Pressure Canning Ham and Ham Stock
Even if you think pressure canning sounds complicated or difficult, it is much simpler than you think and is a real money saver. If I can do it, anyone can!
This is the time of year to stock up on ham. This week, pre-Easter prices are still available, you can get nice hams for as cheap as 87 cents per pound. Every year I put up my leftover Easter ham as well as a ham purchased specifically for the purpose. My preference is to purchase precooked, spiral cut ,half hams on the bone. They are the easiest to work with.
Canning ham is NOT difficult in any way and when done correctly, it is completely safe. It absolutely requires you to use a pressure canner. My pressure canner was a Mother's Day gift from my husband about 3 years ago. By my standards this was a big ticket purchase, but was completely worth it. I have the Presto 23-Quart Aluminum Pressure Cooker/Canner. I am completely happy with everything about it.
To can ham, I cut it all off the bone and into 1/2 inch chunks. Fill hot, sterilized jars (I run them through the dishwasher) with cut meat. Pour boiling water over the meat in the jars, leaving a 1 inch head space. Wipe the rim of the jar and top with a new lid. Process in pressure canner at 11 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes for pint jars and 90 minutes for quart size jars. ** Additional pressure is needed for high altitude, over 2000 feet. Refer to your manual.
To make broth, I put my ham bones in a very large stock pot (your pressure canner can be used for this) and cover them with hot tap water. Add two whole, unpeeled carrots, 4 stalks of celery and one whole onion, cut in half. Put the lid on the pot, bring it to a boil and simmer for 3-4 hours. I then strain it and pour it into hot quart size jars. Stock is processed in the canner the same as the ham.
Besides the benefit of stocking up on ham when it is very cheap, having canned ham and stock on the shelf is a HUGE convenience. Canned meat is the basis for very easy dinners. I often add canned ham to macaroni and cheese, as a stuffing in homemade hot pockets or for flavor in a pot of beans. Ham Stock can be used as the basis for soups and stews, it can be used instead of water in the preparation of rice and you can use it in any recipes that call for chicken broth. Ham stock is yummy and has even more flavor than chicken stock and is soooo much cheaper than the cans of broth from the grocery store.
Wednesday: Plastic Wrap Alternative