related books and is regarded as one of the nations top survival and emergency preparedness experts. Read more about him here.


  1. Nicely done article. It gives some of us courage when it comes to pressure canning! Thanks!

  2. Very Nice post, hope it will get a few of the folks on the fence about cannning their own meat to give it a try.

    • Repair Mama says:

      I hope so. Grocery prices are going through the roof and I just want to save some money along with building preps. I love canning and I want to share the fun and practicality with my friends!

  3. Repair Mama,

    This is such a helpful article. I wish I had read it before I started canning meat–it would have made things a lot easier.

  4. Well this has been very informative for me.
    I have not pressure canned a thing. And I have needed those little tid-bits that you have put in this article.
    I hope you go further with this, more on ground meat especially.
    I must say this is truly a walk through lesson, Thank You.
    Going to print this puppy out for sure.

    • Repair Mama says:

      I will work on the process for canning ground meats as soon as the 3rd qtr tax forms are done and I collect enough money to make the bills this month.

  5. Repair Mama, thank you so much for this detailed instruction post. I have read many things on line and canned my first meat a couple of weeks ago: ham that I can use in beans. Still, I had several minor questions: the greasy feeling on the outside of the jar; and the juice that only came half-way up the jar. You were so thorough that you answered what I wanted to know. I appreciate your great contribution.

    • i was wondering about the greasy feeling on the outside of the jar also.

      • Repair Mama says:

        During the canning process, the jar lids will seep a little and that juice goes into the canning water making the jars a little gross. I have to wash them when I am done and this happens in every batch that I can.

  6. Last year I started canning.I was very new to it ,when my fridge gave out.I was looking at losing a freezer full of meat.I followed the instructions in the Ball book.It was easy and the meat turned out great.This year I’m canning more meat than freezing.My husband also enjoys the canned meat.

  7. Repair Mama, Thanks. I’m going to do this. My wife won’t eat canned meat except tuna because of the smell and slime. I will make our own canned meats. Can you home can broth and stock?

    • KansasProud says:

      Caimhin – You can home can broth and stock. It is very good . And really nice to have on hand

    • Caoimhin,

      The Ball Blue Book has directions on canning broth and stock.

    • Repair Mama says:

      Yes you can! You will have a different processing time depending on what is in the jar. Research will tell you what you can process and the time and pressure required to do it safely.

  8. templar knight says:

    Fantastic article. I printed it off and put it in my survival binder. I love these kinds of articles that offer how-to information from some of the most talented people in the world(the Wolfpack). Again, thank you, Repair Mama. I have a feeling this article will be in the running for one of the prizes.

  9. SrvivlSally says:

    Repair Mama, an excellent and thorough article. You did not miss anything. And, I loved reading it. My mother has canned for more than fourty years and she taught me that as long as the seals on the lids have not gone bad it is probably alright to eat the foods. She and her mother grew up in days when people kept what they had canned for years and ate it when times got tough. They were probably taking their chances but then again, times have been and are, constantly, changing. One minute, the supposed “experts” tell us one thing and the next, just the opposite. Personally, I am afraid to eat home-canned meats because of the threat of the Botulinum toxin and other bacterias and will never change my thoughts about it. Pressure canning is for a lot of foods and I will take your teaching with me because I do not have to use it only for meats and I know that you are doing things right. Thanks, Repair Mama.

    • SrvivlSally,

      Repair Mama did an excellent job of describing the process thoroughly and safely. She correctly instructs you to cook the product for 10-15 minutes before eating – which is very important.

      Botulism (even the word is scary) SPORES are all around us, in the air and in the land. Botulism spores are not dangerous in themselves, but only in a damp, low acid, anerobic (no or very little oxygen) environment (like inside your canning jars) where they thrive and grow. When they grow, they produce botulism TOXIN which is deadly in even very tiny amounts. Pressure canning of low acid foods kills the spores. No live spores, no toxin, and if you follow Repair Mama’s instructions, you should have no live spores in your canned foods.

      However, the good news is, even if a spore or two survived the process (INCREDIBLY UNLIKELY) the toxin is easily killed by bringing your food to a boil and boiling for 10-15 minutes as Repair Mama tells you to do. Be very sure that anything thick is heated all the way through – stir it while heating and boiling,

      DO NOT take this as permission to heat up canned products that have bulging lids or other signs of spoilage.

