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Saturday, June 24, 2017

canning meat


CANNING MEAT

I went to see if the Survival Acres guy was going to keep publishing his blog and for three days his site was inaccessible.  On the forth you just got a redirect back to the food sales site.  Okay, no big deal, he’s taken vacations from writing before as it seems his audience doesn’t quite share his aversion to Gore Warming.  I thought he was great, one of the few survivalists concerned with real systematic collapse-not just some pussy prepper concerned with preaching soft collapse to make a buck ( I finally had to remove Rawles from my bookmarked sites.  I just couldn’t stand it anymore, after a dozen years.  The blog has been in marked decline for a long while but it just got too contrived and mediocre even by my loose standards where I’ll read almost anyone if they can deliver ideas for my writing ), and so I happily read him, or wait for him, as he might wish.  But while I was at the food site I was looking around, seeing if perhaps he had hidden his newsletter in another format and I decided, hey, my blood pressure hasn’t spiked for a few minutes, let’s take a look at the cost of canned meat.  WOW!

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The cheapest freeze dried meat was $35 and most went from $40, $45 and up.  The fresh wet packed was $7 a pound.  I’m not sure how much reconstituted weight you get from freeze dried, but I’m going to go out on a limb and say it is more than $7 a pound.  You are paying for that “Thirty Year Shelf Life” ( as long suffering well sodomized readers might recall from my earlier work, after Y2K the Food Bank received a lot of still very fresh freeze dried foods as donations.  Across the board they did not taste at all like real meat, nor did quite a few even turn back into an edible product.  Hungry homeless hippos did not care for the dishes, and they were drunk half the time so as to have very low standards.  But you feel free to ignore that warning and buy away ).  For the life of me, I can’t understand why folks want to buy this commercialized mockery of meat.  You do understand that in a wet can, the net weight INCLUDES the broth it is in, yes?  You do recall me telling you of the Great Can Reduction Scam whereas the dry weight of ingredients shrunk ( a can of corn from an earlier date would contain, say, thirteen ounces of kernels after the water was drained, and a newer can only containing eleven or twelve.  The NET weight on the outside of the can didn’t change )?  I worked in the food bank for over ten years, if you include the total time in the Carson City as well as the Elko one.  I think I have a better handle on some of these things than others.  Such as being an indicator of both general costs and general economic conditions.  Gaze upon my wisdom and tremble, oh unworthy minions!

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That was a joke, by the way, you humor impaired bastards.  If you can’t enjoy yourself during the collapse you are going to die miserable.  Hell, you’re going to die anyway.  Stop fighting it.  Prepare like you won’t, just in case, but live like you are.  You want to act all superior, fine.  Me, I’m going to see the humor in my enemies crushed alongside me.  Anyway, let’s take $7 a pound as the bare minimum.  That is five times what fresh meat costs, and twice what it costs to can it yourself.  Twice.  I know most of you don’t care about that, gladly trading the money for the extra longevity of a metal can and a professional process, but remember that is a MINIMUM price disadvantage.  More likely you will end up paying a larger price premium.  If you buy your own pressure canner, which will also can that butter by the way ( rather than using a potentially dangerous bath can ), you’ll easily get its cost down to twenty five cents a can at most.  Even with quality control going out the window on most things these days, you should be able to can three hundred jars prior to a gasket replacement, and it shouldn’t cost that in propane ( I was getting 110 hours per five gallon tank, which only holds about four pounds of gas, on my heater, a mere ten cents an hour ) per jar.  It isn’t unreasonable to count the cost of canner, cans with lids and gas at under $1.50 total.  That isn’t even buying in bulk.  And I live in a higher cost location as I’m remote.

