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I have always frozen my meat and produce (except potatoes, onions and some of the carrots). I finally moved to a rural property where I could grow a decent sized garden ( enough vegetables for a year) but I am now running out of freezer space. Too late for this year, but next year I am considering canning some of the vegetables and possibly some of the meat and fish I put away as well. I have no idea how to go about canning produce or meat. How well is the flavour of the food preserved vs freezing? I'm guessing canned food can be stored longer than frozen, though I do use a vaccuum sealer which gives me longer storage life than regular freezer bags .

Can anybody explain the steps of canning produce or meat? In particular I am looking at peas, green beens, tomatoes, carrots and sweet corn. If I decide to try meat or fish, it will be Canada goose, deer, bear, moose, trout, pike, bass, walleye, perch, crappy or other panfish. I'm thinking I will most likely stick to freezing for the meat and fish, but it never hurts to know how to do it.

Jim
 

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There are several ways to can. The ones I am familiar with are the water bath and the pressure canner for jars. I'm not sure about tin cans, although they can be done at home also. A lot of folks say that the water bath method is not as safe as the pressure method, mainly because the acidity of foods such as tomatoes is lower now with the new hybrids. For fish and meat, the pressure canner is safest although my wife canned up tons of salmon with a water bath when we lived in Alaska. Expect it to be good for about a year.

To get your feet wet, I suggest getting a water bath canner. They are available at Walmart, at your local hardware store, or Google "canning supplies" and see what you get. Directions will be with it. They are also in the cases of jars from Ball and Kerr.

Here is a link to the U of Alaska Extension Service which should tell you all you want or need to know:

http://www.uaf.edu/ces/preservingalaskasbounty/index.html

Friends of mine didn't have electricity so a freezer was out, they put up five deer every year in jars. I believe they used a very large pressure canner.

Have fun!
-Winter Hawk-
 

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Get a copy of BACK WOODS Home magazine and it will have books listed by Jackie that will tell you more than you could ever need to know about canning . There are articles also in the mag.
 

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You need to be thinking about dried foods. What if you loose heat in your house and all your canned stuff freezes. Dry beans, lentils, dry peas, corn, wheat, there is a whole pile of stuff that is traditionally stored dry, before you even think about less common stuff like drying tomatoes or green beans or onions or carrots.
 

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I keep all my canned food in a side room in my basement. Not heated, but insulated. Stays around 55 year round. I'm more concerned with electricity going out. I do have alot of meat in my freezer. This time of year I can move it outside, and it'll stay for a couple days untill I cook it. But would be in trouble in the summer time.
Not sure where you live, but here in Ohio, there is usually a gun show somewhere in the state, this time of year, about twice a month. There is usually always a book dealer selling all kinds of how to books. Even thou I was brought up with my mother canning all the time, I bought a couple books just to refresh the memory. Lots of info on gardening, wood heat, etc. Good excuse to go to the gun show. gypsyman
 

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Another method of canning that used to be more common is canning in tin cans. Lot of the older books have sections on that, and while the lids are still available, they're way too expensive, plus it takes a can sealer -which is also expensive. The advantage is that they won't break from cold or clumbsiness. The good news is: You can can in paint cans with reusable lids. Don't know how they would work for high acid foods like tomatoes, but I tried a chicken in one once for 6 months or so, and it came out ok. They have a tin coating to keep the paint from rusting the can (just like food cans). And if tin ain't good enough, a person can actually buy gold plated cans -for mountain oysters and carp, no doubt.
 

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Canned meat is hard to beat for flavor and tenderness. In the case of beef it has its own gravy. Just make sure you understand how to do it right. Get a good pressure canner. While I like canned meat, I go with the extra freezer, understanding that it is dependent on electricity. A risk but right now its the way I go.
 

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bilmac said:
You need to be thinking about dried foods. What if you loose heat in your house and all your canned stuff freezes. Dry beans, lentils, dry peas, corn, wheat, there is a whole pile of stuff that is traditionally stored dry, before you even think about less common stuff like drying tomatoes or green beans or onions or carrots.
Another reason to buy a single level house with a wood stove in the basement :) Even a rather small wood stove will keep a decent sized house warm enough to prevent freezing...When we have had ice storms with power outages, Our house has always been warm because of this. We have enough wood on hand during cold weather and if we run low, our neighbors across the street sell wood and would gladly help us out :) If It was my own house, I would have a log splitter, STIHL chainsaw (has to be a STIHL, dad and grandpa always used them and still have some over 20 years old running mint) and get logs delivered each mid-summer.

