Every year Heith is given a turkey at Christmas from his employer. While we appreciate the bird it is way to much food for our little family to eat in a reasonable amount of time. Canning the turkey and broth breaks it down into manageable portion sizes that I can use to make several different dishes.
Recently I spent the afternoon at Mary’s canning three turkeys. When Keaton and I arrived she had already deboned the birds, cooked a portion of the meat, and made the broth. Talk about a great mother-in-law!
There are a few simple yet important steps to canning turkey or any other type of meat. The steps are all the same; what will change is the amount of time and the pressure used to process your meat. These changes are based on your location (altitude) and what you are canning.
Before anything else is done, you will need to decide if you are going to precook your meat or can it raw. Raw meats will cook during the processing if you have fallowed the instructions for that type of meat properly. We did half and half with the turkey because I wanted broth along with the meat.
1. Wash the jars, lids and rings. Then sanitize by boiling them for 5 minutes, running them through your dishwashers rinse cycle, or allowing them to sit in your sink soaking in hot water until ready to use. Note: you can never reuse a lid, they must always be new.
2. Pack the turkey or other meat into the hot clean and sanitized jars. Then fill them with meat and warm broth or water that you have added some bouillon too. Use a butter knife or another utensil to remove any air bubbles trapped in the jars. You need to leave at least one inch of head space in the jars. Leaving this space allows room for the liquid to boil inside the jars; preventing it from being siphoned out, a jar breaking, or the lid failing to create a seal.
3. Wipe any drips from the rim or sides of the jar carefully. Place a simmered lid and ring on the jar, then tighten the ring down firmly but don’t use excessive force. Place the filled jars on the rack inside your pressure canner. Once filled with the jars add about 3 quarts of warm/hot water in the bottom of your canner. Because there are different sizes and brands of pressure canners you will need to double check the directions for yours as it may require a different amount of water.
4. Put the lid on the canner and tighten it down. Let the steam build and exhaust steadily for about 10 minutes before putting the weight down on the canner. Watch the gauge rise to 10 pounds of pressure before starting your processing time. Don’t walk away from the canner as you will need to keep an eye on the pressure gauge. Very small fluctuations in pressure is okay, however to much change means you need to adjust your heat source.
5. Once the canner as reached the desired pressure reading begin your timing. For our turkey meat (both raw and cooked) we processed it at 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes. The turkey broth processed at 10 pounds of pressure of 30 minutes. Remember you may need to use a different pressure and length of time depending on your altitude and the type of meat your canning.
6. Once your processing time is completed, turn off the heat and let the canner slowly return to zero. It will take about 30-35 minutes for it to reach zero on its own. Loosen and remove the lid, make sure it is facing away from you to avoid getting a steam burn.
7. Remove the jars using a jar lifter and place them on a towel where they wont be disturbed. Keep a little space between the hot jars. As they cool and seal you will hear a popping sound.
Once the jars are completely cooled check to see if they are sealed by gently pushing down on the center of the lid. If you hear a clicking sound the lid did not seal properly If you here a pop but the center of the lid does not come back up then the seal formed with the small about of pressure you applied. If you hear no noise, then the seal formed on its own.
If your jars don’t seal on their own within 2 hours you have a couple of options. You can reprocess the jar or jars in the canner to giving them the chance to seal. Or you can refrigerate the jar and use its contents within a couple of days. If you know it will be a little while before you can use it but don’t want to reprocesses you can freeze it.
8. Remove the rings and wipe away any residue on the jars with a clean damp cloth.