Sunday, October 16, 2011

Canning Meatloaf for Meals in a Jar

 I love having meals in a jar on my storage shelves.  It is so nice to spend a few minutes warming up a good hearty meal instead of spending hours preparing one.  

 I have been searching for a recipe for canning meatloaf.   I found several on the web but I was not comfortable with making the mix, putting it raw in a pint jar and then processing it in a pressure canner.  

If you are like me when you make a meatloaf in a loaf pan for dinner, it is usually swimming in fat when you take it from the oven.  I did not want to look at jars of fat accumulation and I believe a high fat content will make processed food go rancid faster than not so I decided to come up with my own recipe.  Here's what I did.  I made my mixture (recipe follows)  Since I found a great deal on ground beef this week I decided to use 10 pounds of meat and see how many meatloaf meals in a jar I could make but in case any of you would like to do smaller portions here is the recipe broke down for every 2 pounds of meat.  You'll have to guess at the tomato juice if you don't make a bunch like I did.

For this recipe you will need:
ground beef (mine was the cheap ground beef)
For every 2 pounds of ground beef  you will need to add:
1 egg
1/2 cup of onion chopped
1/4 cup of bell pepper chopped
1 1/4 tespoon of salt
1 teaspoon of garlic powder
1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon of black pepper
1/2 cup of oatmeal (uncooked)
In addition to the above items, you will need tomato juice to cover your meat in the jars.  I used 10 pounds of ground beef so I ended up needing 3 cans that were 1 quart 14 ounces each.  I used the Great Value brand from Walmart not only because it was cheaper but because it was 100% juice and I could pronounce all the ingredients; tomatoes, salt and ascorbic acid.



I began by cracking my eggs in a very large mixing bowl and lightly whisking them with the garlic powder, salt,  and black pepper.  I then added the onions, bell peppers and oatmeal and stirred this mixture.  I then began working the 10 pounds of meat into this mixture using my hands.  I actually ending up using two large mixing bowls until I got everything mixed together and looking uniform.  I then made meatloaf patties.  Yes...patties like you would making hamburgers for the grill.  Speaking of grill... just wait until I tell you later what else I did with my cheap ground beef.

Since you will be canning in wide mouth canning jars.  Take a wide mouth lid and a band and stuff your meat mixture into it.  Don't over-stuff it like I did in this picture or you will only get four large patties in your canning jar instead of the more uniform five. Just make it even with the band.

Then all you have to do is push the lid back through the band

and remove the lid from the meat 

and presto... you have an exact size portion of meat that after cooking and shrinking just a bit will fit perfect in your wide-mouth jar.



After forming my meatloaf patties I put them on my broiling pan to bake.  This way most of the fat drains as it cooks.  My pan held 12 patties at a time. 

I baked these in a 375 degree, preheated oven for 30 minutes. 

I sacrificed one to see if it was done enough.  The onions were just a little crunchy but the processing would take care of that.   



As each pan was done, I put the patties on a platter, covered them with tin foil and placed them in the refrigerator until I had enough to do a canner load.  My canner will do 7 quarts.

I had already washed my jars in the dishwasher so they were still hot.  I had my lids and bands simmering.  

I  had my tomato juice just at a simmer on medium heat making sure I stirred it often to prevent scorching.  

I had my pressure canner ready with simmering water.  Since it took me a couple of hours to bake all of the meatloaf  patties some now were just barely luke warm.  Five patties will fit into a quart jar just under the 1 inch mark 

so to warm them back up, I placed jar and meat into the microwave and microwaved on high for a minute or so.

I then ladled my hot tomato juice over the meat patties. Covering the patties.  

I used a wooden skewer to run down the edges of the jar to release any air bubbles.  

If you are canning anything with meat or oil; use a paper towel soaked in white vinegar to wipe your rims.  This cleans any oil you may have missed just using a water dampened towel which may prevent a good seal on your jar.



I removed the lids and bands from the simmering water and tightened hand tight before adding the jars to the canner.  

After loading the canner and getting my pressure up to 11 (I have a dial gauge),  I processed my quarts for 90 minutes.  If you try this recipe and use pint jars you will need to process only 75 minutes. 


