But not very many people are used to eating canned meat, so it can seem like a very foreign, weird thing. The number one hurdle is the very idea of canned meat....so if you're unsure you want to can meat, I suggest you go out and purchase a container of high quality chicken meat. Open it and eat it. If you like chicken, you'll love it canned. Now go can your own! (Canned chicken tastes fabulous and is very easy to can, so I suggest that if you've never canned meat before, you start with chicken.)
The second hurdle is: How do you actually use canned meat? Let me count the ways:
|Homemade pizza featuring home canned chicken and home canned bacon.|
2. In salads. Canned chicken is perfect for any type of salad - fresh green, pasta salad, egg salad, etc.
3. Warmed up in a skillet. Canned ham, pork, or beef is great this way. I usually serve it alongside eggs , toast, or pancakes.
4. As sandwich meat. You can warm it up if you like, or leave it cold. And it's so much healthier than nitrogen-laced deli meats!
5. In scrambled eggs or omelets. Since canned meats just need warming up (not cooking), they are perfect added to eggs as you cook them.
6. As part of a hash or scramble. Canned ham is my favorite choice here.
|A scramble featuring home canned pork.|
7. In casseroles.
8. In soup.
9. In enchiladas.
10. In stir-frys.
11. In chili. Canned ground beef, beef chunks, or pork chunks are ideal.
12. In pasta dishes.
13. In stew. It really speeds up the cooking, because the meat is already tender and cooked.
14. Meat pies. An easy meat pie is just beef stew put between a bottom and top pie crust, so either beef or pork chunks or ground beef work here.
15. Shepherd's pie. Try canned ground beef, beef chunks, pork chunks, or lamb chunks.
16. In a pot of beans. Canned bacon adds terrific flavor to beans.
17. Any way you'd use frozen, cooked meat. Except canned meat doesn't require thawing!
A Few Tips:
* Whenever possible, use the liquid from the jars - there's a lot of flavor there! So if you're making soup, for example, pour the liquid from the jar into the soup instead of just dumping it down the sink.
* Canned ground beef has a different texture from the ground beef you are used to. It is softer and more moist. So I recommend always heating it by itself in a skillet; the heat will remove some of the meat's moisture, making it more like freshly-browned ground beef.
* When cooking anything that takes more than just a few minutes to make, always add canned meat at the very end of cooking. If you don't, the meat may turn to mush because it's already so tender and well cooked. Really, you just need enough time for the meat to become heated through - perhaps five minutes before the rest of the dish is done.