      • Michele, I respectfully disagree that heating or boiling kills botulinum toxins. The toxins are non-living “chemicals” which the botulinum organism produces for defensive purposes and are heat-stable. It is true that boiling kills the organism which produces the toxins, but once the toxins are present in the food item there is no recourse but to throw out the food. DO NOT boil and eat a food item if it has an off smell or is suspected of being contaminated with botulinum toxins!

        • Merkey,

          What you say makes sense. We use a pressure canner to can meat because the pressure canner gets the temperature up to 240 degrees, significantly hotter than you can get with the water bath method. If boiling were sufficient to kill toxins, then we would not need a pressure canner; a water bath canner would suffice. Does this not stand to reason?

        • Repair Mama says:

          My moto: When in doubt, toss it out!
          Better safe than dead! or sick! hah lol

  10. Not so Much says:

    Canning meats is something I’ve only thought about even though I have a great pressure canner (no rubber seals). You’ve motivated me to give it a try. Thanks for a great article that I too will print & keep.

    • Repair Mama says:

      Definately try! it is easy and very satisfying! (not to mention filling) I was afraid the first time I tried too. But with practice and expirence, you will be a pro in no time!!!
      Good luck and let us know how it turns out!!

  11. Bob in IA says:

    I have been canning meat for several years. Great article. I am looking forward to the recipes. I can always use a new way to use my canned meat. I have ham, pork, chicken, turkey, venison, beef stew meat and lots of ground beef.

    • Bob,

      How does canned hamburger turn out? I haven’t canned any because I’ve read that it comes out mushy. I would be interested to hear how yours turns out.

      • Schatzie Ohio says:

        Hamburger – mushy? – no, I would say it is on the soft side. I brown the hamburger and drain it in a colander before I can it. I can it with beef broth in pint jars (usually about one pound of hamburger to a pint jar). When I go to use it I put it in a fry pan and cook off the liquid. That helps in taking care of the softness.

      • Canned anything does not come out like fresh. That’s just a fact of life. It’s not fresh, it’s ultra-cooked. Given that, canned ground meat is much “softer” than fresh. Just drain off the broth or juice, and fry it a bit in a skillet. The taste is very good. Use it in tacos, spaghetti sauce, etc. No, it doesn’t make a great hamburger, but it makes a perfect sloppy joe.

      • Schazie Ohio and Barb,

        Thanks for the information. I was all set to pressure can hamburger in beef broth and then I read that it turned out mushy. I think I will can the hamburger after all. I am looking to use the canned hamburger in Shepard’s pie and sloppy joes. So the soft texture shouldn’t be a problem.

        As Repair Mama pointed out, you can find really great sales on meat right now because ranchers have been selling off their herds–feed prices are just too high. Come January, I think we are going to start seeing significantly higher prices for meat. So anything canned now will be money saved later on.

        • KansasProud says:

          Gayle, I really like the seasoned hamburger recipe in the Ball Book. It is very good. And it’s not mushy.

          • KansasProud,

            Thanks for the feedback. I don’t know how much longer we will see hamburger for less than $2 lb. So I think canning is the way to go.

        • Repair Mama says:

          I have a small stock of canned taco meat, ready to heat up and make dinner with.. I love to cann it in smaller jars for a quick lunch at work too. Just get a few tortillas and a trip in the microwave—yollllaaaaa! lunch!
          Then I add some shredded cheese!

          • Repair Mama,

            How do you prepare the taco meat for canning? Do you cook the meat, spice it and then add beef broth? (It’s the adding beef broth that I am uncertain about.)

            • Repair Mama says:

              I just prepare it like I would for dinner, but I did not add beef broth or water. I guess I better check and see if I am doing it right. I have eaten a lot of it this way and tastes good. I do leave some of the taco grease and juice in the meat. I will do some more research on this one to make sure I am not gonna get anyone sick on the taco meat though.

  12. GT urban prepper says:

    Very cool article. Helpful knowledge to be sure. Thanks.

  13. Shootingblanks says:

    Great article! I have been wanting to get into canning but thought it would cost an arm and a leg in time and money, but from looking at the prices of canners and the instructions from from the article, I will definately be getting into it sooner rather than later.

