Well I have been listening to CBC news about what is happening to the markets, to the riots in london, to the debt crisis that just keeps growing in Europe and the United States, and listening to Harper who is on a trip to sign free trade agreements in South America (which just happen to be considered growing markets). The costs of everything is rising, including the costs of meat..
The ways to preserve meat for home use is limited, you have a couple choices.
- Freezing- Costs involve buying a freezer, older freezer can sometimes be had from free cycle or at farm sales but you have to consider that they use alot more energy then more current models do, and you have to pay from the power to run them, either by directly paying the power company or by buying and installing green-energy products.
- Drying-limited cuts can have this done to it, power costs to dry it down and then its done.
- Charcuterie-Salt perserved, smoked, dried or make it’s stable hanging meats-Costs are salt, smokers, cellars space and limited ways to use these meats to a point.
- Canning- Costs, include Jars, lids, canning pots and pressure canner, plus the power energy costs to run it, be it power, propane or wood..
Thankfully many of these items are upfront costs and then are in fact reuseable for many years to come. If looked after your freezers will last twenty years, same with your glass jars and pressure canners etc.
I was raised in a family that canned meat but we didn’t use pressure canners, we water boiled bathed meat and then stored the canning in very cool temps in proper cellars, I am currently pressure canning my meats and low acid foods at this point.
If someone is looking to buy sheep meat, they almost always want lamb, and its a lovely meat, I have been getting my reviews back from folks that got my grass-fed lamb only this year and its been nothing but postive, in fact by word of mouth only, from folks that have bought lamb, I have already had a number of request on if I have any more for sale..
However no one asks for mutton, and I don’t know why, I love my yearling Mutton, I tend to keep back at least one or two altered males to grow out and butcher out in the late winter/spring to give a much needed bump to the meat supply, and I sent one of these big boys to the butcher in the last load out, and asked for it to come back as only stew meat and hamburger, in total not including bones/organs, I got back almost 70 pds from him, and its all going into canning, stew meat, meatballs, burger patties, homemade sausage, soups and stews are all on the canning menu, mixing in the garden overflow with those 70 pds of meat and suddenly the idea’s are endless on how to mix it up.
I can honestly say that when yearling meat is canned, it is so tender, you would never know that you are in fact eating mutton, instead of lamb.
I have heard and read so many folks talking about the fact that they won’t can meat at home, and I just don’t understand this thought, if you follow the safety rules and the approved recipes, process the meat for the required time in a approved pressure canner, its not hard folks.
I will admit that I perfer a cold pack method, so lets run though this, thaw your meat in the fridge, wash and rince your jars, fill with meat, put your new lids, follow the pressure canning instructions, and take out finished jars and store in a cool dark cellar if at all possable.. I know that I have taken it down to the most basic but really it can be that basic, sure you can add broths, spices, make meatballs or patties, but you don’t have to.. basic canned meat is excellent on its own.
The only advice I will give is this, try and can in the wide mouthed jars when it comes to meat, even in the pint jars, so that you can more easily get your scrubby in to clean the jar afterwards.
So swinging this back to the current times mixing with the need to store, if you need to lower your bills, canning is one of the best ways to store and keep food along with drying that is once done, as the lowest energy costs, if you don’t already have a little extra put away, just in case. Please consider doing so, look at your current ways to keep and store the food you do have and give it a little thought on if you need to add more, or add more ways to preserve it?
Beef Stew with Veggies -Makes about 14 pints
- 4 pds of stewing lamb
- 12 cups of cubed new potatos
- 8 cups of sliced peeled carrots or turnips
- 3 cups of chopped celery
- 3 cups of chopped onions
- 4 tsp of salt
- 1 tsp of pepper
- Boiling water or broth to cover etc.
Make your stew like normal, browning your meat, and onions, adding your veggies and any broth you want instead of water, then laddle your hot stew into clean hot jars leaving a inch head space (measure this out, its important to not go higher) and process in a pressure canner per its requirements.