Canning: Meatloaf

Homecanned meatloaf reminds me of embutido
I was trying to free up some freezer space for this year's supply of beef for our family. As my followers know, our family sends homegrown chickens, pig and cow every year to the slaughterhouse. We then freeze them in our freezers (we have 4 freezers at home) and these will be our meat supply for a whole year (or more).
Sliced meatloaf can be reheated in the pan

Now that my sons are away most of the time because either they are in college or just graduated from college, we have been more slow in consuming these meats. So I end up with freezers still with lots of meat by the time the new batch arrives. Canning is a way for me to free up the space without throwing away anything. It also has the benefit of making ready-meals ahead of time, which my sons can bring with them to their dorm or apartment after visiting us. It is one way to get good quality meats to them; also lets them save some money (because grass-fed beef and pastured chickens/pork are pricey). This meatloaf recipe is actually one that I found on youtube, by a chef, who also sends some of her canned meats/meals to her college kids.

You can watch her video on how she prepared these. I provide here the summary of ingredients and instructions. I used the 1&1/2 pint Ball jars, and only 8 of them could fit in my pressure canner. I used the rest of the mixture as meatballs (cooked as sweet and sour).

If you are new to canning, this link is a great resource: "How Do I Can?"
I highly recommend learning the basic principles of canning first before you dive into canning meats. I also would suggest that you ease yourself into the canning world by doing simpler projects first like pickles and jams/jellies.

10 lbs ground beef (aka, hamburg)
3 cloves garlic (do not be tempted to add more because raw garlic when pressure-canned can be overwhelming)
1/2 onion
2-3 T light brown sugar
1&1/4 tomato ketchup
1 plastic package of saltine crackers (buy a box of saltines and use one of the plastic packages inside)
1 T parsley
1 t yellow mustard (powder)
1 t pepper
2 t salt
8 eggs


Prepare your jars and lids and bands per instructions in the above link on canning principles.  Keep lids submerged in hot water to soften the rubber seal.

Combine everything in a bowl.
Mix all ingredients well

Pack tightly in clean jars. I like adding a little at a time and stomping to pack tightly.
I used a french rolling pin inside a plastic bread bag (so the wood does not touch the meat)
Leave about 1&1/4 inch headspace. Try to eliminate air pockets as much as you can.
About an inch and a quarter headspace
Wipe rims to make sure no pieces will get trapped between the lids and the rims. Apply the bands just finger tight. This will allow for air to escape but still help prevent liquid or pieces to get through. Too tight and you will prevent air to escape, hence, not creating vacuum. The air trapped may also pose a problem with microbes trapped that will not be heated enough to get killed.
Screw on the bands just finger-tight.
Place in the pressure canner with cold water. This is to prevent shock. Turn on the heat, close the canner tightly without the weight. Once steam escapes, time for 10 mins to help create vacuum in the canner. This allows for even heat distribution.
After 10 mins of steam escaping, you might notice that the gauge shows the pressure going up from 0. Put the weight on the "nipple" to help increase the pressure inside. Steam under pressure will create the right temperature necessary to kill the microbes inside the jars within the specified/recommended time frame.
Let pressure reach 10 psi before turning your heat down. On my gas stove, #4 setting keeps that pressure at this level. If I go down, the pressure might not be maintained. When that happens, the countdown begins anew.
Set timer with the pressure kept at 10 psi for 90 mins minimum.
Once done, turn off the heat and let cool down naturally. Do not remove the weight. I usually go to bed by this time then remove the jars the next day. I wait about 24 hours before testing for the seal. Look for jars that did not seal (the lids are still popped up instead of down); refrigerate these and consume within two weeks. (All of mine sealed properly.)
Test the seal by removing the bands then lifting the jars by the lids. The lid should not come off.
All lids are concave - sealed!

When ready to consume, the juice might have solidified and not allow for easy sliding of the meatloaf out of the jar. Reheat slightly in the microwave or hot water to melt the juice.
The meatloaf shrinks in size so it moves away from the glass jar walls.

This will then make it easy to slide the meat out.
Slides out of the jar if you melt the juice first

You can eat right out of the jar or pan-fry to reheat brown the outside.

Tips: Store these in a dark, cool, dry room. Do not bother to reapply the bands. This will help you spot the bad ones easier because if you improperly have canned this and the Botulinum bacteria survived and thrives inside the jar (because of anaerobic and high pH conditions), they will create gas (no more vacuum), which will push the lid out. However, once you open a good jar and have leftovers, place the lid back on. Consume the leftovers within two weeks.


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