I’ve been buying 80/20 ground beef from Zaycon Foods and canning it. I prefer canning versus freezing because the shelf life is so much longer – years versus months.
The order comes in four 10# tubes. I can only cook about 5# of it at a time in the pan I use. I tried cooking it in the oven, but it seemed to take longer.
Here’s the process:
1. Put 5# of meat in the pan and break it up into small pieces.
2. You don’t have to completely cook it. Just cook enough of it so that it doesn’t make a solid chunk.
3. As it cooks, put it into clean jars. I like to use a canning funnel because it keeps the rim clean. A pint will hold about 1#. A quart will hold roughly 2#. My canner will hold 7 quart jars, so once 10# of ground beef cooks down, it will fill all 7 of those jars.
4. While you’re doing that, put your new lids (flat with rubber) in a pan of water and heat them. I find that this helps soften the rubber and makes a better sea.
5. Fill the jars almost to the neck. Fill the jar with water to cover the meat. Add a tsp of salt. Then, take a clean cloth or paper towel and wipe the rim. There can’t be anything on the rim to keep the lid from sealing.
6. Add the lid and ring. Twist it tight and then loosen it. You’ll need to leave space for air to escape.
7. Put all jars in the canner. Add water to the canner so that it covers about 3/4 of the jar.
8. Put the lid on the canner/pressure cooker, add the “clicker” and process at 15 lbs for 90 minutes. It doesn’t matter whether you’re canning pints or quarts. The time is the same.
9. You might as well go do something else for 90 minutes!
10. Once the meat is finished processing, turn off the burner, but just leave the canner alone. Depending on time of day, it’s okay to leave it for a few hours, or even overnight.
11. If you have jars that didn’t seal, plan something on the menu to use the ground beef, of you can put it in the refrigerator, or even the freezer. Just make sure there’s enough space in the jar for the water to freeze without breaking the jar.
12. I’m not an expert on canning, so please refer to your cookbook or the internet for more information if this is not clear.
13. After the jars are cooled and sealed, remove the rings. Wash them and save them for your next canning project.
14. Wash the filled jars with soapy water. You’ll find that fat from the ground beef has made its way out of the jars and into the canning water. Make sure you dispose of it (NOT in your drain) and wash the jars before putting them away.
This process may take a chunk of time out of your day, but it is such a convenience when you need ground beef for a recipe.
1. You save time by not having to cook the meat each time
2. You don’t have to remember to take it out of the freezer
3. It’s just ready to go. Great for tacos, chili, spaghetti, or anything with ground beef.