    • Repair Mama says:

      The price on the jars and canner is a one time expense. The jars are reuseable, and the food will not thaw and spoil in power down or freezer down situation. it is also nice to cook dinner at night and not have to thaw it out first. No freezer burned food to throw away and the dinner planning is a snap. Dont have to lay anything out the evening before to thaw.

      Money savings in food will make the canner and jars pay for them selves. Not only in time, but the amount of food you will not be throwing away as well as canning your sale finds. I buy bulk when the price is great, and dont buy at all when the price sucks!

  14. I have been canning meats for days, and was tickled to see this article. Chicken breasts, bone in, w/skin has been on sale 50% off at our store this week…1.25 a lb!!! I’ve gone everyday to buy about 20 lbs and have been canning like crazy. I love it! I debone the chicken, cut into chunks and can. I then boil the bones, cool, and strip the meat throw it back in the water, add lipton onion soup, then I can that. I love to use that for pinto beans, etc. Meat close to date was also on sale, the seasoned pork loins that run 9.99 I picked up 1/2 price! Link sausage and whole pork lions as well were close to date and on sale. I hardly ever buy anything full price:-)) Great article and spot on.

    • Bobbi,
      Do you can the chicken skinless or with the skin? I’ve found that sometimes canning with the skin makes the end product a bit greasy.

      • Repair Mama says:

        When I make broth or chicken soup from the bone in skin on chicken, I first do the cooking, and put the pot in the fridge to cool. The grease will form on the top of the broth and harden a little. I can then skim off the excess that I dont want and then my product is no longer greasy! I hope this helps! Good luck!

        • Repair Moma,

          This is similar to what I do. I will boil the chicken parts for 20 minutes, take the chicken out and let the broth cool. Then I will put it in the frig overnight. In the morning, I skim off the fat. And then make my soup.

          The single best investment (besides my All American) has been a salad shooter. I can peel and cut 10 lbs. of carrots in less than 10 minutes.

    • Repair Mama says:

      Can you post the instructions on link sausages? I wanted to do hotdogs, but all of the extension offices canning sights have said not to try to can hotdogs. I am not exactly sure why, but have seen some youtube vids of people doing this. I dont know if it is safe either. I would love to put up some link sausages, or smoked sausages for SHTF. Any info would be appreciated so much. It would give us more variety of meats to cook with.
      I will continue some research too.
      Thanks a milllion!!

  15. You make it sound so easy. Guess it is time for me to give it a try. Thank you for your article.

  16. Mary Jane says:

    Great article! It answered a lot of questions for me. Thank you!
    I have not done any pressure canning myself (it seems very intimidating) but I would like to get started as this is a very useful skill to have. I have been researching pressure canners and unfortunately the one I like best is not recommended for use on glass cooktops (which I happen to own). Once I find my way around that (by purchasing a separate single burner may be?) I am looking forward to putting your excellent advise in this article to the test!

    • Hi Mary Jane,
      Although it is not recommended that you pressure can on a glass stove top, I have been using mine for 2 years now with no problems whatsoever. I am careful when I move the canner off of the hot burner to lift it a little so I don’t scratch the stove top. I also do not double stack when I am canning. The most weight that I put in it is 7 quarts or 8 pints.

      Repair Mama did an excellent job of explaining the canning procedure. For chicken or turkey. I add water up to 1 inch of the lid. This gives me some chicken broth to heat up the chicken before I add more water for chicken noodles or chicken rice.

      A jar or can of beans or corn and a quick batch of dehydrated potatoes, cooked up while you are mixing a pint jar of chicken or turkey with a box of Stove Top stuffing, can make a really good meal in less than 15 minutes. It’s almost like instant Thanksgiving.

      • Vienna (Soggy prepper) says:

        I have a ceramic top stove also. It’s pretty, but I hate it. My DH bought an outside 2 burner propane unit a few years ago so I could can. I’ve only done fruits and veges tho.
        The ceramic top doesn’t hold temp because it shuts down the heat if it gets too hot. Alternating heat = bad for canning.

        I actually put off reading this article. But now that I have I have to say I will be trying to can some meat within the next couple weeks. Thanks Repair Mama! You made it sound really simple and safe actually.
        Think I’ll start with chicken chunks, then maybe pork loin chunks. If you can beef do you use a roast and just chunk that up?
        Anyway, thanks for being a “canned meat inspiration”!

