Do you want to learn how to can hamburgers at home to stock away in your emergency food supply? This post is all about canning hamburgers.
Canning is one of the oldest methods of food preservation. While this method is incredibly effective, most people do not know how to go about it. You do not have to worry about power shortages or someone accidentally unplugging the freezer leading to losses with canning.
Since hamburgers are essentially just ground beef, canning a hamburger is quite simple. The best part about it is the meat is pre-cooked and hence needs very little preparation before consumption. Canning hamburgers makes them last for a very long time, between three to five years and sometimes even longer. You won’t have to worry about thawing as with frozen beef or uneven cooking. In this article,
- canning jars
- new lids
- Jar lifter
- Lid lifter
- Pressure canner
- Large stockpot
- Bubble Popper
- White vinegar
• Ground beef. Fat content in hamburgers need to be not more than 30%
Step 1: Brown the meat
Canned hamburgers are usually pre-cooked. The first therefore is to brown the meat. There are several ways to do this.
You can either boil the meat or let it simmer down before browning or brown it straight away. If you choose to boil it first, you will have some beef stock to store and use later. Pre-cooking is crucial as you want to get rid of some of the fat.
Some people choose to brown the ground beef lightly and let the cooking process complete in the jar. If you decide to brown it, you can either do it on a pan or put it in the oven. Brown them in small batches until you are done. This process is vital as you want to get rid of as much fat as you can.
After boiling the ground beef, set it aside and let it cool overnight. You can put it in the fridge overnight so that the fat layer can form on top. This will make it easy to skim the fat.
Step 2: Seasoning
Once your batches are ready, season the meat using salt and your favorite spices as desired. Avoid adding binders such as bread crumbs, eggs, and flour at this stage.
Step 3: Clean the jars
Whether your mason jars are new or not, it is very important to clean them. New jars can sometimes have a smell that goes away once cleaned. You also need the jars clean to avoid contamination of your hamburgers.
Step 4: Filling the jars
Using a spatula, fill the canning jars leaving an inch of headspace at the top. A pint-sized mason jar can hold up to a pound of ground beef. Fill the remaining headspace with boiling water, beef broth or tomato juice as desired. Beef broth is more flavorful and would be the best of the three.
Step 5: Lidding
Cap the cans with clean and sterilized lids then attach a ring to each jar. The canning ring should remain as tight as you can go with one hand. This is because if the caps are loose, you will lose the liquid and have half-empty cans. You also need them to be able to release air to prevent the cans from cracking because of air build-up.
To find out if your jar is just tight enough, you need to ensure the band is tight enough, but the jar can still spin with one hand holding it. This is what is considered finger tight.
Step 6: Get rid of air bubbles
Run a spatula along the edge of the lid to get free of air bubbles. Use the bubble popper at this stage if you have one. While removing air bubbles, be careful to ensure the liquid still has a reasonable headspace.
Step 7: Wipe the jars and clean any spills
Maintaining cleanliness is very important at every stage of the canning process. Wipe the jars clean using a paper towel or a clean cloth towel. Harmful bacteria can render the whole process useless if the meat goes bad. It is essential to ensure that your hands, too, are clean throughout the process. Wipe out any spills and grease before loading the cans into the pressure canner.
Step 8: Preparing your pressure canner
Before loading the pressure canner, ensure the gasket is in good shape, the vent pipe should be clear of any blockages, and place the canning rack at the bottom. The lip should be facing down so that the rack is not sitting at the bottom. You risk breaking your jars if you place them directly onto the pressure canner without the rack. If you are canning two layers at a go, ensure you place another rack between the two layers. Add water to the level instructed in the pressure canners manual
Step 9: Loading the canning jars into the pressure canner
Load the cans into the pressure canner and distribute them evenly. If you are loading two layers, ensure the weight on each layer is equally distributed.
Step 10: The canning
Cover the pressure canner and follow the instructions to ensure the lid is properly locked. Once locked, turn the heat to high and let the water boil. Once the steam starts to escape the vent, set the timer for ten minutes. Ensure the pressure is steady throughout the process. If it goes up or down, fiddle with the heat regulator to ensure it remains at a constant pressure as instructed.
Step 11: Post-processing
After the set time is over and processing is complete, turn the heat down and allow the pressure to return to zero. As a precautionary measure, never cool the can with water or open a pressurized can or remove a pressurized regulator. All these are dangerous and could cause the can to explode.
Once the pressure is at zero, remove the cans carefully without tilting them. Remember, the content at this point is still boiling, and the jars are hot. It is, therefore, necessary to use a jar lifter. Put the cans in a cabinet lined with towels and leave them to cool off for 1 to 24 hours before sealing them. Once cooled off, label the jars with dates they were made and store them away in a cool, dark place. A layer of fat will form at the top of the jars, and that is perfectly okay.
With that, your canned hamburgers are ready to be enjoyed at any time for the next five years. Since the hamburgers are cooked, all you need to do is warm them.