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ecomumof4

jar preserving.?

Does anyone preserve meat or fish in jars? I'm looking at preserving, and obviously I want to be as safe as possible.
I keep reading about water bath and pressure methods for different pH levels of food and I wondering if I'm going to have to buy a pressure canner .
Toddy

I make potted hough….it's sealed in a jar with a layer of fat on top.
It has a very long provenance, long before Kilner jars were available. Folks used to do it using stoneware pots.

I do use the kilner jars with the two part lids (damned expensive if you can't find them on a good sale somewhere …Dunelm are selling off their Christmas ones dirt cheap just now, 45p I paid for packs of 12 inner seals ) for soup, curry and the like when I've made too much.
I just boil them up in a big pot for 20minutes, and just keep tightening the bands as they cool down.

So far, I haven't poisoned anyone and I've been doing it for yonks. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of 'blown' jars I've had in all those years too.

Toddy
Rena

How do you make the potted hough? I'm very interested!
Toddy

Take one beef hough….that's the shin to the English, I don't know what it is to the Americans  

Ask the butcher to cut it into slices if you can; right through the bone.
If you get a whole one, just break it so that the bone is exposed.

Rinse it to remove any bone chips or dust from the saw, then just cover it in water and either put it into a pressure cooker for about 40 minutes….I usually do that and just let it cool down on it's own….or bring to the boil and simmer low and slow virtually all day.

When you start it boiling there'll be a frothy scum rises, just spoon that off, and then start to cook properly.

It needs the meat to literally fall apart; it needs all that cartilaginous stuff to turn to gelatine.
Remove from the pot, and fork the meat off the bones. One fork to hold it steady and one to shred. You want wee slivers, not mince.

If you've simmered low and slow there'll be almost no liquid left. If you've pressure cooked then there'll be more than ample.

I generally season (salt and loads of ground black pepper, and a bit of ground allspice) the hough before I cook it, and then add some more pepper once I've forked the meat off the bone. Some folks just season at the start or the end. Personal choice that bit.

Spoon off the fat from the top of the liquid, and keep it aside. The seasoned taste filled gelatinous jus that's left is needed to soak around the meat and let it set.

It's a by eye thing this. I don't want too much jelly and I don't want too little. You can't make a bad dish from it if you get it wrong just a rather meat filled one or a wobbly one

Stir the jus back into the meat and then spoon the mixture into small ashets or ramkins or bowls. Put them somewhere cool to set. If I know it's not going to be eaten within three or four days (unlikely, but we all get busy) then I melt down the fat and pour it over the nearly set potted hough. That seals it.

In the past when folks weren't 'quite' so convinced that fat was a bad thing, they made the jelly as clear as they could, and then once the ashet was three quarters full the poured the hot jus and fat over the top and as it cooled the fat rose and sealed it very well indeed.
I suspect that's how folk first learned to seal with fat. It was just part of the process. Gives a three layer terrine sort of look to it with a rather fatty layer as the 'cap'.

Incidentally, as the meat is lifted out off the bones, take the bones and a wee knife and scoop out the marrow. If folks like meat they'll love that on fresh toast

It's not a cup and ounces type recipe making potted hough, it's simply cook up the hough until it falls apart, season to suit, spoon into the dishes and top then leave it aside to cool and set.

Usually it's eaten on oatcakes or served with potatoes and green veggies, maybe with neeps.
My husband likes his sliced on toast. Some folks serve wedges with salad.

In Scotland it's made with beef, but there's no reason it couldn't be made from pigs, or sheep or goats. I've done it from the two front shins of a roe deer. (tiny wee bowlful, needs more than one deer I reckon) The English make brawn from pig heads and trotters, just the same way, but that's usually chopped meat, I think.

Potted heid is made just like the hough, but you need to brine soak the head for a day or so first and to burn it first. I know why it's burned to remove the hair, but I don't know why it needs brined. Maybe someone else can help ?

Singed sheeps heid isn't the same as potted heid I hasten to add…..and I don't think you can get either nowadays anyway since the advent of bse.

Toddy
British Red

Re: jar preserving.?

ecomumof4 wrote:
Does anyone preserve meat or fish in jars? I'm looking at preserving, and obviously I want to be as safe as possible.
I keep reading about water bath and pressure methods for different pH levels of food and I wondering if I'm going to have to buy a pressure canner .


Hi ecomum,

Toddy asked me to join and answer your thread (we talk on another forum)

I do bottle meat, game fowl etc.

In general terms the problem with bottled / canned meats is botulinum. This nasty organism thrives in an airtight environment, is not killed by pasteurization and the toxins it leaves are not destroyed by subsequent cooking. Its nasty and can kill you  

There are many ways however to preserve food. These include

Drying
Salting
Sugaring
High Acid
High Alkaline
Irradiating
Pasteurizing
Superheated steam

Usually these need to be combined with a form of packaging that prevents re-infection. So for example jam is boiled and sugar added. The heat sterilises and the sugar preserves. However once opened, mould spores can re-infect the jam (and you get furry jam ).

