Looking for suggestions of meals to can

missemerald(7 (Virginia))July 22, 2012

This is not strictly a harvest canning question, but I was wondering if anyone has any recommendations for meals that can be canned and stored for later use? The only caveat is that the recipes cannot have dairy in them (I know you can't can dairy, that isn't the reason I mentioned that); we have a severe dairy allergy in my house so anything that needs to have any dairy added to it after opening won't work either. I have both Ball books and Small Batch Preserving, but wanted to know if anyone had any specific recommendations for recipes they've tried and liked (or thought were a waste of time). I've been surfing the 'net and folks put all sorts of things into jars but some of them look off, even to me. Thanks so much for your help in advance!

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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

You are right that many people will unknowingly throw just about anything in a jar, run it through a pressure canner for an estimated amount of time and call it a safe meal in a jar. Some claim you can safely can meatloaf, beans and weenies, chicken and noodles, or shrimp creole. NOT!

Unfortunately many of them are botulism disasters just waiting to happen and only luck has been in play, not safety. :)

But the goal in canning really isn't a meal in a jar. It is ready to use canned ingredients for making a meal after opening. Jars of preserved things to which you can add noodles or serve over rice or potatoes AFTER opening the jar. So basically the approved meals-in-a-jar consist of soups, stews, and chili. Ingredients have some flexability but it is limited. No thickeners, no rice, pasta, oil, dairy, etc. But meat and vegetable mixes are fine as long as each ingredients is prepared per its guidelines. For ex: with chili the beans are pre-soaked and the meat is pre-cooked.

Soups need to follow the 1/2 and 1/2 rule - half solids and half liquids.

NCHFP gives the recipe for chili and soups and both of the Ball books contain several soup and stew recipes such as Beef in Wine Sauce and Beef or Chicken Stew. Then there is canned Chicken or Tuna to make into tuna salad or chicken and dumplings after opening.

Hope this helps.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 22, 2012 at 11:48PM
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missemerald(7 (Virginia))

Dave, thanks for the advice. I had thought that meals in a jar was much as you described-- opening the jar, adding "whatever" to it and making a meal out of it, then heating and eating. I thought it might be a useful thing to do when our crazy days hit after school starts. Are there any good recipes that you have tried and liked?

Does this mean that I could safely can my own chili recipe, as long as the tomatoes, beans and whatnot are cooked then the collective canning time for each is added up and used (if pressure canning time for tomatoes was 10 min, beef was 40 min, and beans were 20 min, for example, then can for 70 min total?)(I just made up numbers here, for example's sake) I also saw a recipe where someone added raw beef chunks to a jar, cut up veggies and broth, then pressure canned it as beef stew. But nothing was cooked before hand and I thought that looked suspicious. The folks on this board have been extraordinarily helpful to me with my canning adventures, so I thought I'd start here.

My kids adore chicken soup, so I thought I'd start with that and add noodles after canning.

I must admit, I am curious to see what a canned cake or meatloaf looks like some time after it was canned, but I sure don't want to can it nor would I eat it!

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 2:37PM
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digdirt2(6b-7a No.Cent. AR HZ8 Sun-35)

Does this mean that I could safely can my own chili recipe,...

No sorry, first rule of safe canning is that you cannot safely can your own made-up recipes. Approved and tested recipe only. There are additional approved recipes for chili in the verified books.

You have no way of knowing if your recipe meets either the pH or the density requirements and no way of computing a safe processing time. So you use the tested recipes and then adjust as needed after opening the jars.

I also saw a recipe where someone added raw beef chunks to a jar, cut up veggies and broth, then pressure canned it as beef stew.

Meats may be canned raw or cooked. Raw beef chunks may be canned using the approved instructions for doing it but not with adding vegetables. That would change the ph, the density, and the processing time. Some folks believe they can throw anything they want to in a jar and then process it for 90-120 mins and it will be safe. It may be safe or it may not be but they don't care.

My kids adore chicken soup, so I thought I'd start with that and add noodles after canning.

Soup instructions.

Dave

    Bookmark   July 23, 2012 at 3:52PM
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