Saturday, November 21, 2015

Using Canned Foods - Part 2

There are a few more meats that I regularly can.  One of those is hamburger, if I can find a good sale.  We are now paying $4.99 per pound for hamburger, with the leanest going for $5.49 per pound, so I haven't canned as much as I would like to this year.  I brown the hamburger, drain it, pack it into jars without adding liquid and can it.  I found that adding liquid to hamburger gave me a product that reminded me of canned dog food.  Canned without liquid, the meat is indistinguishable from hamburger freshly browned.

This meat can be used in any recipe that calls for browned hamburger.  I make Sloppy Joe sandwiches from it.  I add it to spaghetti sauce or to lasagna.  I use it in casseroles or in tacos or in gravy over mashed potatoes or rice.  The possibilities are endless.

Sometimes I will make up a meatball recipe, brown the meatballs on a cookie sheet in the oven, pack them into jars and can them.  I have used cream of mushroom soup diluted with an equal part of water and canned the meatballs covered with the soup to make meatballs and gravy.  The plain ones are good with spaghetti or just plain, and the ones in mushroom sauce are good over mashed potatoes or rice.

There are some who can bacon by rolling slices up in parchment paper, stuffing the package into wide mouth jars and canning it that way.  I haven't tried that method yet, but plan to soon.  I buy boxes of bacon ends and pieces, cut the meat into about one-inch dices, lightly brown it, pack it into half pint jars and can it.  Canned this way, these bacon bits have several uses.  I mix them with scrambled eggs or add them to omelets.  I have used them in scalloped potatoes.  I have mixed them into those hashbrown and egg breakfast casseroles and in other casseroles for bacon flavor.  They can be sprinkled on a green salad.  I'm sure there are many other uses for canned bacon bits that I haven't thought of.

When I find a sale on bulk breakfast sausage I get as much as I can.  This is canned just like hamburger.  The sausage is good in scrambled eggs, omelets and casseroles.  I have used it in spaghetti sauce and lasagna.  But my favorite way to use this is in biscuits and sausage gravy.

Sometimes I find a product that comes in a #10 can.  Cheese sauce is one of those foods.  I know that I could buy the ingredients and make my own, but the cost of a large can is way cheaper than investing in the separate ingredients.  I heat the cheese through, ladle it into half-pint jars and can it in a water bath canner for 90 minutes (per Jackie Clay's instructions).  I have tried canning regular cheese and found that it turns out with a rubbery texture that I don't care much for.  The cheese sauce turns out great.  I use this for mac and cheese, as a sauce over vegetables like asparagus, as a dipping sauce for nacho chips, in casseroles and poured over scrambled eggs or omelets.  I'm sure there are many other uses for this that I have yet to discover.

I mentioned earlier that I have canned potatoes, but I'm going over that again here.  Living alone, it is sometimes hard to use up a bag of potatoes before they start to sprout or turn soft.  A couple of years ago, Oldest Son got a good deal on potatoes at the Farmers Market and brought me 100 lbs. of them.  I dehydrated some, but most I canned.

Some were cut into larger chunks and those I use like you would any boiled potato for a meal.

Some I cut into about two-inch pieces and filled quart jars half full, adding similar sized chunks of carrots to fill the jars to the top.  Those I usually use with a roast of some kind, either in the oven or the crock pot.

Some I cut into about one-inch chunks, filling quart jars with 1/3 potatoes, 1/3 carrots and 1/3 peas.  These are handy for soups but I mainly use them in stews.

Some I diced them into about half-inch pieces.  These I use for fried potatoes and for potato salad.  I added chunks of onion to a few of the jars.  The onion turns soft during the canning process, but the flavor is still there and adds to the flavor of fried potatoes.

The last thing I want to talk about is soup.  I have found that having a variety of home canned soups on my shelves makes life easier at times when I am busy and need to refuel but don't want to spend time cooking, or on those rare occasions when those nasty little viruses invade my system and I need to eat but don't really feel well.  I can soup in both pint and quart jars.  A pint is just the right amount to fill a soup bowl, and a quart is good for a couple of meals for one person and is enough to feed two people.

Chicken/turkey vegetable soup:  I fill a jar about 1/3 full of diced chicken or turkey and top that with frozen mixed vegetables that have been thawed.  I add water to cover and add whatever seasonings I want when I heat the soup to eat.

The rest of the soups I make the same way as I would if I were cooking them for a meal, only in large quantities.  As with the chicken soup, I add seasonings when I heat them to eat.  I am better able to control the amount of salt that way and sometimes seasonings will become too strong or turn a little bitter in the canning process.  I usually have the following soups on my shelves along with the chicken vegetable soup:  ham and bean soup, split pea soup and vegetable soup.  If I want vegetable beef soup, I just add canned beef when heated.  Some have canned cream soups, but I have not tried those as yet.  And others also can homemade tomato soup, but I am not really fond of tomato soup, so I have not.

The other food I like to can is chili.  And this I season as I normally would, with good results.  I make a huge pot full and can it in both pint and quart jars.  As with any food that is either a combination of vegetables or contains meat, the processing time is the longest time recommended for one of the ingredients.  When that ingredient is meat, it is always 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts.

And that is enough for this post.  I have one more coming that deals with the vegetables and other odds and ends.  Hope this helps.


  1. I haven't canned a lot of meats, but I do can chicken and hamburger. One of my favorites is chicken and rice and I prepare the rice and mushroom soup as you would for the normal recipe and wait to add the chicken and broth from it during the last 15 - 20 minutes cooking time. Turns out very good. I also add a dehydrated vegetable mix to the rice as it helps to enhance the flavor.

  2. Thank you so much. I love the way stay prepared with bargains and a lot of hard work. Brenda

  3. Jim...I like having a variety of meats to choose from. And there is the added fact that once I have tossed something in my freezer, I tend to forget about it. One of the joys of aging, this memory thing. :) In jars, I can see just what I have on hand. I have made chicken and rice before, but yours sounds really good. I will have to give it a try.

  4. Brenda...You are welcome. I am retired and on a fixed income, so I tend to pinch pennies. It can be some work, but should an emergency arise, I am sure it is all worth it.

  5. Deb...You are very welcome. Hope it helps just a little bit.

  6. Just commented on the Part 1 post by mistake. Don't know if you go back and read those comments. I asked about canning the cheese sauce. Why not pressure can it instead of water bath canning it for 90 minutes? Sorry to repeat the comment.. SJ in Vancouver BC Canada

  7. SJ...I usually check back on comments for the previous post or two for about a week after posting. I answered your question there. :)