Typically most folks think of ‘canning’ as a summertime project when home gardens provide a bounty of veggies. But…canning need not be limited to any particular time of year or season. My wife Penny and I can year around to take advantage of any surplus that happens to come our way. Also, depending on time constraints we often freeze items to can at a later more convenient time. Our winter 2017 canning project actually began in late September 2016 when Pen’s brother, Al, and I came home from our fall elk hunting trip with eight quarters of elk. Due to my work schedule and our fall travel schedule we froze a substantial amount of meat for later processing. Then… a 21# frozen turkey ended up taking most of a shelf in one of our two freezers as a result of a grocery store give away at Christmas time. While appearing at sportsman’s shows in the NW we scored quite a bit of frozen albacore tuna and salmon. Our freezers were on the verge of bursting when a old buddy of mine showed up with more salmon he offered to split with us if we pressure canned some for him!
I started by thawing out the elk meat we froze last fall and the turkey given to us at our local grocery store. While re-arranging both freezers I found a pot roast I’d forgot we had, so I thawed it as well. After thawing the elk meat I brined most of it for corned elk. In addition, I skinned and smoked the turkey for a couple of hours after which I quartered/boiled it for a couple of hours. Below is a closer look at the different products we canned.
Quantities: Albacore Tuna-14 Pints & 23 Half Pints; Smoked Turkey Broth – 7 Pints; Smoked Turkey-16 Pints & 12 Half Pints; Salmon 12 Half Pints; Corned Elk- 7 Quarts & 9 Half Pints; Salmon-8 pints & 4 half pints; Roast Beef-11 Pints; Roast Elk-12 Pints.
The advantages of pressure canning meats/fish are the tremendous increase in storage life of the products and the decrease in storage costs. Even when vacuum packed, most knowledgeable food safety folks recommend consuming frozen fish with in six months and frozen red meats with in a year. We routinely keep and consume our home canned products for three years which is much longer than if we kept these products frozen. Of course there is an energy input to pressure can products. But…there is also a decrease in storage costs because we were able to clean out and shut off one of our freezers which is a measurable cost saving.
CAUTION: BEFORE ATTEMPTING TO PRESSURE CAN ANY FOOD ITEM(S) – TAKE AN ACCREDITED COURSE FROM A HOME EXTENSION AGENT OR OTHER REPUTABLE SOURCE!