      • Nancy,
        “instant Thanksgiving”~ I LOVE that!!

  17. *slaps forehead* this was a reminder I was suppose to take my canner to the Extension Office today to have it tested! Repair Mama, as a newbie to canning this was a very informative article! You and Farmgal have been a huge source of information for me this year.

  18. Candy in Nebraska says:

    I wish you had done this article last fall. It would have been a very big help to me. I had just started canning my own meats back in Novenber and to be honest it scared the hell out of me. Your article was very well written and I enjoyed it.

    • Repair Mama says:

      It scared me at first too! I did not see a lot of “Canning as a child” because I was raised in the city by my father and we just went to the store like all of the other cattle. We did not have a garden, or hunt anything! I moved to the country and wanted to learn these things because the skills were being lost to the younger generations that did not see the need to use. I have found that through learning the process, that I have another avenue of providing for my family. The money and time that it saves me has been a God send, and we can use the extra money to pay on bills, make needed repairs to the house or one of the trucks, or to use on other preps.
      I do hope you are not still scared to can meats. I find it easier than blanching and canning veggies! Good luck and happy canning!

  19. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Repair Mama, very excellent article. I’m going to print it out and put it in my binder because some day I might actually give it a try. Your step-by-step instructions and the advisory that the jars will feel “greasy” afterwards are the finer points that often get overlooked in books. Thanks for providing that personal touch.

    • Repair Mama says:

      When you are ready to try canning, I will e-mail you my phone number and walk you through the process if you want me to. I have unlimited long distance and not afraid to use it! lol

  20. Never have tried to can my own meats. Will have to give it a shot with such a detailed explanation. Thanks.

  21. Keep in mind that you use essentially the same steps to can non-acidic vegetables like corn, green beans, etc. The Blue Book pretty much tells you how to do this step by step, so along with this article I don’t see why anyone should be afraid of pressure canning anymore. Once you finally try it, you’ll wonder why you waited so long.

  22. Fix up a huge pot of home made chile. Feed the family, and pop the leftovers into jars. Put them to process while you wash up the dinner dishes. It’s that easy. A lot of good winter dinner dishes like soups and stews are excellent for this.

    Just don’t add rice or noodles before canning. The long processing over cooks these. Can the soup, and add noodles or rice when it’s time to heat it up. How easy to have a quick meal without any fuss.

    • The week before last I put up 75 quarts of soup–Cajun beef soup, ham and bean soup and chicken soup. And I’ve only had a pressure canner for about a month.

      Midge is right to point out you cannot add noodles or rice to soups that you intend on pressure canning. Also, you cannot add dairy or thickeners.

      One thing I learned from experience is not to cook the beans all the way. Soak over night. Drain. Rinse. Cook about 65 percent and then add to the soup to pressure can. (My ham and bean soup tastes great but the beans are a bit mushy.)

      • Oh, I meant to add that when you need a quick dinner you can cook some rice in one pan and heat the soup in another, and then add the rice to the soup before serving.

        This is an easy way to add dinners to your pantry.

      • Repair Mama says:

        WOW! you rock!! 75 quarts!! That is an impressive haul!
        Did you even sleep??

        • Yes, but I was getting grumpy toward the end. I looked at your cost analysis. I don’t know that I would include the cost of the jars in the cost of the soup since you can reuse the jars. That would lower the actual cost of the soup per quart.

          I might make some more ham and bean soup this weekend. We really like that soup. I will make up a cup of rice and then just dump in the quart of soup and presto a hot, nutritious dinner.

          I really liked your article. I think this would be extremely helpful for new canners.

          • Repair Mama says:

            Good point Gayle.
            New analysis with out jars.