Although I was at the inch mark on my jars I still had some spill over from my jars as my water in the canner had a light shading of red from the tomato juice and my tomato juice had went down in the jars..  However this did not prevent my jars from sealing so they are OK.  After processing I still see a bit of fat that collected at the top but not so much that I can't live with it.  I have 3 more jars to process and I think I will cut back on the tomato juice and see if the processing needed more room to create juices in the jar.


I used my own onions and bell peppers grown this year in the garden and already had the spices and oatmeal on hand so I don't know the exact cost of these meals but the meat and tomato juice this week cost around $20.00 and I will get 10 quart jars so for me this breaks down to around $2.00 a meal.  Can't beat that.  Each jar would feed a family of  3 to 4 easily unless you have really big eaters. I think this would be good served with mashed potatoes or it would probably be great over some rice.  Some people like a sweet glaze over their meatloaf and for those that do, after opening a jar for warming,  you could add a little brown sugar to the tomato juice and serve over the patties.

PS..I processed the remaining jars the next day using a little less tomato juice.  I still had liquid that run over during processing.  I am thinking that maybe there is a lot of trapped air when I put all the patties in at once and then poured the tomato juice over everything.  My next batch I will add a patty one at a time and pour the juice over each patty individually.  There has got to be some reason this is not working as planned.  In spite of juice and some the fat content spilling over, all of the jars have a good seal.


note:  I know the food police does not recommend canning anything with eggs or oatmeal but the Amish have been doing this for years and sometimes not even with a pressure canner.  I never hear reports of them dropping dead with food poison on a daily basis.  Just remember to do what you are comfortable with. 







36 comments:

  1. Woohoo! I got a deal on hamburg this week and have been wondering what else I could do with it! This sounds great. Normally, I wouldn't use eggs, but this is not so many that it should bother. I can't wait to try this! THANKS

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  2. Hey HP.. I bought 80 pounds of ground beef!(I don't go shopping often) At 1.65 a pound I could not pass it up as ground beef is selling close to $3.00 a pound here. I have a lot of cooking to do as I am trying my best to get out of the habit of using the deep freeze.

    Hope you like the recipe. It had only been a little more than 24 hours since canning but I wanted to see how it tasted so we opened a jar for dinner last night and it was pretty good if I may say so myself!

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  3. This looks great, Mamma Bear, and meatloaf is one of Yeoldfurt's favorite suppers. He would eat two and go back for a third because he loves meatloaf and always wants seconds. But that still leaves one for me and one for his lunch the next day.

    Thanks for the recipe ...more please!

    : )

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  4. LOL HB... Three of us wiped out a jar as soon as it was opened! Papa Bear can eat like a truck driver...Heck, who am I kidding....sometimes I can eat like a truck driver! Grandson shares most meals with us so this jar of 5 servings works great for the 3 of us. If any should be left the next day; I love a cold meatloaf sandwich with mayo.

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  5. I love your idea for mini meat loaves! I can meatballs and use egg and bread crumbs or oatmeal even though the food police say not to. The liquid makes a great gravy. I also make sausage patties and can those without any liquid and they turn out great. I also love meals in a jar and have canned various soups, stews, chicken and chili among other items. I will be reading your blog for more great ideas.

    http://simpleeverydayliving.blogspot.com/

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  6. You are a genius !!! This is a whole lot like the Amish Poor Man's Steak recipe I tried recently. Never thought about the tomato juice; what a great alternative! The Amish recipe calls for using mushroom soup and the pan drippings. I added beef stock as well. One of my favorite meals in a jar! Oh, and it used cracker crumbs. Anyway, isn't this just the best thing ever ?

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  7. Hi Rose... I have been looking into dry canning as well. Seems a lot of you are having success with it. I would love to can up some different types of sausage and not have them sitting in liquid. I've checked out some of your recipes on your blog and will be busy copying them! Thanks for visiting my blog!

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  8. Hi Kris,

    I have been eye-balling that Amish Steak recipe and seriously want to try it next. The only thing stopping me this weekend was the fact I had no crackers and didn't know about substituting oatmeal in it's place. I have about 30 more pounds of ground beef remaining and will make something with it.

    I canned a very simple Italian meat sauce last night that can be used for spaghetti, lasagna or any meat and tomato type casserole. I'll post that recipe for those that may not have it as soon as I find a few extra minutes.