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I can buy brown meat chicken all week long for under $1.00 a pound and waiting for sales I can find boneless pork for half again that.  Sometimes even hamburger.  But even splurging, a can of meat from your kitchen isn’t going to go over $4 a pound all costs added.  $3 is possible at least some of the time.  If you pre-cook the meat in the microwave, that cost is probably so negligible it isn’t trackable ( six minutes being 100 watts, so figure one and a half cents a pound ).  Now, I understand this isn’t a metal can.  It is glass, a bit more fragile.  Are you planning on juggling the cans, or the ceiling caving in?  The fact that you can reuse the jars should make up for their fragility ( no one advises re-using the lids, but if you must-setting aside the issue of having the specialized units which are re-useable, or not-boiling the lids to soften the rings might work at times.  I’ve even read of adding baking soda to that water but cannot vouch for that.  I’d seriously look into Tattler brand lids however.  It seems a shame to not be able to reuse the jars other than for dry goods ). 

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I’m in no hurry to invest in home canning myself, but I also acknowledge the inevitability of a near future being one of vegetarianism.  If you have the resources, why not go for it?  Why would you settle for canned meat being so much more expensive?  Yes, commercial cans are a good ten years shelf life ( at a minimum.  Without a climate controlled storage area they will start to get serious rust about that date.  Otherwise, wet canned meat should outlast a freeze dried product.  Wet canned food doesn’t go bad, it only loses vitamins.  Meat should lose very little ).  I understand that home cans don’t last nearly as long.  But even if after just two years you have issues with its longevity, you can simply rotate the meat in your daily diet.  You can’t call that an extra cost, not really, as it also serves as a replacement for a good amount of freezer meat.  It is an insurance policy if your freezer dies.  You are only paying for a new lid and gas costs, only a quarter to thirty five cents to replace the meat at the end of its life ( you’re not paying for new storage meat as you are eating it anyway for dinner ).  So, every two years you pay a penalty.  A buck every six years.  You are still then only paying $5 a pound rather than $7 plus.  While having a large meat stash for a dozen years. 

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You can look at it as stocking up on dinner meat for two years, yet also having two years of storage meat from day one of the collapse.  Granted, that is a huge investment.  A thousand bucks in equipment and processing and another two grand in meat.  But if you are thinking of it that way, how many #10 cans of freeze dried food can you buy for that?  Ninety cans-that is it.  Fifteen cases.  That won’t last you two years of nightly eating.  You don’t need the money up front, just the canner, a case of jars and ten pounds of meat at a time.  $100 or under up front cost, then $25-$35 at a time.  A good steak costs $20 a pack for raw meat for a barbeque, and here for about the same you get two weeks of dinner meat, now or after the collapse.  If you spend $3 a day in two years you have two years of worth of cooked canned meat that doesn’t need refrigeration.  I’m not suggesting you spend that prior to the $300 it will take to buy two years of wheat, but later as a very nice supplement.  Amortized costs will add almost no recognizable cost increase, and you have peace of mind ( plus a new skill ).

END

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29 comments:

  1. Meat for food storage.

    1st Tier: Freezer full of meat bought on sale. I live off-grid with solar panels so I don't have to worry about a power outage. If the batteries fail, I have more than enough canning jars and lids to process the contents of the freezer.

    2nd Tier: Home canned meat. I have canned chicken, turkey, venison, beef, pork, and ham. Right now we are eating meat canned back in 2010 and it's still fine. Granted I keep mine in
    a cool root cellar that stays between 35-60 degrees.

    I would NOT can ham again. The salt and smoke flavor gets really condensed. It's okay for soups where it gets watered down but doesn't taste good straight out of the jar.

    For beef, I buy London Broil on sale for around $2.77 a pound -- no bones and not much fat. A pound of meat will fill a pint jar. Make sure you trim off as much fat as possible. Excessive fat can degrade the rubber gaskets on the canning jar lids.

    When pressure canning, the salt is only for flavor so you can cut the salt in half or omit it all together if necessary. Personally, I only use half the amount of salt.