            Cost of ingrediants Total Cost no tax Cost Per Quart

            5 cans tom juice $1.29 x 5 $6.45
            3 large onions $1.79 for 3lbs $1.50
            2 lbs carrots $1.50 pk $1.50
            1 pk celery $1.19 pk $1.19
            8 bullions cubes $1.69 jar $0.70
            6 diced tomatoes $.69 ea $4.14
            4 cans green beans $.59 ea $2.36
            3 cans corn $.59 ea $1.77
            3 cans peas $0.59 ea $0.59
            potatoes $11.99 50 lbs $2.40
            Beef 6lbs $9.54 for 6lbs onsale $9.54

            Total cost per Qt $2.01 per qt
            Total cost for 3 pots $32.14
            make 16 qts yeild
            It only changed it $.74 per quart. Still cheap as hell!! Good stuff too!
            Thanks again

            • Not that I am nit-picking (okay, I am very anal), but you couldn’t have put 50 lbs. of potatoes into 16 quart sized jars. If I am doing 21 quarts, I buy 10 lbs. of potatoes.

              (I am asking because I would like to know the cost per jar–primarily so I can tell the dh how much we are saving.)

    • Repair Mama says:

      I love to do this too. I make tomato veggie beef soup this weekend for dinner and made 3 large pots. I had dinner ready and canned 14 quarts for future use. I just did not cook the others as long as the pot used for dinner. I ate the soup while listening to the canner make it’s magic noises. Next weekend will be chili. It has turned off colder and chili is just what will be for dinner!! 3 pots, 1 dinner and about 14 more quarts for the pantry! I love it!

    • Josh,

      If you get a pressure canner, you can can chili and soups easily. The main rules are no dairy, no thickeners, no rice and no noodles. Just make your chili. Since you are a single, fill up clean pint jars, boil the lids, put on jars, put on screw rings and process in a pressure canner for 75 minutes.

      Get a copy of the Ball Blue Book. You can pick up the older edition for $7.99.

  23. Lint Picker (Northern California) says:

    Josh, I believe the purpose of boiling the food from the jars is necessary to eliminate any chance of botulism. IOW, it’s a safety measure. There should be no problem with making chicken salad afterwards, just give the chicken plenty of time to cool off. So yes, chicken salad will require a bit of pre-planning.

    • Repair Mama says:

      I think I have found a reciept for home made mayo to go in the chicken salad if we need it after commercial mayo is no longer avail. I will test it and if it is good, I will post it.
      Take care
      Happy prepping

  24. mountain lady says:

    I have not tried canning meat, and I had a few questions that have now been answered. Thank you. Great article, very well thought out.

  25. Josh,

    You need a pressure canner to can meats and other low acid foods. A pressure canner is capable of much higher temperatures than simply boiling. And the higher temperatures are needed to kill off bacteria. The acidity of high acid foods suppresses the growth of harmful bacterial. Without the acid, the spores must be killed.

    I am not entirely sure this addressed your question. Getting water to boil at 180 degrees is not the issue. You need to process meats and other low acid foods at 240 degrees and that can’t be done by boiling. You need a pressure canner.

    • Kate in GA says:


      Let me add here that the purpose of boiling before serving is because some bacteria can not be smelled or seen at room temperature. Heat the meat to boiling and it can smell bad if it was compromised during storage. (I got this information from a BYU Extension Service representative.)

  26. Very timely post for me. Thanks! I’m getting a canner at the end of this month. Great post.

  27. MaryB in GA says:

    Thanks for such thorough instructions. I canned some beef stew meat about 3 weeks ago. It was the first time I had ever used my pressure canner and I was a real nervous Nellie! Everything went great. I had always canned only those things that could be done in a water bath canner. My pressure canner had sat on a shelf for almost a year before I got up the nerve to use it. Wish I had read this first! I will definitely be canning a lot more meat. One mistake I made was that I didn’t pack the meat in more (fear again, I guess) so I ended up with half full jars. Next time I’ll pack it down, still leaving the headroom, of course.
    Thanks again!

  28. Whoa! Great article!
    I think most families overuse the freezer and we’re part of that crowd.
    Canning of our garden and livestock has been on my mind but not with my track record, so the freezer is used.
    I have a pressure cooker and tried using it for green beans and am not sure they processed correctly. Meat was out of the question!
    I feel that by following the info in your article a new effort is in the offing.
    Thank you

    • Repair Mama says:

      Dont be afraid to give it a try. You can do the first batch with something cheap like a pork roast. We can get those here right now for about 1.29 per lb and is a good starter to try. Makes good pulled pork bbq sandwiches on thick slices of home made bread or rolls split in half. People will think that you have cooked all day!!