So, to preserve meat in a non salty, non dried, non alkali way, canning is a great option. Its also a good way to preserve home made "ready meals" like curry, chilli etc.

You have to get the jars well above 100C so a pressure canner is best. You can get by with something like a Hi Dome pressure cooker, but you can only get a few jars at a time in there. My canner takes 18 pint jars at a time, I wish it took more tbh.

You also need the special jars with a two part lid - and they are expensive.  Once you have them though lids are cheap - I bring them in from the US 700 at a time.

I have some illustrated tutorials on canning (water bath and pressure canning) if you would like to see them?

Regards - Red
Rena

Thank you, Toddy can't wait to try it!
Rick & Carol

if you have sky then on discovery channel there are lots of re runs of 'Alaska the last frontier' which follows the Kiltcher family. They are constanly doing potted meats & salmon & show the process being done. You may find this informative ecomum.
Toddy

British Red, that tutorial's as good as  I recalled Thank you  

On that note though; and bearing in mind that I have a small cooker, and an ordinary pressure cooker…..can I do meat successfully, safely in that ?
I need to bite the bullet and buy a copy of the Ball's Book.

M
welshboy

Rena wrote:
How do you make the potted hough? I'm very interested!

From the description Toddy gave it sounds very similar to making Brawn except it is beef not pork ?

"Pork Brawn (aka Head Cheese) is a meat jelly made from pork. The jelly has small pieces of meat in it. You can think of it as sausage, a jellied meat, a potted meat, or as a cold meat loaf with a lot of wobble to it. (Granted, some people don't like to think of Brawn at all.) There are many different versions. Some versions have small chunks of meat, other versions have the meat finely shredded. Some may be blander; some may be flavoured with herbs and spices.

The principal part of the pig used to make Pork Brawn is the head. Meat from other parts of the pig such as bones and trotters can also be included. Bones and trotters serve the added purpose of helping to give the stock more gelatin for setting well when done. Sometimes, when the head is already used for other purposes, just bones and trotters can be used. A beef bone may sometimes be added for additional flavour."
British Red

Toddy wrote:
British Red, that tutorial's as good as  I recalled Thank you  

On that note though; and bearing in mind that I have a small cooker, and an ordinary pressure cooker…..can I do meat successfully, safely in that ?
I need to bite the bullet and buy a copy of the Ball's Book.

M


You can Mary, but you do need a pressure cooker with variable weights and enough room for the jars. I normally use a 10lb weight at sea level, if you are high, you may need more weight. The old High Domes had 5, 10 and 15lb weights which is perfect.
Toddy

My old one is one of the Prestige high dome variety. I've been using it for over thirty years and it's still sound. Worth every penny I paid for it.

We're just under 60m above sea level here. I must admit that any time I have jarred stuff in it I did use the 15lbs weight.

Usually I just boil up in one of the huge great pots, but I know they're not pressurised.

I think I'm going to buy the book.  A good cook book is worth acquiring

M
British Red

I suggest get the Complete Book of Home Preserving since it has a much broader set of recipes but the same technical instructions

http://www.amazon.co.uk/Ball-Comp...TF8&sr=8-3&qid=1432150923
ecomumof4

Thanks so much! British red, I'd love to see some tutorials :-)
welshboy

Found this after googling wax seals which the ancients used to do.
American site but maybe jam is acidic not meat/fish

"My daughter and I have been using a different way to seal jam and have never had a problem. When the jars are hot and full we put a double layer of food wrap pulled tight and pushed down all around the edge of the jar. Then we put a piece of Al foil over for protection and tie it on tight with string. We have never had moldy jam even after two years. When the jar is opened the food wrap is right down tight to the jam. I did have problems with parafin, it leaked enough to allow mold to start."

I nicked this:

Safety Guidelines for Vacuum Sealing Food

If you have  taken proper steps in preparing your food in a clean and uncontaminated environment, then this should not be a problem. However, if there is any question about the safety, then err on the side of caution and do not vacuum pack the food, as you would be creating a perfect breeding ground for bacteria.

Follow these guidelines to properly vacuum seal food:

   Vacuum sealing food does not replace the need to pressure can or water bath home canned foods.
   Wash hands before and during the vacuum sealing process.
   Try not to touch food with your hands. Use clean spoons, tongs or something else to handle the food.
   Be sure to keep utensils, cutting boards and counters clean.
   Keep vacuum sealed foods in the refrigerator or freezer. Dry food, like crackers and nuts, can be stored at room temperature.
   Freeze low-acid vacuum packaged foods and consume immediately after heating. Never heat a low-acid vacuum packaged food and allow it to stand at room temperature in the vacuum package.
   Ensure that you do not cross contaminate food.
   Properly label food sources with type of food and date packaged.
   Ensure the seal is complete and that there is no debris in the seal.
Toddy

ecomumof4, Hugh started another thread with his really clear tutorial

http://overthegate.myfreeforum.or...t32456.html&highlight=canning

M

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