NOTE: Canning dairy products is not FDA approved. These are my own experiments and not recommended for anyone else. Do not try this in your own kitchen.
As most of you know, I have been talking about canning cheese for quite some time. Today, as I was planning to can a whole bunch of other things anyway, I thought it would be the perfect time to can cheese as well.
I have never canned hard cheeses before, however, we have quite a supply of commercially canned cheese. It was much different than I had originally expected. I thought the canned cheese would be more like a very thick cheese sauce, really only good for spreading on crackers or using in sauces. Much to my surprise, it wasn't like that at all! When we opened a can and tipped it upside down, a thick chunk of cheese popped out. It sliced easily and had absolutely wonderful flavor. We could easily slice the cheese or use it in cooking. I was really impressed.
Of course, I thought if cheese could be canned commercially, I should be able to can it at home. And so I can.
The method is actually very simple. You melt the cheese, put it into jars and water bath can for 40 minutes (40 minutes seem to be the magic number for canning dairy products). I grated (or, rather, Maid Elizabeth grated) the cheese and we put it in a large pot on the wood cookstove to melt. It melted quite nicely, other than the fact that it separated slightly. I just scooped up big spoonfuls of cheese and packed them into my prepared jars and then poured the oil evenly over all of the jars. In retrospect, I would have put the grated cheese in jars and put the jars in boiling water and allowed the cheese to melt in the jars, adding additional cheese as the cheese melted, but the method I used seemed to turn out quite well in spite of me!
|Maid Elizabeth grating cheese|
|Melting the cheese|
|Cheddar cheese straight out of the canner|
I also cleaned out my freezer and canned a whole bunch of other things, just to see how they turned out. I browned the Italian Sausage that we use on Pizza and packed it into pint jars. I sliced cooked Italian Sausage to use in soups, pasta sauce and casseroles and I diced Kielbasa Sausage to use in various dishes. I canned all of the meat in my pressure canner at 10 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes (I canned pints - If I were canning quarts, I would have canned for 90 minutes). I didn't add water to any of them, just dry packed them. When they came out of the canner, there was about a half a jar of liquid in all of the jars. The girls and I also canned up (in the water bath canner) 14 liters of Grape Juice Concentrate to either drink or make into jelly at a later date.
|Slicing Italian Sausage|
|Miss Calamity removing the casings from|
the pizza sausage
|Browning sausage and melting cheese|
|Cheese, meat and juice almost ready to go|
into the canner!
As we use our canned goods, I will give you reports on our successes and failures, as well as recipes to go along with them. In the meantime, I will be canning cheese and other things!