On my last trip to Costco, I bought a family-sized package of Italian sausage. In the past, I have divided up the contents and put it in our freezer. This time, I decided that since I’ve had such success with “bottling” ground beef, I would try the sausage. My first obstacle was trying to figure out how to get a 6″ sausage in a 5″ bottle, but finally realized it didn’t have to stand up! Instead, I wrapped the sausage inside the bottle, almost in a ring. Each pint jar was large enough to hold 3 sausages, which is pretty close to a pound of meat. I was able to fill seven jars, which means I will have enough sausage for seven different meals. I didn’t add any water because I felt there would be enough juice without it.
I pressure cooked the seven jars at 15 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. When I opened the cooker several hours later, one of the jars didn’t seal. I let it cool and then tightened the ring and put it in the freezer. All other jars sealed just fine and are on my food storage shelf. No refrigeration needed.
The first time I used the sausage was for lasagna. Using bottled meats definitely cuts down on the preparation time. While the spaghetti sauce was simmering, I opened one jar and began to slice the sausage. I found that the texture was amazing! It was much more tender, and much LESS coarse than if I had sliced it freshly cooked. That ugly ring of fat you see in the middle of the jar got dumped in the trash, so that amount of fat did NOT go into my spaghetti sauce. I added the sliced/chopped/diced sausage to the sauce and let it simmer a little longer while I sliced the fresh mozarella.
Here’s my spaghetti sauce recipe:
1 can diced tomatoes (I run these through my Magic Bullet so it’s a sauce and not chunks of tomatoes)
1 can tomato sauce
1 generous tsp of minced garlic
1 tsp honey
1 Tbsp Italian Seasoning
1 tsp pink Himalayan salt (or whatever salt you have!)
1 small can of mushrooms (or use fresh)
Put small amount of oil in the pan. Add garlic and fresh onion (or dehydrated). Stir and then add the rest of the ingredients. Add the cooked sausage. Allow to simmer for about 30 minutes while you prepare the pasta. If making lasagne, layer the sauce with pasta, then cottage cheese and mozarella. End with sauce on the top and sprinkle with parmesan cheese if you have it. Serve with a salad and sourdough bread. It’s the BEST.
I bought “fresh” mozarella at Costco for the first time last month and it makes all the difference in the world! I’ll never switch back to the pre-packaged stuff.
In a recent interview with Sherida Raddigan, http://eatingfoodstorage.blogspot.com/ she talked about feeding her family of 8 on food storage for 6 months. All of the meat they had was dehydrated or freeze dried. After surviving that experience, she has started bottling meats, and says that would have made things so much better if she would have had more of a variety of meat.
Listen to my interview with Sherida: http://www.blogtalkradio.com/doctorprepper/2011/08/02/all-you-need-to-know-show
Bottling meat has several advantages:
1. Shelf-stable for months, if not years.
2. It’s already cooked and saves time when preparing a meal.
3. Doesn’t require electricity
4. Doesn’t have to be thawed
5. Doesn’t get thrown out because of freezer burn!
6. Leaves more room in my freezer for ice cream.
Give it a try and don’t just think of this as something you may need for a disaster. I’m using my bottled meats on a regular basis so that they’re always being rotated.
Until next time!