There are two schools of thought when it comes to preserving food: canning and freezing. Some only can, others only freeze, I prefer a combination. I will freeze certain vegetables (corn, broccoli), but for a majority of my preserving I prefer canning. Although it is a little more time consuming, I like being able to grab something off of the shelf that I need, rather than worrying about having to plan ahead and thaw it out. For me the upfront work is worth the added convenience later.
The canning process will be the same no matter what you're preserving until you reach the end and have to use a pressure canner, or can get away with a water bath. Simple rule of thumb: if the food is acidic (i.e tomatoes, pickled veggies, sweets) then you can get away with a water bath (or nothing at all). The acidity in the food itself will ward off bacteria. If the food is alkaline (i.e potatoes, meat, stock, beans), processing in a pressure canner is required. In this case beef stock, or any kind of stock for that matter is alkaline, so I will be using a pressure canner to ensure a proper seal.
There are two rules you need to follow when canning anything. Hot clean jars filled with hot liquid or food. Fill a hot jar with a cool liquid; the jar can break. Fill a cool jar with a hot liquid; the jar can break. Fill a cool jar with a cool liquid; you could have some sterilization issues. So, simple concept : hot jars filled with hot liquid or food.
So let's get this party started shall we?
Step by step process:
Warming up the jars in the sink before they hit the simmering water will ensure that they don't break.
2. Get your stock simmering in a pot. It doesn't need to be at a boil, a light simmer will suffice. It just needs to be hot.
4. Repeat this process until your stock is gone.
5. Based on the size, brand, and age of your pressure canner the amount of water that has to be added as well as the general operation will vary. Be sure to carefully read your canner's owners manual to determine how to operate yours properly.
6. Process the stock at 10 pounds of pressure for 20 minutes for half pints and pints, and 20 pounds of pressure for 25 minutes for quarts.
7. When pressure has released and it is safe to remove the jars, place them on a tea towel, cutting board, etc (something that isn't cold so the jars don't break) and leave them undisturbed.
8. Check the tops after the jars have fully cooled (several hours later). Store in a cool, dark place. If any jars have not sealed either put them back in the pressure canner or the refrigerator and use within a couple of days.
9. HAPPY CANNING!
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