I've had my pressure canner so long, I don't rightly remember where I got it. I think one of my neighbors may have given it to me when we first came out here. I do know, I certainly knew nothing about canning until then. She came over and taught me how. Since then I've canned up meats more than anything else - fish mostly, bear and moose too, some. When we moved here and my garden was in full swing, I'd can up things like carrots, turnips, and maybe beets. Yeah, I had potatoes too, but with two growing boys to feed, just storing them in a corner worked well enough, plus, those left over come spring went back into the garden as the next crop.
Since then, I've canned up salmon far more often than anything else. It's simple and I've taken to cutting the filets in chunks large enough to roll up and slide down into the jar rather than cutting them into one-inch cubes. It saves time and the end result is exactly the same. (and I'm lazy)
This year, what with us facing my having no job and no income to buy supplies with, we decided we'd be canning up as much fish as possible and then maybe shooting a moose and canning that up too.
Once was the time when I had this nice big freezer and such would just go there, but, a couple years ago my nice big freezer went belly up, and since it's just us two old fogies, getting another big freezer was beyond us. There wasn't any young guy muscle around to help get it out of the plane, into the boat, out of the boat, onto the 4-wheeler trailer, and finally up the half dozen steps and into the house. Course if we'd gotten a big one, it wouldn't have come into the house, but that's a small detail. Anyway, I had to rethink winter supplies. No more frozen vegetables. Not nearly as much frozen fish. And moose? probably not at all. One moose is too much meat for just us two anyway.
Come the end of July, I got a job at another lodge, and within a couple weeks they were talking about what to do with the leftover supplies. The biggest idea they were putting forward was give it to me, much to my delight. When it got down to the nitty-gritty, my boss, who sees everything in $$$ offered that the supplies would be instead of a bonus. Since I hadn't expected any kind of bonus, that was certainly fine with me.
Among other things, I ended up with lots of eggs, lots of bread, and lots of potatoes. The bread is outside in a cooler and we're going through it as fast as possible. We're hoping it freezes before they go bad. The eggs are in my little frig and I change out the ice frequently. We're trying to go through them ASAP too. Lots of fried egg sandwiches and such haha.
Before all was said and done, another lodge out there also gave us some leftovers, and then I had even more potatoes. Well, with a freezer that was now full, and knowing that there was no way we would go through all those potatoes. I decided to see about canning them up.
My recipe was to peal them, dice them up into 1/2 inch cubes and keep in salted water until there's enough cut up for a batch. There was also a cooking step involved before jarring and then pressure cooking for 35 minutes. Being admittedly lazy, I wanted to bypass most of that so I read further. My book also said that hot packing and cold packing was a matter of choice - what a relief. My next decision was whether to peal or not and if I really wanted to cut them into such small pieces. The answer was no, I didn't.
I told my husband that if he wanted them pealed, he'd need to help. He's not helping so they're not getting pealed. To satisfy the salt requirement in the recipe, which was only to keep them from turning brown, I decided 1/4 tsp of kosher salt per jar wouldn't be too much, besides, most of the time, the water would be discarded for final cooking, and if not, it would be diluted. A friend of mine said she used 1 tsp salt per jar, so I guess I haven't overdone it.
The day I planned to finally start, a neighbor stopped by while I was down at the river looking at the water level. Guess what he brought me. A BIG burlap sack FULL of potatoes. Ha!! Do I have enough jars? We'll see.
At this point, I'm about half way through that bag and I have 3 1/2 cases of pint jars left. So what will I run out of first, jars or potatoes? I figure if I run out of pint jars first, I can still use quart jars, I got lots of those too. I'm also thinking I might add spam to them and make them a ready-made meal. I'm not sure how the spam will hold up to more canning, but I'll make that decision when I get that far.
If you're curious about my recipe for bear and moose (it's the same for either one).
Caution: That's sweet black bear meat, NOT grizzly. Grizzly is a carrion eater and the saying goes, 'you are what you eat'. The grizzly is a prime example of that. Therefore, it is fit for little more than hide, claws and possibly teeth.
>>---> 1tsp each paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, & salt per quart jar of meat.
I put these in the bottom of the jar so the simmering can carry the flavor up through the meat. I have also packed my jars (to measure) then dumped each one into a bowl, added spices and given it a good tumble to coat, and then back into the jar. Either way works just fine.
Keep in mind that both moose and bear are very rich meats, and once canned, the best use in my opinion, is some sort of stew. Also, you don't need to use as much moose or bear in your recipe as you might use beef or pork. It can easily overpower your meal.
The favorite way I use my canned fish is to make fish burgers. To do that, I add 1 egg (to pint jar of fish) and a fistful of flour, then I shape them into patties. You can make two fat patties, or 3 not so fat patties, or 4 rather small patties. Up to you.