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  9. Mamma Bear,

    I have been canning sausage, ham, and pepperoni without added liquid has worked out wonderfully. the canning actually removes most of the fat which will be solidified in the jar. So you actually get a lower calorie product : )

    I have also canned bacon a couple of ways. Raw, rolled up in parchment and stuffed into a quart jar (Enola Gay), and cut into pieces then partially cooked (Kris Watson). Both work well, although the canned raw bacon spatters horribly when cooked.

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  10. Rose... I plan on trying that canning bacon idea. I can still get a really good thick sliced bacon at my grocery outlet for about $16.00 for 10 pounds. I've been buying it and putting it in freezer bags but I really want to rid myself of the two freezers I have and can them. If you still use a micro wave you can get one of those Makin Bacon racks. It will hold 12 slices at a time and you just put a paper towel over it to catch the splatters. I love mine.

    I was reading Rural Revolution's blog where she cans her own Bacon bits. She says it is not cheaper to do this but it is so much better than the store bought. We use a lot of bacon bits too.

    Do you precook your ham and sausage first and then can it? Do you use the whole peperoni or sliced. Papa Bear loves peperoni and I would love to have that in my food preps as well.

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  11. Mamma Bear,

    I just dice up the ham since it's already cooked and put it in jars. For the sausage, I partially cook it in the oven in patties, about 2/3 done. I have read that if you pan fry the meat tastes case hardened. I think this is true of hamburger that I fried up and then canned. I use sliced pepperoni from the packages. Straight from the package to the jar. The regular mouth 1/2 pints work well. You will be surprised how much shrinkage there is, but it is very good. I use it on pizza all the time. Hope this helps.

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  12. Thank you for the info Rose. I like the ham idea as I am sure it will taste much better than the canned ham I now store. In my opinion it is only one grade above Spam. I do store them both. Sometimes a fried spam sandwich with mayo, lettuce and tomato is pretty decent.

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  13. Someone recently told me about canning meats and I was flabbergasted! I have not done much canning until this year so I've been learning more about it! I can't wait to try canning these meatloaf patties, and also the pork tenderloins my friend told me about! Thanks for the recipe! I'll be trying it soon! Do you HAVE to use a pressure canner?

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  14. Hey Maggie...Thanks for reading! Yes...please use a pressure canner to can any type of meats and most vegetables. Although hours and hours of water baths are used by an old method, it is just not safe. A water bath cannot reach a high enough temperature as pressure canning to destroy all the nasties that can make you and your family very ill.

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  15. I have a BIG Question: Can I use my own Meatloaf recipe and then follow your canning directions? I a almost tempted to cook the meat in the jar, drain the fat, add the tomato sauce then process in the pressure canner. Has anyone ever tried this?

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    Replies
    1. Hi Leslie,

      I can't vouch for your recipe or any of the others on the web. The recipe I posted and the way I processed it worked for me. We have opened several of these jars and had them for dinner on several occasions and so far so good. They smelled as fresh as they did 3 months ago and tasted fine.

      Before you can a bunch of your jars using your method. Just try a few and see how they do. When I did mine I decided the worst that could happen is I would have many jars of canned dog food....LOL

      Delete
    2. Have to try this with turkey, we don't eat beef.. I am sure it will come out the same way and I like the patties better them a log.. thanks for posting this.

      Delete
  16. This looks really good... I'm gonna have to give this a try.

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  17. Thank you kimkell! We are still using from my first batch and each jar has been as good as the first.

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  18. Doing this now....will let you know how they turned out.

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    Replies
    1. Anonymous...Hope you like it. I am still using the ones I canned this past fall. They make a quick, easy meal.

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  19. What is the shelf life if you dont mind me asking please email me with answer at kizz60@yahoo.com thank you

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    Replies
    1. Sorry to be so very late in replying. I have had serious issues with Google and Blogger.

      I honestly can't tell you the shelf life. I made this batch this past October and we will open a jar on occasion. It has been 10 months now and it is just as good as the day I canned them.

      Delete
  20. Am single oldguy..can I use the 8 oz.jars that I use for smaller portions when I can squash,tomatoes etc for sinle serving..if so.How long would processiong time be for 8 oz jars?? Thanks... If 2012 comes true a few canned things will be great with no electricity..I am getting 3 months of various supplies in the stocking process each month. Thanks, Bill

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    Replies
    1. Sorry to be so very late in replying. I have had serious issues with Google and Blogger and couldn't log in.

