Canning Meat

The Pros and Cons of Canning Meat

Canning meat can be a great way to save money.  Given these hard economic times, every little bit of savings can really make a difference.  One of the ways to do this is to buy meat at a discount.  Supermarkets anxious to unload old food items will often mark down perishable items such as meat in an attempt to unload them before they pass the final expiration date.  Unfortunately, many of these deals often depend on you buying a larger quantity of meat than you may be able to consume before this meat spoils.

The Pros and Cons of Freezing Meat

The answer, of course, is to either freeze the meat or can it.  Freezing the meat is certainly the easier solution in terms of labor and perhaps initial cost.  The problem, however, has to do with space and energy savings.  If you have a large quantity of meat in your freezer, many other items will not be able to fit there.  You could invest in an icebox that you keep in your garage.  This is not a bad idea, but it comes with certain drawbacks as well.  It too takes up space, but it also will also make a dent in your power bill.  Keeping an extra appliance of this size running 24/7 will create a sharp spike in your energy consumption.

The Advantages of Canning Meat

Canning meat, on the other hand, has its advantages and disadvantages as well.  First, canning meat is more time consuming.  You will have to take some time learning how to can—it is not quite as easy as bagging something up and throwing it into the freezer.  The process itself, even after you do learn it, takes a certain amount of time regardless of how proficient you become at getting the meat ready and operating the canning machine.

Second, there is an initial start up cost when it comes to canning and there are minor costs involved in the purchase of the actual canning materials.  The primary cost of buying the canning machine is nowhere near as bad as that of buying an icebox for you home.  You can also reduce this cost by looking for a secondhand machine.  In addition, your continuing costs are so minor that they are barely worth mentioning.  In fact, from an environmental standpoint, canning is much easier on the environment than freezing meat because canning requires less power and thus leaves less of an ecological footprint.

Third, many people praise canning as both a healthier and a more flavorful way of preserving food.  The freezing process seems to deaden many of the tastes that you get from fresh meat and to kill off much of the nutritional value.  Canning, on the other hand, does not keep the fullest of tastes, but canned meat is in many cases still more flavorful than meat that has been frozen and thawed.  In addition, because you usually cut the fat out during the canning process, you tend to get a leaner, healthier meat out of the can, as opposed to the freezer.

Tips for Finding a Canner for Canning Meat

One of the best tips for finding a pressure canner for canning meat at a cheaper cost than buying new is to go to second hand or thrift stores regularly.  What you will tend to find is that an old-timer, usually someone who was young during the Great Depression—had a canner but then died and his or her family gave away the canner along with many of the grandparent’s other possessions.  The kids simply didn’t know how to use the canner.  Tough economic times however, are reviving this lost art.  This is because people begin to value money savers like these when times are toughest.

Be sure to check that the device still works.  Look dinks, corrosion or other signs of deterioration.  Ask to do a test run in the store, if possible.  If everything looks good, you are likely to have found a great money saving option.