Welcome back to the Off-Grid Challenge!
This week we are tackling one of the hardest (at least in my opinion) things to wean ourselves off of....
When I read about what people in Virginia to Indiana are going through without power, it's just depressing to hear about all of the food being spoiled. I can't imagine watching all my meats and produce going to waste and not being able to do a thing about it.
Think about it, if you lost power, how much of your food reserves would be lost? I know that my family would be in trouble. In this and the next few posts, I will be addressing the issue with ideas of other methods for food preservation.
Week 7 Challenge: Weaning ourselves off the fridge.
This is a multi-step process, so don't be scared. I am doing this too so lets learn together.
First lets focus on what is probably the most expensive and vital items you keep in your freezers... meat. Right now we mostly have ground beef, so that is what I am going to focus on for this post.
Make a list of all the different ways you usually use your ground meat. Mine looks something like this:
browned for various casseroles
tacos, enchiladas, and burritos
Most of these dishes use browned meat, so if I were to can the bulk of my ground beef I could easily use it without having to change my cooking habits. If anything, canning beef would make cooking sooo much easier. A homemade convenience food that doesn't require electricity to store!
I browned about 5 pounds of ground beef with some onions. One filled pint will equal about a pound of browned meat. If you want to can taco meat, you can add spices and seasonings while you are browning. Once your meat is thoroughly cooked, fill your jars leaving an inch of headspace. Process using a pressure cooker.
I followed the directions given on the National Center for Home Food Preservation web site.
I processed the pints at 15 lbs. of pressure (for above 1000 above sea level) for 70 minutes. If you were canning quarts it would talk 90 minutes of processing. Once done, turn off heat and allow it to cool on its own. DON'T open the lid till the pressure is at zero.
So far so good! This is the first time I have canned meat so I am pretty excited. Looking to can more? Check out Canning Granny, she even cans bread! I haven't yet decided what I am going to do with the other 6 pounds of beef I have thawed. I am thinking canned meatballs. Mmmmmmm..
* Update: Someone asked what liquid I used to fill the jars. I used water, but you can use broth or tomato juice too. *
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