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You’ll be hooked, I tell you. Once you learn how to bottle your own meats, you’ll never go back to the old way of doing it.
Think about your meat habits. Do you put up a 1/2 beef in your freezer every year? Do you buy fresh from the butcher and take it home to prepare? Do you buy in bulk and freeze what you aren’t using right away? Do you buy canned meats? All of these practices have their own pros and cons. Today I’m going to share with you my top reasons for learning to can, or bottle, your own meats, and if you give it a try, your life will never be the same.
#1 – Save freezer space
For most people, freezer space is at a premium and often, it’s frozen meat that takes up most of the space. If we can get those meats out of that precious space and into a canning jar on a shelf then that space can be much better utilized for things like ice cream and otter pops. You know, the important stuff.
#2 – Buy in bulk
When we see a great ‘do-not-pass-up’ deal on meats, we’re able to take advantage of it by home-canning the meat. Buying a variety of meats on sale and then canning it means you and your family won’t have to eat the same meats again and again just to use it up before it gets freezer burn.
ZayconFresh meats come in 40-pound boxes and are the perfect quantity for freezing some to use in the near future and then can the remaining meat to use much later.
#3 – Use fuel you have now
In our everyday, non-emergency lives, we have fuel. We cook, heat and cool with it all the time and don’t think much about it. Many people have an emergency plan for power outages and figure they’ll just pull out the camp stove, propane, and then either cook or home can all the meat in the freezer at that point. I’m here to tell you that when things go crazy, there will be much more to worry about than canning your thawing meats. Why not take care of it now when you have the time, readily available fuel and energy to get it done?
#4 – You know what goes in the bottle
When you home can meat there are no hidden ingredients. You know exactly what goes in is what comes out. No artificial anything unless you are into that sort of thing. Then by all means, add those artificial ingredients!
#5 – Painless power outages
Cooking during a power outage is so simple with home-canned meats. They are already completely cooked through so we just add them to whatever recipe we are throwing together and heat it up. No extended cooking times, which use up precious alternative fuels. Another option is to drain the meat and then use it in something like chicken salad, a family favorite.
# 6 – Save money (really this reason alone should convince you)
Canned meats are expensive. Where I live a small tuna-sized can of chicken, 10 ounces, is about $3. With my large family, a meal gets pretty pricey buying canned meats, but I can bottle a whole quart (2 lbs) of chicken for about $3.00. I buy my chicken in bulk, usually 80 lbs at a time for less than $2 per pound, sometimes way less. Then I’m always eating sale price chicken. That 80 pounds will keep me until the next big sale when I just rinse and repeat.
#7 – Save time
With the meats thoroughly cooked by home canning, we’ve eliminated a lot of the time involved with meal prep. It does take time to can the meats but that’s a concentrated and efficient amount of time that is scheduled for another day. At dinner time I can pop open a can of cooked chicken or ground beef, and that makes recipe prep SO much easier and quicker.
#8 – Save brain cells
I’m not much into advance planning when it comes to daily meal times, but I’m working on that with this plan for menu planning. With all our meat kept in the freezer, I have to think at least 8-10 hours ahead — know what I’m making ahead of time and making sure the meat or chicken is thawed out in time. Often, I get busy and right around 5 p.m. start panicking because nothing is thawed out. At times like this, I can open a can of canned meats and have a meal on the table in about 20 minutes because all I have to do is assemble and heat it through.
#9 – Save the planet
Okay, we’re not really saving the planet, but canning jars are reusable so at least we’re not contributing to the landfill by using cans. When you first begin home canning food, there is a little bit of an investment to get started if you buy new jars and lids, but they can also be found at yard-sales, thrift stores, or just ask around your neighborhood. You might find an elderly neighbor who is happy to pass along their bottles to someone who will put them to good use.
#10 – Less waste
Canning jars come in all sizes. Use the size that your family will eat in one meal. At my house we use both quarts and pints for chicken and beef because sometimes the meal will be for all of us and sometimes the kids are off doing kid stuff and it’s just mom dad and the littles at home.
BONUS #11 – Satisfaction
In a world where we can hire almost everything out, there is something to be said for the satisfaction of doing it ourselves. Self-reliance in skills and knowledge brings a peace that cannot come any other way. Providing for our families is our number one job and doing it well is a wonderful thing.
Are you convinced yet? If you’re ready to jump in take a look at THIS ARTICLE with basic instructions for getting started with canning chicken. Don’t be afraid of the number of steps. I just broke it down into tiny baby steps so anyone can do it. Give it a try and let me know how it goes or if you have questions. You’ll wonder why you didn’t do it sooner.
Lisa’s note: I buy meat and chicken in bulk through Zaycon foods. The chicken breasts are fresh and about twice the size of those at the grocery store. I highly recommend Zaycon bacon, ground beef, and chicken. Click here for more info.
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