  29. Excellent article, Repair Mama. I was a Master Food Preserver, so I can actually speak somewhat authoritatively. You did a wonderful job of describing the process step by step, and readers who have never canned before can feel really comfortable following your directions exactly, and know that they and their families will be safe eating the product after bringing it to a boil for an additional 15 minutes – as you described. Absolutely wonderful article!

    • Repair Mama says:

      Thanks! I am servsafe certified in a past life “pre business owner” so food handling is a big thing for me! I hate to even think about food poisoning because you have cross contaminated something, or not held the food safely and at the proper temeratures. So many people do not give enough thought to what they are doing in the kitchen and then something happens and someone gets sick! I love my family and I am very careful in the store and in the kitchen! I Just Cant Help It! But thanks again! It is good to hear it from a “PRO” We can use all of the help we can get!!

  30. Southern Blonde says:

    Thanks for the great article! I have never canned anything, but following your directions gives me the courage! I am definitely going to print this article and keep on hand. Thanks Repair Mama

  31. What would be a good brand name & model for someone just beginning home canning for meat?

    What would be a good price?
    I would have maybe $100. less would be better but want quality and long life over cost. might just have to wait until can raise money.

    Would be using a propane type stove or maybe a wood stove top in winter.

    Also – any brand / model to stay away from?

    thanks – good article

    • Repair Mama says:

      I was given a Mirro and I dont know the modle number right off, but it will hold 7 quarts or 9 pints at one time. It does have a rubber gasket and blow plug. I am saving for an all american though. I dont know of any to stay away from. You could check product reviews online for the many on the market to answer this question. I do have another one that was given to me by a customer that belonged to his wife. it has wooden handles and a guage. it is in wonder ful shape and does take a gasket. I have to take it and have it checked. I will get a new gasket and give it a try after having it checked. I figure the thing is at least 50-60 years old. I think it is a national and it is a little bigger than the one I am using now. It is made very thick and heavy! Looks like quality to me!

  32. great article repair mama – We have yet to get into canning but have been thinking about it for a little while now. You make it sound so easy! I just need to do some research and get the equipment.

  33. James Nelson says:

    One additional tip is to wipe the jar rims with a towel (paper or otherwise) soaked in vinegar just in case you got some meat fat on it when loading the jar. The vinegar will remove it and the jars will seal better.
    I have been canning meat and soups and stews and etc for close to 40 years. Meat will keep for years when canned. It is safe to eat as long as the seal is intact. I have eaten home canned meat 10 years after canning with little noticeable degradation in taste or texture. Just keep it in a dark place as light is not your friend for long term storage
    Here is a site that has some real interesting data on long term commercially canned food storage. It is truly eye opening.

    • MaryB in GA says:

      Grandpappy is legendary. I think his One Hour Meltdown theory is the most circulated survival/prepper link ever. I read that someplace. It is thought provoking for sure.

  34. Josh,

    The old one is probably an All American and is the top of the line canner. Get it and use it. That’s a total score.

  35. James Nelson says:

    I have a 40 year old All American and it is still going strong. All parts are still available and the company is still in business. If you buy one of these, you are buying quality and it does not require any rubber seals.

  36. Repair Mama says:

    O.k. So I messed that one up!! I think boiling was suppose to be like 220 degrees. I did this article very late one night and God only knows where the 180 degs came from!!! Thanks for the catch!
    Take care and happy prepping!!

  37. Repair Mama says:

    Over last weekend I make tomato veggie beef soup for dinner, but instead of just dinner, I make 3 large pots of soup. I canned 14 qts of soup and had enough for dinner as well. I did a spread sheet for ingrediants and cost. I wanted to see what the cost per quart would come out to be. After the results:

    Cost of ingrediants Total Cost no tax Cost Per Quart

    5 cans tom juice $1.29 x 5 $6.45
    3 large onions $1.79 for 3lbs $1.50
    2 lbs carrots $1.50 pk $1.50
    1 pk celery $1.19 pk $1.19
    8 bullions cubes $1.69 jar $0.70
    6 diced tomatoes $.69 ea $4.14
    4 cans green beans $.59 ea $2.36
    3 cans corn $.59 ea $1.77
    3 cans peas $0.59 ea $0.59
    potatoes $11.99 50 lbs $2.40
    Reg Qt Jars $9.00 for 12 $12.00
    Beef 6lbs $9.54 for 6lbs onsale $9.54

