Preservation of Meat
To increase the shelf life of meat and meat products, preservation is done. The preservation of meat is done by controlling the activity of enzymes in meat and stopping the microbes’ growth in the meat. Sometimes rancidity may occur due to the oxidation of fatty acids, and it should be controlled to preserve the meat.
Different factors help preserve meat, including the refrigeration of meat, freezing of meat, use of chemicals, and natural preservatives. Meat can be stored in a refrigerator having a temperature below 4 degrees for one week. By freezing the meat below the -18 degrees, it can be stored for up to 6 months or more.
Chemicals like sodium nitrite and potassium nitrite also help in the preservation of meat. Natural preservatives like rosemary, salt, sugar, and alcohol play an essential role in preserving meat for a long time.
Canning of Meat
Canning of meat is the critical method to preserve the meat for a long time, up to 2 years. In canning, meat is usually sealed in the container, and heating is done to kill all microorganisms in the meat that can cause spoilage in the meat, and then canned meat is stored for a long time. For canning of different types of meat, equipment and procedures are given below.
1) Jars and lids
2) Pressure Cooker or Canner
3) Jar lifter
1. Chicken and Other Birds
To preserve the meat of the chicken and other birds like duck, turkey, etc., the meat should be first chilled for at least 8 to 12 hours and then cut the meat into suitable pieces for canning.
Add one teaspoon of table salt in the cans and fill the cans with raw meat and leave the jar’s half-inch head space and close the lid of the jar.
Heat the jar in the boiling water in the pressure canner for 75 to 85 minutes. Remove the jar from the pressure canner with the help jar lifter and cool down at room temperature. Check the seal of the jar before storing the meat. If the seal has formed, keep the canned meat and enjoy the meat at anytime.
To preserve the red meat like the meat of the beef, lamb, pork, etc., cut the meat into the pieces that can be adjusted in the jars used and remove the excess amount of fat from the meat.
Cook the meat pieces with the freshly made sausage, which should be seasoned with the salt and the cayenne pepper, and cook them together until the meat’s color becomes light brown.
Put the cooked meat pieces in the jars and add the meat broth in the jars also. Add water in the jars and add it until the one inch of head space remains in the jar. After that, add one tablespoon of salt in the jars containing the cooked meat, broth, and water and close the jar’s lid.
Heat the jars in the pressure canner with boiling water for at least 75 to 85 minutes. Remove the jar from the pressure canner with a jar lifter’s help and allow it to cool down at room temperature.
Check the seal of the jar, whether it is formed or not. Store the canned meat if the seal has formed.
Fish and Other Seafood
To preserve fish and different kinds of seafood like salmon, trout, etc., use the fresh meat and cut the meat into pieces by removing the head, tail, fins, and scales.
The amounts should be large enough to be stored in a jar. Put the pieces of meat into the jar and assure that the meat’s skin side should be facing the glass jar, and space of at least one inch should be left when filling the jar.
Add one tablespoon of salt in the jar, close the jar’s lid, and put the jar in the pressure canner to heat the meat. Boil the jar in a pressure canner for at least 95 minutes and then remove the jar from the pressure canner with a jar lifter and allow the jar to be cooled at room temperature.
Check the seal of the jar and store it if the seal has formed. Tips for canning Use fresh and good quality meat and after slaughtering, chill the meat below 4 degrees and remove the excess fat from the meat because it can cause sealing problems.
Dehydration of Meat
Dehydration of meat is done to preserve meat for a long time, and in this process, water is removed from the meat, and due to dehydration, microorganisms cannot grow, and meat can be stored for a long time.
Dehydrating meat for jerky Take the pieces of meat and soak them in the white vinegar for a minimum of 10 minutes and then drain the meat. There is no need for washing after draining the meat.
Assure that there should be no fat on the meat because it can cause storing problems. After that marinade, the meat and place it in a glass container and cover the meat and refrigerate the marinated meat for the night.
After night drains the marinade from the meat. There is no need to wash the meat after the drain of the marinade. After that, place the meat pieces on the dehydrator’s tray and ensure that no two pieces are touching each other.
Dehydrate the meat at 75 degrees for at least 6 hours and turn the pieces over during this time for evenly dehydration of meat pieces. Jerky is done when they become thoroughly dry, and on bending the meat piece, it would crack.
Ensure that there isn’t any part of the meat left cold in the dehydrator. After jerky, baking is done for the safe storage of meat for a long time. For this purpose, meat is baked at 135 degrees for at least 10 minutes. After that, store the meat and enjoy the smoked meat within two weeks if it is stored at room temperature.
The smoking of meat is one of the oldest methods to dehydrate the meat and to preserve it for a long time.
For meat smoking, usually, electric smokers are used, and meat is smoked for 24 hours at 70 degrees. Keep on check the meat after some hours. Ensure that there should be no fat on the meat.
If you want a smoky flavor in your meat, then after smoking, put the meat in the dehydrator, and the flavor will be stored in the meat. Smoking is usually best for fish meat. If it is possible, use vacuum packing, and it will help in the enhancement of the shelf life of smoked meat. But if it is not possible, then use the Ziploc bag and try to remove the air as much as you can.
If there is some air present in the bag, then put the bag in the water, and its top should be open, and water will remove the excess air from it and, after that, close the bag and store the smoked meat for a long time.
Tip: If you do not have an electric smoker, you can also use the open fire to smoke it. But in this process, there is difficulty in controlling the temperature and amount of smoke.