    For poultry, I can both raw chicken bought on sale and cooked turkey that is salvaged off the baked bird. With the raw stuff, I don't even add extra water. I just stuff the raw chucks of meat into the jar, add a little salt, and pressure can. There is enough juice that comes out during the canning process. For the pre-cooked meat, I will add chicken broth to cover the turkey chunks.

    3rd Tier: Store bought meat such as tuna, clams, ham chunks, chicken, pork (Costco had some really inexpensive pork chunks.) And I still have some bacon that I picked up in 1999 when it was under $2 a can at K-mart. I'm tempted to sell it on eBay as a novelty. Not sure that I would trust the bacon after all these years. Please explain to me how K-mart was able to sell canned bacon off the shelf for under $2 a can but now of days, Yoders wants almost $20!?!?!

    4th tier: Freeze Dried Meats. I have been buying a case of freeze dried meat every year for the last several years. I usually find some on sale through Emergency Essentials for around $25 to $30 a can. Yeah, it's expensive but I just budget out for my one case (six cans) a year. I plan to use it for soups and for flavoring various dishes. It should add a nice protein boost to go along with all the wheat, rice, and noodles I have stored.

    My extreme long term food storage is based around providing a nice meal of soup and bread every day. I can live a long time on homemade soup and bread. Plus, soup can be made with whatever you have on hand.

    On a side note, I recommend that those that have the space should plant some lovage. In my area (growing zone 4), it's a perennial that is easy to grow. (Just make sure you trim off the flowers, or the seeds will plant themselves everywhere.) In the summer, I harvest the leaves, dry them, and store the crushed, dried leaves in gallon glass jars. It has a flavor similar to celery. When making soup, I just add a large handful to every pot. Easy to grow, easy to dry, easy to store, and it taste good. Grow it!

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. Every year a class of MBA's graduate. The bottom of the class goes to work for K-Mart, since it saves money. Then they do all kinds of dumbass things that cost three times the savings. The canned bacon was perhaps thought to be a loss leader to bring in holiday shoppers. Or they thought they'd get ;last minute Y2K folks who would buy the regular priced cans and dry goods ( I'd imagine they were pushing the Super K to compete with the Super Wally ). Great plan, but one of the dumb asses priced it too low. Cans of meat 100 years old were found to still be edible. I think bacon would still be okay.

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    2. Thanks for the tip about the fat trimming Idaho Homesteader! very important to know.

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  2. Here's the link to the "Reusing Canning Jar Lids" article I wrote for your blog.

    http://bisonprepper.blogspot.com/2016/02/guest-article_19.html

    Idaho Homesteader

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    1. Thanks, I'm going to re-read. I can usually never find anything here. Pretty sad.

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    2. thanks, idaho, i printed it.
      i bought some tattlers but haven't used them.
      heard some were troubled by them not sealing.

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  3. Or... Great Value canned chicken 2-packs go for $3.54 at my Walmart. Net weight is 25 oz. Assuming 25% of that is water, it still works out to $2.83/lb for the chicken.

    I'm guessing this unknown source chicken is probably about as good as unknown source "fresh" chicken available for for $1/lb.

    Another option, one that I think you suggested a couple months ago, might be to home can $1/pack chicken hot dogs. On a $/calorie basis, an even better deal than commercial or home canned chicken, thanks to the fat content.

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    1. Be careful on Wally cans. Just saw a YouTube where the Wally generic Spam lost its seal after just a couple of years. The condensed milk was barely condensed. Those humpers will kill you for profit.

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    2. I think the porky-pig hot dogs (Bar-S brand out here) are even a better value than chicken, calorie-wise... still about $1/lb on sale.. Those giant shit-hole hog farms in Caroline keep the 'other white meat' - 'not you, Kathy'- pretty cheap... for now.

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    3. about walmart tinned chicken, i think its color is a bit suspicious.
      dog nor cat will lick the liquid from it and some of the cats won't taste the meat. the others eat it but not with gusto.
      i have to pour off the liquid and rinse the meat thoroughly to get any takers.
      makes me wonder about it.

