Sunday, February 6, 2011

Canning Hamburger

Ok I finally did it. I set some time aside and canned hamburger. I've been putting it off because I just couldn't imagine wanting to spend the time canning it when I can just throw it in the freezer. Well how WRONG I was! I'll tell you why later, but first let's get to the process.

First I fried up a bunch of ground beef from Costco. I'm not sure how much I started with but it was lean ground beef. You do not want to can high fat ground beef. I drained the meat well before putting it in the jars. You can cook this up with onions and other seasonings and can it like that. I did it plain just because then I can use it however I want later. Next time though I think I will fry it up with onions. I almost never use ground beef without onions.

Next I took sterile quart canning jars and I put one beef bouillon cube in the bottom. Some people use just water, some people use beef broth, but this is just the way I did it.

Next I added ground beef. I filled up the jars but did not pack them tightly. I think I might try packing in a little more next time because my jars didn't seem to hold as much meat as other people's. Once the meat was in, I filled the jars up with boiling water, leaving 1 inch of head room. Then I carefully wiped the rims and put the lids on.
Now I had read some people put raw hamburger in the jars since it cooks as it cans. I decided to try one jar like that. I packed it full of raw hamburger and then put a tsp or so or beef broth flavoring on top. There is no need to add liquid to these jars so I just put the lid on.

Next I placed them in my pressure cooker. I can fit 7 quart jars in my canner. This is the first time I have used a pressure cooker and I was a little nervous. I took my gauge into my local county extension office to get it calibrated but I have heard horror stories about pressure canners exploding so I made all my kids stay out of the kitchen. :)
When canning hamburger it needs to cook at 11 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. If you are doing pints then it's 11lbs for 75 minutes. I had to pretty much stand next to the pressure cooker for 90 minutes as the pressure didn't stay completely steady the whole time and I had to make minor adjustments to the heat. This was the only really time consuming part.
After the 90 minutes are up you turn off the heat, however, it does take a while for the pressure in your canner to subside. You just have to wait, although you don't need to babysit it anymore. Once the pressure is gone, you can remove the lid and carefully remove your jars. They should sit on your counter for 24 hours to cool. You can see it the picture the difference between the precooked meat (on the right) and the raw meat (on the left). The precooked meat looked MUCH more appetizing and had a lot less fat in it. Still I was trying to reserve judgement until I tried it.

The next morning I checked on my jars and you can see that the grease had coagulated in a ring. The raw meat jar looked truly disgusting. I also wasn't sure it has sealed properly so I put it in the fridge to use right away. All of my other jars looked great!
Just FYI, I decided to do another batch of pint jars and to actually rinse the meat to see if I could get rid of that ring of fat. I suppose it doesn't really matter but it just didn't look very yummy. It worked since they had virtually no white ring but again, not sure it mattered other than aesthetically, and it might even have been a bad thing as some of the flavor no doubt washed away as well.

Ok, so, we did try to eat the jar that began as raw meat, and I say try because I never did manage to even get it out of the jar. It was a like a rock solid little meat loaf in there. After gouging at it with all sorts of implements with little success of dislodging the meat, I gave up and threw it in the trash, jar and all. Guess I won't do it that way again. It could have been extra hard because I had it in the fridge but it looked so revolting to begin with that I'm not even going to try it that way again.

I have also used some of the other meat. It's SO terrific! I couldn't tell the difference between that and meat cooked up fresh. Plus the convenience of just grabbing a jar, draining it, and fixing dinner was indescribable. I'm forever forgetting to take meat out of the freezer in the morning so this is a huge blessing to me. Plus if we ever lost power for very long, I would lose all of my meat in the freezer. Canned meat will last at least a year. Longer if stored correctly.

One other note. Most people say you can fit 1lb of hamburger into a pint jar, and 2lbs into a quart jar. I didn't get nearly that much into a jar. In fact I would say it was about half that. Maybe it's because I didn't pack it tight enough, or maybe they were talking about precooked weight, but just wanted to let you know that my experience was different.

I'm not going to can all my meat. After all, you can't use it to make hamburgers :) but I'm going to keep enough for my family for 3 months. I haven't canned any of my hubby's elk yet. I'm waiting for a month to go by, then I'm going to eat some more of this meat and make sure that the taste stands up over time. I'm hopeful though.

Give it a try if you are at all interested. It's just one more tool in your preparedness box!


  1. Wow Sherida, I think this is just one of many I'll need to try!

  2. Interesting that you liked it, because I really didn't like mine. I wonder how much of a difference the broth made. Yeah, pressure canners are hard to keep regulated. I just work on preparing the next batch of jars while I'm watching it so I can easily turn around every few minutes to check the pressure. It looks like you have a gas stove and that's easier, because you see the difference pretty quickly. I have electric and it's taken a lot of getting used to for canning, plus my two big burners are broken and the little burners take forever to heat a canner.

