Meat, poultry and fish are low acid foods. They must be processed in a pressure canner to assure safety. Use the processing time and pressure (PSI) that is specified for each type of game.
Note: Individuals using a weighted-gauge canner at altitudes less than 1000 feet may use 10 PSI instead of 15 PSI for the canner pressure. This will improve nutrient and quality retention. Check with your local county extension office or Soil Conservation District for altitude information.
Following are some general guidelines for canning meat or poultry:
- Can only good quality meat, poultry, or game.
- Chill home produced meat at 40° F or below soon after slaughter to prevent spoilage.
- Keep all meat clean and sanitary. Rinse poultry thoroughly in cold water, then drain.
- If meat must be held for longer than a few days, freeze it for maximum quality retention, store frozen meat at 0° F or lower until canning time.
- Thaw frozen meat in a refrigerator at 40° F or lower until most of the ice crystals have disappeared. This may take several days for large cuts of meat.
- Trim gristle, bruised spots, and fat off meat before canning. Excessive fat left on the meat will melt and rise to the top during processing. If the fat comes in contact with the sealing edge of the lid, the jar may not seal.
Broth may be prepared by placing bony pieces in a saucepan and covering with cold water. Simmer until meat is tender. Discard fat. Add boiling broth to containers packed with precooked meat or poultry.
- Choose freshly killed and dressed, healthy animals. Strong flavored game birds, especially water fowl, may be soaked for 1 hour in brine made of 1 tablespoon salt to 1 quart of water. Rinse. If game birds are soaked, omit the salt when filling the jars.
- Dressed chicken should be chilled for 6 to 12 hours before canning.
- Remove excess fat.
- Cut the poultry into suitable sizes for canning. Can with or without bones.
Hot Pack: Boil, steam, or bake meat until about two-thirds done. Add 1/2 teaspoon salt per pint or 1 teaspoon salt per quart to the jar, if desired. Fill hot jars with pieces and hot broth, leaving 1-1/4 inch headspace.
Raw Pack: Add 1/2 teaspoon salt per pint or 1 teaspoon salt per quart, if desired. Fill jars loosely with raw meat pieces, leaving 1-1/4 inch headspace. Do not add liquid. Adjust lids and process.
Recommended processes (hot and raw pack)
- Dial-gauge pressure canner
Without bones — pints: 75 minutes 11 PSI
Without bones — quarts: 90 minutes 11 PSI
With bones — pints: 65 minutes 11 PSI
With bones — quarts: 75 minutes 11 PSI
- Weighted-gauge pressure canner
Without bones — pints: 75 minutes 15 PSI
Without bones — quarts: 90 minutes 15 PSI
With bones — pints: 65 minutes 15 PSI
With bones — quarts: 75 minutes 15 PSI