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    4. Neilm- I tried an experiment with my dried hot dogs. They were WAY too salty, so I soaked in water for fifteen minutes, drained and soaked another fifteen. They still stayed nice and firm but had almost no saltiness.
      DH-they always tasted like the tin flavored the meat. So bad I saved the cans for apocalypse barter rather than eat them on the weekend out at the B-POD. I eat very little out of Wally, anymore. Kroger is cheaper and less quality issues. Wally can suck my dimpled pasty wrinkled ass.

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  4. Sometimes I wish you'd just do the Reader's Digest version of your posts. But every once-in-awhile, you spout pure gold. Today's article was excellent, and replete with usable information.

    Thanks!

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    1. Everyone does condensed versions. I feel like I'm being different. Well, C5 ( green mountain survival ) does nice and long tirades-love that guy-but not that often, pretending he has a real life.

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  5. I got a stock of tattler lids I lost seal on one out of five. Yes I followed instructions. Not worth the time or money. Canning is time intensive due to the small batches. It is a luxury. Real world survival, I'll freeze, dry, or do without.

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    1. I started to YouTube meat preservation, and the salt cure/hang seems pretty darn simple. I don't know if you want to eat that exclusively, of course. Well, Tattler SEEMED like a bargain, but if you include the failures I can't see an alternative to ten-fifteen cent disposable lids, dammit.

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    2. It seems like salt preservation might be one of the simpler methods. Don’t quote me on this, since I’m going only from memory, but I once read of salt preserved meat from the 1800’s that was still good.

      As a thought experiment, I was considering experimenting with the soy dogs, providing that I could get them cheap enough. I was thinking of pickling them, since it’s such a simple process. After all, they are a vegetable, so it’s not much different than a cucumber.

      I’ve mentioned it before, but you don’t seem too keen on the idea, and that’s Sardines. They’re a $1 a can, and that’s paying full price for them at a store like Safeway. You could probably get a crate of them at Costco for $.50 a can. They’re actually not as bad as most people think that they are. I thought that I would hate them, but was pleasantly surprised. I don’t think that you can your own meat for anywhere near that price, but admittedly, I’m not an expert in such matters.

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    3. Sardines are okay taste wise. On a cracker, actually very good. But to me, they don't satisfy my protein craving ( yet, butter and cheese do, so I wonder how much is protein and how much is fat craving ) and so I consider them a waste of money. That is just personal preference. By this point, I don't even really advice any canned products, a two hundred year old industry that is suffering from Peak Energy and Peak Iron Ore and so is on the downside of viability.

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    4. After living a back-to-the-land lifestyle for over twenty years, I now can very little. It's a lot of work during the hottest time of year.

      So now on a yearly basis, I only can 40+ gallons of apple cider, some jam, a couple dozen jars of dilly beans, a couple dozen jars of meat to rotate and replace what was used, and maybe a few jars of spaghetti sauce if I have a good tomato year in North Idaho.

      My favorite way to store food is root cellaring. It's a lot less work and the food is fresh. I store onions, garlic, carrots, beets, potatoes, celery, apples, winter squash, pumpkins, and a few cabbages.

      I also dry some venison jerky and Apple slices over the wood stove using the stackable cookie cooling racks.

      Idaho Homesteader

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    5. Not to try to step on any toes here, but ever since wife #3 in Oklahoma canned during a hot and humid week, I've always wondered-why? If you don't have an enclosed porch or other outside area, why can inside?

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    6. "Why can inside...."

      Because I haven't been able to get hubby to build me an outdoor kitchen. LOL

      Seriously though, my house has tile floors and after the cool mountain nights, it's usually cooler in my house than outside.

      Cider is canned in late September, so it's usually not too hot. I usually freeze my berries during the summer and can my jam in late winter/early spring.

      Lard is rendered outside. There is absolutely NO way I would want to do that indoors. What a mess that would make in my kitchen! We always butcher our pigs in the fall anyways. Though I haven't raised pigs for a couple of years. My freezer is too full.