We can jam, peaches, Beets (pickled...mmm) I think we have about 40 jars of raspberry jelly currently, and will be making even more this coming year. Jelly and bread will get ya through for a few days ;)
 

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You need to buy a pressure canner. Follow the directions and you put up anything. In my experience, a gas, natural or propane stove cans better, since you can keep a constant pressure by properly adjusting the flame. We tried once on an electric stove, and we couldn't maintain the pressure at 10 psi. A little click down, and it went to 8 psi. A little click up and it went to 12 psi. Burnt some canned corn. We finally decided it was easier to can and dry veggies, and freeze meat. However, canned fish tastes like canned salmon. Don't know about canned meat. Canned goods are supposed to last 2 years, but some probably can last longer. Vaccum sealed frozen meat lasts me 2 years. I also have a dehydrater. You can dry peas and beans, and you can make jerkey. Dry food lasts far longer. Canned jellies and jams also last longer because of the sugar content. You can also salt cure, sugar cure, and smoke meat. I am still using rice stored in 5 gallon buckets that I bought 10 years ago. Still cooks up fluffy. We have ground it up to flour and made rice bread, just not as good as wheat.
 

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Go to this site, Ball Canning.
http://www.freshpreservingstore.com/
Get the blue book of canning, it'll tell you what you need to know.

We have 2 large freezers that we fill with veg, meat, barries, mushrooms, stuffed peppers and cabbage etc. We also can Tomato juice 75 qt+-, 75 salsa +-, 25 whole tomatoes, 10 - 15 venison, pears, and peaches (whtever we dont eat fresh), and this year 100 saur krout (50 for us, 25 for my son, and 25 for daughter and friend who helped), I don NOT, use a pressure cooker, I don't have one. A pressure cooker would probably make things go faster for us but I just never found one necessary.
 

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You must use a pressure cooker to can meat or risk botchilism. Tomatoes and tomato products can be water bathed. Jams and jellies can also be water bathed. The acid in the tomatoes and the sugar in the jams and jellies kill the botchilism. Sourkraut as well as pickles an pickled products are the same. However canning peas, corn, potatoes, and meats, you need a pressure canner.
 

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Big Dog, have you canned meat before? If so how long do you boil it in the cans? I'm assuming you use a water bath. Does the water keep boiling off and you have to add more water? I've never heard of just boiling. I guess that is what they did in the 1800's before pressure canners.
 

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canning meat is especially dangerous, more so than most fruits and vegetables. I wouldn't do it without a pressure canner.

We did some beef many years ago and it was good and very handy.
 

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That's just the way I do it. My mom and dad did it that way, and I do it that way. I've only done it that way since the late "60's"., maybe I just don't know any better, but it works for me. Pints I bring to a boil in cold water and boil 40 to 45 min. qts I boil for 1 hr and 5 min. My parent learned from their parents, and like was said the late 1800's. Do what you think is best, Its like sugesting a load for your rifle, I won't but if you really want to know I'll tell you what works for me.
 

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the people who make the jars, BALL put out a book " ball blue book" great book filled with directions and receipts check the aisle in safeway were you find the jars lids and seals.Do can everything you can put up. It wont spoil if you loose electric. you can make up pressure cookers full of stews and other meals then can them and have heat and serve meals. If you have or can make a spring house or root cellar were the temp does not go below freezing the canned goods require no maintenance.
 

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I just got back to this thread and was going to suggest a root cellar also. Keep jars of food in it, as well as potatoes & onion. I believe you can also keep corn without canning it; at least, my history lessons told me that the early settlers learned that from the Indians.

When I lived in Alaska, friends had a small house between Delta Junction and Fairbanks. There was a root cellar under the kitchen, just a hole 6' square x 10' deep cribbed in with logs and shelves against the cribbing. They kept their canned food, etc. in it and there was no problem with stuff going bad, even if they were gone for months on end with no heat (the house had a wood stove, no inside plumbing). Just make sure no cold outside air can come in. Their's was accessed through a trap door under the kitchen table.

-WH-
 
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