      I don't know what the rules are for canning 8 oz jars. Quarts are 90 minutes, pints are 75 minutes so I don't know if you could safely take 15 minutes from the pints. It is more safe to over process than not. It doesn't "cook" the meat any more it just holds the temperature inside the jars for the amount of time to destroy any nasty bacteria from my understanding.

      Delete
    2. The "rule of thumb" I see most often is to process half pints for the same time as for pints. That doesn't necessarily make sense, but when it comes to food safety, I am not gonna take any chances! There are some exceptions, but those are probably ones which has specifically been tested in half pints. Usually the tests are only done with pints and quarts.

      Pete

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  21. This looks terrific! Cannot wait to try it ASAP!! (Although we usually wait until winter time to can meats and stuff that is not particularly seasonal.)

    The overflow from your jars was most likely from changes in internal pressure in your canner. I had the same trouble when trying to regulate my canner on an electric stove. Have fewer cases of it now, using the rocker regulator and an old All-American canner instead of the new Presto. And because I make sure to make all burner changes very slowly. AND make sure that I get the temp regulated a bit better BEFORE putting the rocker/regulater in place.

    Another possibility is releasing steam from the canner too quickly. It's probably not really the steam but lowering the temp too quickly, but you catch my drift. ;) (Yeah, I've had to learn THAT lesson the hard way, too.)

    Thanks so much for this recipe. It looks and sounds just wonderful. The small amount of egg and oatmeal really should not be an issue, especially with the removal of so much of the fat.

    Pete

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    Replies
    1. Sorry to be so very late in replying. I have had serious issues with Google and Blogger.

      Thanks Pete. Since I have gotten my new regulator I have far less issues with overflowing. I do have an electric stove and I agree it was the culprit. Even though I lost a lot of the top liquid, the jars have been just fine to eat.

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  22. This sounds great. My family loves meatloaf and I have been looking for a recipe to can it. I can't wait until I get my canner. I will be so stealing this recipe. Thanks again.

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  23. Kacie.... I post tried and true recipes so others may "steal" them...LOL

    Welcome to my blog!

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  24. I love your posts!
    I have a serious question. My canned meat products (meat loaf and spaghetti sauce) taste really vinegary when we eat them. No one got sick, but what could I have done wrong? Everything sealed and I processed them the right mount of time.
    Any ideas?
    Thanks,
    Kathy

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    Replies
    1. Hi Kathy...the only think I can think of is maybe the acid in the tomatoes are really strong??? I would experiment with adding a teaspoon or two of brown sugar to the sauces when you heat them back up.

      Thanks for stopping by!

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  25. I'm trying this for the first time at the moment...I can say that the patties are very good! We cheated, sandwiches made with cheese and ketchup...Anyway, My patties fit 6 in a jar, I used a combination of tomato juice, pasta sauce and tomato paste, with water added to use up some older stuff in the cabinet. I've got one canner load processing, and a second canner load baking in the oven. BTW, I went 325 degrees for 30 minutes and my patties are well done(though a bit thinner than yours, judging by the fact that I'm getting one more in the jar.) Thanks so much, I'm in love with my canner and this is another cheap, easy meal to prep.

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  26. I was just curious instead of using tomato sauce while canning these do you think I could use homemade BBQ sauce instead? I am really new to the whole idea of canning and we already have a freezer full of hamburger and would like to have some on my pantry shelves instead of it taking up so much freezer space! Thank you so much for any opinion!!

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    Replies
    1. Bonnie B.... I apologize for not reading your comment until almost a month later. Sometimes spices and flavors intensifies when canning and stored but if yours is homemade you already know what's in it. I grilled some hamburger patties a couple of years ago and canned those in barbecue sauce that was not homemade. I don't know if it was the charcoal or the sauce I used but they were terrible! When I am in doubt I just make a jar or two just to see if I need to adjust anything. I know that is a lot of work but if you are going to can a lot of something new it is best to see how it will work rather than have a shelf full of stuff your family won't eat. I actually have a goof shelf I labeled "dog food" LOL...thank goodness there is only a few jars on it :)

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  27. This looks yummy! I am just wondering if BBQ sauce can be used in place of the tomato juice?

    ReplyDelete

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