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When you hear the phrase “canned meat”, do you think of Spam and questionable meats in strange liquids? Well, you can stop. Canning meat is a time-honored tradition in many cultures today. People all over the world preserve meat to survive their environment and stick to a homesteading lifestyle.
Many of us often wrinkle our noses at the sight of homemade canned meat, yet we don’t think twice about the process store-bought meat goes through before reaching shelves. If you are still on the fence about canning your own meat, check out these reasons you should give it a try.
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1. Rising Meat Prices
One of the big reasons to consider canning meat is shown by your grocery receipt. You may have noticed that meat prices are soaring right now, and who knows when (or if) they will ever come down? A large bag of frozen chicken from the club stores was less than $20 a year ago, only closer to $30+ today.
While inflation continues to rise, buying meat from the store limits what else you can afford to feed your family. Canning purchased meat from the store may be a good reason to stockpile it now before the price goes even higher. Consider buying meat in bulk or purchasing a pig or part of a cow from a local farmer to save on rising meat prices.
2. Save Freezer Space
All of us like to use our freezers to help save things for the future. However, it is easy to stock a freezer full with little room for other items. Many homesteaders have multiple freezers, but there is often little to no room left in them on a regular basis.
Canning your own meat allows you to save that freezer space for other items that absolutely require the freezer. Foods like butter, ice cream, and bread are all things that do well in the freezer but can’t be canned for the future.
Also, frozen meat spends more time in the freezer because it isn’t something you will use daily. Many cuts of meat, especially the larger ones, can sit in the bottom of the freezer for months, taking up valuable space.
3. Create Easy Meals
Canning meat is a great time saver because you already have meat ready to be cooked for meals. The protein is already cut up and easy to pull from the shelf and add to a dish.
You don’t have to worry about defrosting the meat or wondering if the meat in the back of the fridge has taken a turn. Just pop the top and add it to a pan to create a quick and easy meal in just a few minutes!
Another idea is to create different flavor profiles of meat to help cut down on prep time. When browning up ground beef, why not add some taco seasoning to make taco meat? You could create pre-seasoned protein for other family favorite meals as well.
4. Shelf Stable
Many homesteaders choose to preserve meat because it makes it shelf-stable. Those freezers are reliant on power, and sometimes the power goes out. Canning meat allows you to create healthy food for the family without any added upkeep.
Having shelf-stable proteins is essential in a survival situation. Just keep the cans of meat in a cool and dry area, and you’ll be set. Most canned meats can last on the shelf for about 2-5 years, and some homesteaders choose to use them even longer after processing.
5. Control the Ingredients
Another big reason people choose to can their meat comes down to flavor and seasonings. When you preserve the meat yourself, you have control over what kind of flavors and ingredients go into the can.
This is great for those who have dietary restrictions or want more control over our food. Add in all of the herbs, spices, and other ingredients that you know your family loves.
There are also a lot of added ingredients to canned meat that also may not be necessary. When preserving the meat, you get to choose what to add and, more importantly, what not to add instead of big food companies choosing for you.
6. Higher Quality Meat
Canning meat also allows you to choose higher cuts of beef, pork, poultry, and fish for the future. The canned meat that you get at the store is often the leftovers of premium cuts of meat that are sold separately in the meat section.
When you can your own meat, you can save all of those tasty cuts of protein for another day if desired.
7. Unprocessed Proteins
Meat available in the market comes from a large producer. This means that the ground beef that you purchase is usually a mix of different animals. All of the meat is combined together from the animals before packaging.
If you choose to harvest your own animals, it allows you to can the meat from a single animal at a time. This means the meat isn’t crossed with any contaminants and reduces the chance that a questionable animal becomes part of your dinner.
8. Protect from Disease or Outbreaks
Poultry costs a lot right now because of the current bird flu that is creeping up all around the world. When you raise your own chickens and separate them from wild birds, the chances of them contracting a global virus are low.
There are many reasons to consider canning meat in this economy. Not only are prices soaring at the grocery store, but supply chain issues and fuel costs also come into play. Canning your own meat allows you to be in control of your family’s protein source while also ensuring that there is meat for meals in the future.
Canning meat also allows you to control what goes into your meal in terms of flavor, prime cuts, and knowing that the meat is from a single animal source. Hopefully, these reasons to can meat have inspired you to get started.
If you want to learn more, our sister site just published a guide on how to can beef.
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