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To live a self-sufficient and organic lifestyle for the next half century. With the Grace of God and the power of prayer, we will succeed. Nothing is impossible with His help. It wouldn't be us without laughter and joy at the Cockeyed Homestead.

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Canning with Chef Jo: Meatballs!

Who doesn't like meatballs? I use home canned meatballs a labor saving device. Well maybe not labor saving, but definitely a time savers in the long run. Mel and I don't like the flavor or texture of canned ground meats. To get around this, I'll can meatballs, some spaghetti and pizza sauce with ground beef and turkey, and other things like ground meat soups to have ready to eat in jars for those nights I really don't feel like cooking. Even I have those nights too.

So what can you do with canned meatballs? Well for starters, how does spaghetti with meatballs, or meatball subs sound? Or, Swedish meatballs. Want chopped meatballs on your pizza? How about meatballs and gravy to serve over rice or noodles? A last minute get together and you need appetizers? No problem when you've got the meatballs already prepared, canned in a jar and ready to go. The only limit is your imagination.

While some people can their meatballs in water, I don't. I use beef broth for a prolonged flavor enhancer. Plus, if you want gravy, all you have to add is a roux to thicken the broth. Now when canning meatballs you don't add fillers like bread crumbs and eggs because the meatballs will crumble during processing. Some folks worry about fat in their jars, I don't. So long as the jars seal and stay sealed, fat is not a problem.

Jo's Canned Meatballs
around 20 pints 10 quarts
What you'll need
5 lbs ground beef, 90/10 if you can get it
5 lbs ground turkey 
1 large onion, finely minced or 1/4 cup dried onion flakes
4 ribs celery, finely minced or 1/8 cup dried celery flakes
3 cloves garlic, minced or 2 TBS garlic powder
1/4 cup dried parsley
2 tsp dried oregano
2 tsp dried basil
1 tsp cayenne pepper, ground
1 TBS salt
1/2 TBS black pepper
4-6 qts beef broth*

NOTES*- You can use your homemade beef broth, Better Than Bouillon roast beef (my choice), or purchased beef broth. Do Not Add Salt!!! It's already in the broth and will intensify over the storage time if held over six months. Depending on the fat content of the meat, you may need more than 6 qts of broth.

Putting it all together
  •  Mix all ingredients except the beef broth in a large bowl.
  • Cover and refrigerate for 1 hour. Chilled meat is easier to form into meatballs.
  • Scoop about a tsp and a half of meat mixture and form a ball. I used a 1/2 oz scoop. Scoops sold for cookies comes in two sizes usually. You want the smaller one. If all you have is a regular sized ice cream scoop it will make 3-4 meatballs.
  • Roll each meatball in flour and shake off the excess.
  • Place meatballs on a foil or parchment lined baking sheets.
  • I would suggest placing about half the mixture in a smaller bowl. Cover and return the remaining mixture in the refrigerator.
  • Once you have all the meatballs rolled, bake 400 degrees for 15-17 minutes.
  • Place meatballs in the clean jars.
  • Pour heated broth in each jar leaving 1" headspace.
  • Wipe the rims with vinegar, lid and ring, and place in warm pressure canner.
  • Vent steady stream for 10 minutes, weight and build pressure for your altitude.
  • Process 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts.
This is a flavor filled alternative to the chemical laden frozen version of meatballs. I always can two cases of these to have one hand. It's a quick and easy dinner. Whether you don't want to cook or just want something yummy for your tummy. Let everyone think you took the time to make these special for them. Only you and I will know that you just popped open a jar to make it for them tonight. 😁 

I use half and half beef/turkey because it's heathier. alternative but feel free to substitute any meat you like. In the past I've made these with ground pork, chicken, venison, elk, and even bear meat.

Y'all have a blessed day!
Chef Jo

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