    Total cost per Qt $2.75 per qt
    Total cost for 3 pots $44.14
    make 16 qts yeild

    I cant buy my soup for $2.75 per quart anywhere. It is lower soduim, no pasta (added pasta, beans, or rice will bulk it up at serving time for little cost), I know what is in it, the jars are reusable at no additional cost except for new lids making the next patch cheaper, and I know that my family will eat it.
    I like the ability to purchase while onsale and save money this way. It will not go bad in the freezer, is a complete meal, ready to eat with just being heated up, and will keep on a storage shelf till I am ready to use it. The family can fix this if I am not home, or if I am sick and dont feel like cooking.

  38. Repair Mama says:

    Home-made Chicken Noodle Soup

    2 chicken breast bone in with skin
    (Or 1 pint of canned chicken breast. You will need to add a quart of canned chicken broth as well)
    Large soup pot
    3 stalks celery diced
    (Or equivalent of dehydrated celery)
    1 onion diced
    (Or equivalent of dehydrated onions)
    1 tsp celery seed
    2 tsp onion powder
    2 tsp seasoned meat tenderizer powder
    2-3 chicken bullion cubes
    5 large carrots diced
    (Or equivalent of dehydrated carrots)
    1 can peas or corn (dehydrated will work as well)
    (Any other veggies you may like)
    1 bag of favorite egg noodles

    In large pot, put chicken on to boil. Add all seasoning ingredients to pot. Cook until the chicken is done to the bone.
    Lift the pieces of chicken out to cool on a plate or in a bowl. Let the chicken cool until you can remove all skin, fat and bone. Dice the chicken pieces into small cubes. Add the chicken back to the pot. Add diced, and canned veggies. Bring stock and veggies back to boil and cook till the veggies are tender. Carrots take the longest, so add them first. Add egg noodles after veggies are tender and cook about 10 minutes or so until the noodles are to the tenderness that you like.

    This soup goes good with the dinner rolls or a large pot of mashed potatoes. Warms the house and makes a filling dinner.

    Will feed a family of 5-6 (and we eat like pigs!)

    You can “Can” this without the egg noodles after it is prepared if you want to. it is one of our favorites

  39. When canning soup, chili or stew, do you cook everything first? If so, doesn’t it come out really mushy since it is processed for such a long period of time? I have canned chicken and it is so tender when it comes out of the jar, so can’t imagine if you cooked it ahead of time, what it would be like. The canned chicken is mainly for one of our kitties. She will only eat white meat chicken and this has been such a cost savings for us.

    • Vivian,

      I use the raw pack method when canning chicken. When it comes to soups, I cook the soups first. A word of caution, thought. If you are including beans use dried beans. Soak them overnight and only partially cook them. If you cook the beans all the way and then pressure can the soup, the beans turn out mushy. So cook them until they are about half way done, and the put them in the soup.

      Like Repair Mama said, do not include any dairy, thickeners, rice or noodles. Also, make sure your soup is half liquid. I would recommend Repair Mama’s post on pressure canning meat. Reading through that will help you enormously. You may also want to get the Ball Blue Book. (Get the older edition for $7.99 and not the new edition which has a nice cover and a revised introduction for $20 more.)

  40. Repair Mama says:

    When I can the soup, I assemble the stuff in a pot. I do cook it just a little so it is boiling hot when I fill the jars. Then I can it. I have not canned any with beans in it though. I hear that you have to soak the beans and maybe cook them a little before canning them cause I think they swell or something. I think Gayle knows how.
    When I can chili, I have been using kidney beans in cans. I think I could save money if I used dry bulk kidney beans instead.

    I have also read that you should not can soups or anything with pasta, rice, or any other flour based things. I will have to find out why no flour.
    If you are only using the chicken for kitty cat, I would figure that you will only need these in very small containers, you could use the little jelly jars so the uneated portion will not spoil if there comes a time of no refridgeration.

    • Thank you for the response. That’s a great idea about the chicken in jelly jars. I have been canning it in quarts because I always have so much chicken to can. Next time, I think I will do it in smaller sizes in case of no refrigeration. Thanks again.

  41. how long will canned meats keep. one year seems like a little time for all the effort involved. is there any reliable est9imates available ? great article.

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