  3. I do have a gas stove so I was surprised how much I had to babysit it. It was ok though, I just found things to do in the kitchen.

    I will follow up when I try eating more next month. The jar I ate was pretty freshly canned so maybe that is why it was so good.

  4. Nice post! I have canned burger and other meats for years, just for the convenience of pre-cooked food. And, you can can burgers--form raw patties 1/2 inch thick-exactly the same size as the top of your jar. Stack them up and do not add any additional liquid. After canning for 90 minutes they only need to be warmed up to make a burger. I would suggest a little more headspace for your next try, most meats and fish need a full inch.

  5. Thanks for the tips Vic! I agree about the headspace, one of my jars overflowed and I had to use it right away.

  6. I LOVE my canned hamburger and chicken. So so much. I only use that now, except for meatballs and burgers or meals that use a whole chicken breast.

    With that ring of fat I just scoop it out before I dump the jar of beef into whatever I'm cooking. I have used my beef in hamburger helper, tacos, spaghetti sauce, chili, etc. It tastes like fresh cooked beef to me and maybe has a nicer texture. I like smaller chunks of meat and it definitely breaks apart more easily than when you fresh fry it up.

    I boiled mine before I canned it and included onion flakes. It gave a slight flavor to the beef which has been fine in everything. Also, the one pound per pint and two pounds per quart is accurate if you do pre-cooked weight. At least it was for me. My chicken on the other hand was MUCH less, but I did frozen chicken.

  7. does it hurt anything if some of the juices boiled out? Some of mine did but it looks ok. It is still ok to eat isnt it?
    As far as the fat goes, you can dump that out before reheating it.

  8. i love making meatloaf in jars. i use the 1 1/2 qt straight sided jelly jars.

    just mix up your meatloaf mix the way you normally would (but without eggs) cram it in the jar and process.

    easy as pie. or meatloaf...

  9. aHow was the hamburger after it has been canned a year.

  10. I'm still using the hamburger after a year and it's still perfectly good. I LOVE canning meat!

  11. I've read from backwoods home jackie clay. That it's a preference whether U want to add liquid or not to the jars. I would prefer no liquid as I think it would take away some of the meat flavor. Anyone else have any thoughts on this. I know what the cty extension office recommends.

  12. When I researched it they said to add water to hamburger but not chicken. My hamburger was precooked so it did not produce it's own juice while canning. I cold packed the chicken so it produces plenty of liquid while in the canner.

  13. I have a 'taste' question... I browned my hamburger by frying it. Then packed it hot, no water added, and no extra seasoning. I expected the taste to be similar to that of fried browned hamburger. It WAS NOT! It tasted much much different - like 'canned meat' you buy at the store. I didn't like the taste of it at all. Is there a way to preserve the 'fried browned' taste?

    On the other hand, I've made meatloaf, and while the taste isn't the same as 'baked' it's still very good.

  14. Breast aesthetics, there is a lot I do not know about. There are those from Turkey you recommend Dr. Ali mezdeği. Do you have that information?
    Meme estetiği

  15. This is a great post. I just canned ground beef for the first time and have been looking to see if anyone else had the same 'ring of fat' at the top of their jar as I did. I'll be checking to see if they sealed in a little while. Here's hoping!

    I know this is an old post, but I'd like to invite you to share this post and up to two others at Farm Girl Blog Fest #23, which is live right now. You would be a great addition to the wonderful posts that are shared!

    Farm Girl Friday Blog Fest #23

    Hope to see you there!
    ~Kristi@Let This Mind Be in You

  16. I've canned HM two different ways and like #1 below better. It seemes to have better flavor since all the broth/fat is in jar.
    1- Just pack as much raw meat in jars called cold pack or raw pack.
    2-For this one I boiled the meat then packed in broth.Hot pack.Getting most of fat out of meat.

  17. I want to reduce my breasts with breast aesthetics. Need a good plastic surgeon from Turkey.
    Meme estetiği

  18. Will this work? The first day I cook the patties and keep refrigerated till the next day to can. At this point can I do "cold" pack the burgers since everything is cold or would that make a difference in pressure canning. I have done both but the cold pack is easier. If i do hot pack I would need to heat burgers up in oven/have hot jars then process. Tell me your thoughts.

  19. I canned hamburger about a year ago, I checked on it today and the meat above the moisture line changed that a problem?

    1. No, it's just fine, It may be a little drier than the meat below, but it'll be fine to use.

  20. I am just starting to canned meats. I have a question. What is a cold pack. Fresh meat put in the jar, with out cooking it?

  21. I have been canning meat and fish for years, with or without water works just fine, i personally use a powdered bullion just to give a bit of flavor and add salt pepper and garlic powder if i cook it first. It keeps well and have used 5 year old jars and it is just fine.

  22. I have not tried this but read a blog where they used a wide mouth jar with parchment paper in between and canned hamburger patties....I did can ground beef and stew size chunks which are DELICIOUS used later.