      Meat is usually done during hunting season (November) or around Thanksgiving (when turkeys are cheap).

      Again, I root cellar produce more than I can.

      Idaho Homesteader

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    7. Daily ingestion of tinned fish of some sort is part of the spouses weight loss diet. So that implies that tinned fish, while good for some vitamins and possibly protein, is far to low in calories for post collapse.

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    8. I think the root cellaring does make more sense, but you know how I feel about cooked veggies. Mom's picked veggies were divine, of course, but that's not really the same thing.

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  6. Excellent post, your costs do reflect living in the states on price per pound.. we can only dream of those types of low costs in regards to meat in the big city stores. Move further out into the country or north and the prices just keep going higher, until or unless you hunt game only.

    Even raising my own meat, with using my own hay, pasture, fodder grown crops an locally sourced grains, I can not bring my meat down to your costs per pound

    But I can certainly bring it well under your five to seven, I do lot of canning, averaging 1200 to 1500 jars per year an I can lots of meat.

    With proper storage, you are going to get way beyond your two year date

    While I do eat my storage and rotate for sure, I also do storage checks.. so far my oldest canned meat stored properly in my cellar is six years (while I am starting to have rust issues with the lids, the seal is holding and the meat is good. I am currently do a two year and on going test to see what happens if you wax the seals after they are canned, cold, washed and then only the top is dipped into canning wax to seal and prevent the rust from happening..

    Its a longer term project and we will see.. I have side by side jars to check yearly for five years to see how they go.

    One of the biggest issues with canned meat that I see is that in almost all cases, we remove as much fat as possible from the meat for the process, which leads to great seals, improved storage quality but it also means that most of the meats coming out of the jar are very lean.

    And if you are raising your own meats on a more natural diet to keep costs down, they are going into the jar leaner then "factor" farmed meats to begin with.

    Producing quality fats is by far a bigger challenge where I live then producing lean protein.

    and speaking of canning, I need to get busy processing strawberries and garlic Scrapes today.. Cheers and look forward to your rambling post tomorrow!



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    1. Is homemade lard problematic for long term storage? The lean meats also concerned me, if for daily use if nothing else.

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  7. It depends on the type of fat, goose fat can be processed in a way that it stays good for years, but chicken has a short three to six month shelf life.

    Pork fat done right will hold very well, but its always a wetter fat then tallow, I can clean beef to the point it will hold for years in the jars and I can clean lamb tallow to the point that I have used it for candle making.

    If you are doing nose to tail eating, you can bring a lot of fats into the diet that way but that is assuming you have live animals to process.

    My own fat backups away from animal fats are nut tree's that I have planted on the farm and storage of coconut oil which so far is holding up very well to date.

    I also make Ghee as a shelf stable dairy based fat but I would lose access to a large dairy animal very quickly as it would be one of the first I would butcher off.. and while I would hope to have sheep milk it would not give me the same ability for large scale Ghee put up like cow does

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    1. At least you aren't clinging to a cow economy like the colony in Greenland did :)

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  8. Regarding long term storage of home processed lard:

    I rendered my own lard from pigs I raised. After melting, I would just pour the hot melted lard into hot jars, add a lid, and it would seal as it cooled.

    Stored in my root cellar (35-60*) it would store for a good year. We usually used it up by then so I don't know if it would store for longer.

    I've had very good luck storing extra virgin olive oil in tins down in my root cellar. The tin I'm currently using is over five years old.

    Idaho Homesteader

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  9. I'd think commercial (hydrogenated) lard, or vegetable (Crisco) shortening would keep really well if canned properly - or maybe just vaccuum sealed. Glass jars would be good for keeping the critters out.

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    1. Crisco lasted five years and was still good, no special packaging. Wasn't there an article about an old WWII metal can of shortning still good decades later? Or am I remembering wrong? Not sure how long they've been using the process.

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