Sausages are best processed in a pressure canner using the hot pack method. Prepare the sausage by shaping ground pork into small patties or cutting fresh sausage into 3-4 inch links. Brown in a skillet and pack into hot jars. Add hot tomato juice, broth, or boiling water and process the jars for 75-90 minutes.
How to Pressure Can Sausage at Home
Sausages have low acidity and must be pressure canned to make them shelf stable. A pressure canner reaches the recommended temperature range of 240-250 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you’re a beginner at home canning, use the following step-by-step directions for canning sausage safely:
- Wash wide-mouthed canning jars, lids, and screw bands in hot soapy water. Rinse them and put them in simmering water to keep them hot.
- Shape raw ground pork or sausage meat into 4-inches patties. Alternatively, cut the fresh raw sausage into 3-4 inch links to fit in the canning jars.
- Put 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a skillet or pan. Brown the sausage patties or links, cooking until they are cooked 2/3rds of the way. Drain the excess fat and discard.
- Transfer the sausages to a casserole bowl or pot and cover them with a lid to keep them hot.
- Prepare your pressure canner. Add 2-3 inches of water, as recommended by the manufacturer, and heat the water on the stove.
- Fill hot, sterilized canning pint jars with hot sausage links or patties, leaving 1-inch headspace.
- Add two teaspoons of canning salt per quart or one teaspoon for pints. For seasoning, you may also add ½ teaspoon of spices such as oregano, black pepper, thyme, or cayenne pepper.
- Ladle hot water or tomato juice, boiling stock, or broth over the sausages while maintaining the 1-inch headspace. While some home canners use lard instead of canning liquid when canning sausage, this is not tested or recommended by the USDA.
- Remove air bubbles using a bubble popper, plastic kitchen knife, or wooden stir stick.
- Dip a clean cloth or paper towel in white vinegar and wipe the jar rims to remove grease.
- Center the lids, and add the rings to the jars. Screw the bands on until fingertip-tight.
- Position a jar rack in your canner. Carefully load the filled jars into the canner, and close the lid to the canner.
- Increase the heat to medium-high to bring water to a vigorous boil. Open the vent pipe and allow it to vent steam for 10 minutes.
- Place the weight back on to close the vent pipe. Let the pressure build to the recommended pounds of pressure per your canner type and elevation:
Pressure and process time for sausage in dial-gauge pressure canners (hot pack):
|Altitude (ft)||0 – 2,000||2,001 – 4,000||4,001 – 6,000||6,001 – 8,000|
|Pints (75 mins)||11 lbs||12 lbs||13 lbs||14 lbs|
|Quarts (90 mins)||11 lbs||12 lbs||13 lbs||14 lbs|
Pressure and process time for sausage in weighted-gauge pressure canners (hot pack):
|Altitude (ft)||0 – 1,000||1,001 +|
|Pints (75 mins)||10 lbs||15 lbs|
|Quarts (90 mins)||10 lbs||15 lbs|
- Set a kitchen timer for a processing time of 75 minutes for pints or 90 minutes for quarts.
- After completing the processing time, turn off the heat. Allow the canner to cool until the gauge drops to zero.
- Remove the pressure regulator and wait for the steam to escape for two more minutes.
- Remove the hot jars using a jar lifter. Place them on a towel-lined countertop. Do not place the jars directly on a bare counter to prevent the risk of breakage due to temperature shock.
- Allow the processed jars to cool undisturbed for 12-24 hours.
- Remove the screw bands from the jars. Check the seals by examining the lids. Vacuum-sealed jar lids curve downwards to show a concave shape and will not flex when pressed.
- For any unsealed jars, refrigerate and use the contents within 2 days.
- Label all sealed jars and store them in a cool, dry place away from direct sunlight and humidity.
Do You Have to Cook Sausage Before Canning It?
Cooking sausage before canning is optional. However, canning raw sausage with the cold pack method may result in an unpleasant, sticky texture. Browning sausages in a skillet and using the hot pack method produce better quality, flavor, and liquid coverage.
According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, hot packing removes air, shrinks food, increases vacuum in sealed jars, and improves shelf life.
What Equipment Do You Need to Can Sausage?
Some essential equipment, tools, and utensils when canning sausage include:
- Bubble popper: This is crucial for removing air bubbles.
- Jar lifter: This is a handy tool for removing jars from hot water without disturbing seals.
- Pressure canner: Ideal for safely processing your sausage.
- Screw bands: These canning rings secure the lids for a tight seal during processing.
- Self-sealing lids: For sealing the food in canning jars.
- Wide-mouth canning funnel: It makes the process of putting food into jars seamless.
- Wide-mouth jars: Wide-mouth canning jars are best for canning meat.
Can Pork Sausage Be Canned?
Yes – it’s possible to can fresh pork sausage using a pressure canner. Follow trusted canning recipes for preparation and processing times per altitude.
Can You Can Ground Beef Sausage?
Yes – you can pressure-can sausages made from ground beef. Make patties or cut the meat into links before cooking them and process for 75-90 minutes.
The process of canning cased, fresh sausages is the same for ground pork or beef.
How Long Does Sausage Last After Being Canned?
Home-canned sausage has a shelf life of 12 months. Though it may be usable after this time, the quality will suffer. Ensure you keep unopened jars in an environment at a temperature between 50-70 degrees Fahrenheit.
Avoid storing canned sausage in direct sunlight or a humid environment, as this may lead to spoilage. Per the USDA, place any unused sausage from open containers in a glass or plastic storage container in the refrigerator and consume it within 5 days.
What is the Difference Between Canning Fresh Sausage and Smoked Sausage?
While the processing time remains unchanged, canning fresh and smoked sausage differs slightly. Fresh sausage requires partial cooking, while smoked sausage is already cooked.
Smoked sausages should be warmed rather than browned before packing them into jars and covering them with canning liquid.