As you build your Prepper’s Pantry, it quickly becomes obvious that red meat is one of the most difficult food items to store long-term.
Dehydrating meat for jerky is great, but still has a short shelf life. There may also come a time that you crave a juicy burger or the distinct flavor of fresh ground beef in a taco.
The good news is that you can cook and store fresh ground beef in cans! The shelf life is 3-5 years, and cooked canned hamburger can be safely eaten directly from the can, or warmed up.
In order to can hamburger, you will need a few very specific kitchen tools:
- A skillet (cast iron preferred)
- Pint or quart sized canning jars
- New canning lids and rings
When you eventually open your canned ground beef, you will have the beef itself, beef fat, and beef stock – all of which can enhance your cooking.
Some Notes Before you Begin
Pressure-canners can be purchased online but keep in mind that many are not recommended for use on most electric stoves, as their weight can break the glass surface.
Your pressure-canner may be able to fit a half-gallon jar, but you cannot safely can meat in a half-gallon jar.
Do not forget to add water or stock to your beef; without it, the safety of your food will be compromised.
In high elevations, the canning pressure will increase to compensate for lower atmospheric pressure.
How to Can Hamburger
1. Start by browning the ground beef in your skillet. Do not overcook; a little bit raw works best. Season to taste, but avoid binding agents like flour, eggs, or breadcrumbs.
2. Add the recommended amount of water to your pressure-canner (usually about 2 inches) and bring to a boil.
3. Add cooked ground beef to your canning jars, leaving 1” of headspace below the rim. Then add boiling water or stock to the jars, still leaving 1” of headspace.
4. Attach canning lids and rings to the jars. Before putting the jars into your canner, you will not want the rings to be on too tight. Tighten them using only hand.
5. Add your jars to the canner as the manual recommends, and seal the lid. Allow steam to escape from the valve for about 10 minutes before you add the weighted pressure gauge.
- You will be using 10 pounds of pressure for canning hamburger.
- Pint jars will take 75 minutes to process; quart jars will take 90 minutes.
6. Once your timer goes off, turn off the heat and wait until pressure returns to 0 pounds. Remove the gauge and allow the rest of the steam to escape.
7. Open up the lid and remove your jars. Let them cool until they reach room temperature, and then remove the canning rings. The lid will be vacuum-sealed on, and canning rings can rust if left on.
You have now safely stored hamburger meat for future use!
Be sure to label and date your cans before storing them so that you don’t keep them past their expiration dates.