Canned sausage is not only a delicious addition to various dishes, but it is also a convenient way to preserve sausage when freezer space is limited. Whether you want to enhance your weeknight pasta sauces or prepare slow-cooker meals, canned sausage is a space-saving and flavorful option. However, it’s important to note that while canning is a convenient method, freezing sausage generally yields a better product in terms of texture. Frozen sausage tends to maintain its desired firmness, while canned sausage can turn out soft and crumbly.
To clarify, the following canning directions apply specifically to fresh meat sausage. Sausages with cheese pieces or any type of cured or specialty salami-type sausage should not be canned using these directions. Their densities and characteristics differ, so it’s best to freeze any surplus of these types of sausage. Additionally, keep in mind that the process requires the use of a pressure canner without any exceptions.
Jar Size Choices: Either half-litre (US pint) or litre (US quart) jars can be used for canning sausage.
Processing Method: Pressure canning only.
Headspace: Leave 3 cm (1 inch) of headspace in the jars.
Processing Pressure: Use 10 lbs (69 kPa) for a weighted gauge or 11 lbs (76 kpa) for a dial gauge. Adjust the pressure according to your altitude if it exceeds 300 meters (1000 feet).
Processing Time: Half-litres (pints) should be processed for 75 minutes, while litres (quarts) require 90 minutes of processing.
The photo demonstrates that each half-litre (US pint) jar can accommodate approximately 350 g (¾ lb) of sausage pieces. After the canning process, a jar of this size will yield about 250 g (8 oz) of sausage pieces. Please note that these guidelines specifically pertain to a weighted-gauge pressure canner. If a dial-gauge pressure canner is used, make sure to refer to the applicable dial-gauge pressures.
When browning the sausages, lightly spray the pan with cooking spray or oil. Afterward, the sausages should release enough fat on their own. In the case of lean sausages, additional applications of cooking spray may be required.
The canning recommendation assumes that the sausage pieces or patties will be added hot to the jar. It is acceptable to allow a few minutes for draining excess grease, but the sausage should not be stone cold.
For clarification, if you are canning “link sausage”, it is perfectly fine to leave the casing on.
It is crucial not to pack the sausage raw or in a dry state, as both methods present potential safety risks. Raw packing can cause the meat to clump together and hinder proper heat penetration. Dry packing, on the other hand, introduces different variables in terms of heat penetration and jar movement, as it lacks the liquid used during testing to ensure safety. Therefore, it is essential to brown the meat and ensure there is enough canning liquid in the jar. Alternatively, freezing your sausage is a recommended option, as it generally results in better quality.
When using canned sausage, remember to drain it before incorporating it into your recipes. The sausage will have a soft and pale appearance, with some of the browning retained. If desired, you can easily crisp it up by cooking it in a hot frying pan sprayed with a bit of oil for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently. This will provide the sausage pieces with a texture similar to the ones shown in the picture below.
Recipes for Cooking with Home Canned Sausage
- Toads in the Hole
The nutritional content of canned sausage will vary depending on the type of sausage meat used.
- Ground or Chopped Meat: Bear, Beef, Lamb, Pork, Sausage, Veal, Venison. United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Pages 5-6.
- Pork Sausage. In: Ball Blue Book Guide to Preserving. Daleville, Indiana: Hearthmark LLC. Edition 36. 2013. Page 60.
- Pork Sausage. In: Bernardin Guide to Home Preserving. Toronto, Canada: Bernardin Ltd. 2013. Page 100.