Monday, March 16, 2009

Food Storage - Dried, Canned Hamburger

I came across this recipe for preserving hamburger meat on the End Times website a couple of years ago and I have been using it ever since. It is a great way to store meat without having to rely of your freezer, and the meat is always ready to use, no waiting for it to thaw out. I usually buy ground chuck in the five pound logs. You are going to cook and drain all of the fat away, so the leaner meat you start off with the less waste you will have. If you are going to can the meat for long term storage, you will need to sterilize your jars and jar lids before, or at the same time as, you prepare the hamburger. Five pounds of ground meat will fit in 2 to 3 pint jars, or 4 to 6 half-pints; depending on how fatty the original meat is.

Directions for preparing hamburger:

• Thoroughly brown the meat in a large cast iron skillet.

• When meat is browned, pour off the grease and transfer the meat to a colander.

• Rinse the meat thoroughly under hot running water to remove any remaining grease

• Wipe any remaining grease out of the skillet and place the drained hamburger back in the skillet.

• Heat the hamburger in the skillet until steam quits rising from the meat. Use a spatula to turn the meat and keep it moving so that it doesn't burn.

• When the hamburger quits steaming, spread it out in an even layer on baking sheets and place in a 200 degree oven. Leave the oven door propped slightly open and let the hamburger dry for about 2 hours.

• Place the, still hot, dried hamburger in hot sterilized jars, and cap tightly with sterilized lids and jar rings. In about 15 minutes the lids will ping and you will know that you have a good seal. Label and date the jars, and place them in storage.

I don't know how long the hamburger will keep when stored this way, but I can attest from personal experience that it is at least 2 years. To reconstitute the meat all that you have to do is put 1 cup of dried meat in 2 cups of water and let it soak for a while. I usually keep a pint can of dried hamburger in the kitchen pantry and when I make spaghetti sauce or vegetable beef soup, I grab a handful of meat and toss it in. It will re-hydrate as the other ingredients are cooking. You can use this meat in tacos, lasagna, chili, or any other recipe where you would normally use loose hamburger.

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