Friday, June 3, 2011

How To Preserve Meat Using A Pressure Cooker

This is the method I was taught by my mother in law who has done plenty of canning throughout her life. If any of you have any suggestions or additions, please feel free to add them in the comment section at the end.

Equipment and Ingredients
Lean meat with as little fat as possible. We had best luck using fish.
Pressure Cooker
Bottling jars (we used recycled egg mayonaise jars)
Sealing lids (we used two different types sourced from friends/family in USA)
Sealing screw tops
Latex gloves
New Chux cloth / paper towels
Knife, board and spoon
Preparing freshly caught Mackerel to be bottled.
1. Ensure the jars, knife and cutting board are clean and sterile. I used boiling water to sterilise everything.
2. Set up pressure cooker with a raised platform inside.
3. Cut meat into small cubes while wearing latex gloves. Pack the meat into the jars tightly to avoid any air pockets. Avoid touching the edge of the jars as much as possible.
4. Fill the jars to about three quarters full. Wipe the rim of the jar with a new chux cloth / paper towel. It is important that the rim of the jar is absolutely clean – not even a speck of dust is allowed! Place the seal on top of the rim and then screw the metal top on until it just starts to get tight. Do not overtighten.
5. Place the jars inside the pressure cooker so that they are raised above the base. Our pressure cooker came with a perforated metal basket and V shaped raising device.
6. Fill the pressure cooker with tap water up to half the height of the jars.
7. Place lid on the pressure cooker and put on high heat.
8. Once the water begins to boil, click the cooker over to begin pressurising. From this moment, time the cooking for 90minutes. Monitor the pressure cooker to ensure that the pressure remains even.
9. After 90 minutes, turn off the heat and leave overnight. Only open the pressure cooker when it is cool. Take out the jars and check that they have sealed. You may want to wipe the jars as they will probably have some meat juice stuck to them. The sealed jars will keep indefinitely. Any jars that didnt' seal can be refridgerated and eaten within a week or two.
Preserved fish in jars, ready to store until needed.
I have now tried beef, beef mince and fresh Mackerel. The red meat gave me a success rate of 50%. My theory is that the meat is so fatty (even though we did select the leanest cuts available) that it gets in the way of the seal. The fish worked wonderfully with a 100% success. The only downside is that the pressure cooker now smells of fish! 

Any comments / suggestions?  

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