Appalachian Food Heritage Preserving/Canning

Canning Sausage

Canning sausage fry first

I love my Ball Blue Book of Preserving-its full of canning and preserving advice-on everything from blackberries to clams. This is what the book has to say about canning Pork Sausage:

“Shape ground pork in to patties or 3 to 4 inch links. Cook until lightly browned. Drain. Pack hot sausage into hot jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Ladle hot broth over sausage, leaving 1-inch headspace. Remove air bubbles. Adjust two-piece caps. Process pints 1 hour and 15 minutes, quarts 1 hour and 30 minutes, at 10 pounds pressure in a steam-pressure canner.”

Pretty simple instructions for anyone who has ever used a pressure canner.

Granny never canned any kind of meat when I was growing up-she still doesn’t-choosing instead to freeze any fresh meat that come her and Pap’s way. Not long after I married The Deer Hunter I began hearing stories of the entire Pressley family coming together during hog slaughtering time-the men doing the slaughtering and the women inside the house preparing the meat for preservation. From the beginning I was interested in the sausage part-I’d ask “you mean you canned sausage? But how?” Even though they detailed the process they used to me more than once over the years I just couldn’t fathom how it would really work. Since there was no longer anyone in the family slaughtering hogs, there wasn’t a chance for me to see the process either.

Some of you may remember my Mountain Folk interview with Jackie Cole last summer. Her family still slaughters hogs each fall-and as she told me the details of handling the meat, I realized her method of canning sausage was the same one the Pressleys used. As I questioned her closer she finally gave me a jar of canned sausage, told me to take it home, cook it, and see for myself. When I opened the jar a few weeks later I enjoyed the best sausage I had ever eaten. It was so much better than frozen-and almost as good as fresh. Since then I’ve been given jars by other folks who can their sausage in the same manner-and its all been good-not just good but outstanding-however there is just one problem-they don’t pressure cook it.

This is the method they use:

Sterilizing jars in the oven

First they sterilize their jars, lids, and rings-keeping their jars hot.

Pat out their sausage and brown it on both sides.

How to can sausage

Place as many pieces of hot sausage as they want for a meal in a hot jar.

Adding grease to canned sausage

Pour 1 to 2 inches of the hot sausage grease/fat into the jar. Attach the lid and ring tightly-turn the jar upside down.

Old fashioned canned sausage

After sitting over night-the jar looks like this.

They store the sausage upside down until they’re ready to open a jar to eat. Placing the pieces in a pan they fry them for a few minutes to warm through-using the excess grease to make gravy just like you would with fresh sausage.

I’ve been studying this method for almost a year. Here are some of my thoughts:

  • How could the sausage keep like this-how does it not spoil since it wasn’t canned in a pressure cooker?
  • Does the grease protect it somehow?
  • I’ve read some toxins are odorless and tasteless-is the sausage spoiled and they just don’t know it?
  • In the last year-I’ve found dozens of folks from western NC who can their sausage like this. Even the lady I buy sausage from said she did-and her mother did as well. Could it be folks who are used to eating it are used to eating it-you know like when you travel to another country you may get an upset stomach because of the different strains of bacteria that are present in the food and water?
  • Have all the folks who use this method just been lucky for the years they’ve been canning it like this?
  • If I followed all the directions of my canning book-I’d water bath my pickles and jelly-which I don’t-so is the sausage kinda like that?
  • Wouldn’t you get sick easier from meat than from jelly or pickles?

As you can see I’ve mostly went around in circles on this one. One thing I do know-folks who were taught this method by their elders-and have used it for the last 40 years aren’t about to change their minds on the subject. And although, I’m not advising anyone to use the method-I sure won’t be turning down any jars that are waved under my nose.

What I want to know is what do you think? Did your parents or grandparents can sausage like this? Do you think all the folks that use the method are just lucky dogs and their day of dying from botulism is coming? If you’d always used this method with no adverse consequences would you change cause the Ball canning book told you too?



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  • Reply
    David Smith
    August 25, 2021 at 11:52 pm

    One of my grandmothers canned pork sausage all her life. it was absolutely the best sausage i have ever eaten. Their family was fairly large so they typically slaughtered three hogs in the fall. Her method of canning sausage patties was to fry the sausage until completely done. Next she packed the patties in heated jars poured in around one inch of grease in the jars and put the lids on tight. Next she would place the sausage filled jars in a 300 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. When the jars were taken out of the oven and cooled the lids would seal very tight and a total vacuum was formed in the jar. I still use this method. This method has worked for 50 plus years for us.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2021 at 10:07 pm

    Now see this here thread is why the blind pig and the acorn soothe my homesick heart! I grew up in southwest Virginia (where Ky, Wva and Va meet) every family I knew canned sausage balls this way. I hadn’t thought about canning sausage in years.

  • Reply
    Vanessa Bee
    December 23, 2020 at 7:33 pm

    To address your concerns about the shelf life of canned meat—
    Pressure canning creates a sterile, shelf-stable product. The contents are heated past the boiling point to a temperature determined by the amount of pressure prescribed. The canning times published by Ball are calculated to ensure the product heats through at an appropriate temperature to kill Botulism spores. All other pathogens are obliterated by this process.

    Pressure canning of low-acid foods produces a safe product and is comparable to the processing of items you’d buy off the shelf in a grocery store. IF you follow the directions, of course.

    You can pretty much can anything this way, provided the heat doesn’t destroy its structure in the process.

  • Reply
    Kay Mc
    October 15, 2020 at 9:55 am

    What a happy find! Here I sit in the middle of the Pandemic of 2020 with a failing freezer and a successful deer hunter and wondering what in the world I am going to do with the meat if he brings home another deer. I have tried every store which might have sold freezers and the reply is always Out of Stock or available (perhaps) in 2021. I refuse to be governed by this and thought about the possibility of pressure canning the venison. I had experience canning Brunswick Stew for church festivals in NC and knew that was successful…….people lined up at 5:30 to buy those quarts of stew filled with home slaughtered chicken and pork! My grandmother and MIL both canned their sausage by grease sealing in jars but I admit I never knowingly ate it, afraid of the bacteria. I likely did eat it as a child and loved every bite of food both these ladies offered, best cooks ever. My grandmother cooked on a wood stove and they preserved all their meat by salting and dry curing sausage in cheesecloth bags. They had a cinder block smoke house for finishing……oh, so good. One time in a period of drought and deprivation, gardens failed except for some reason the black eye peas. My grandmother made “sausage’ with the peas and it was really good. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    May 31, 2018 at 10:50 pm

    This day and age is different than back then. I too ate sausage canned in grease and canned beans and other vegetables in canning jars sitting inside a washpot over an open fire. My concern is super bugs. We have germs that antibiotics won’t kill ( Mrsa) and bugs that the farmers can’t kill. Every year they have to make poison stronger and stronger and they still can’t combat the problem because the bugs evolve even stronger with each passing year so yes I think there are germs out there that must be killed by pressure canning the right way with liquid over the meats. No such food happenstance has occurred that we know of but why press your luck?

    • Reply
      Ethel Brock
      December 21, 2019 at 12:25 pm

      I can my sausage the same way you discribed I am 76 I am very healthy I hate all those perseritaves in the foods .Home made doesn’t help my spelling though

      • Reply
        February 15, 2020 at 2:30 am

        Godbless all you ladies- this makes me remember gramma doing this in 70s – I cant believe i fell into your discussion- Im going to start canning like she did- with your tips of course!!!! Thankyou

    • Reply
      July 18, 2020 at 12:06 am

      I am 70 years old and we fixed sausage this way while growing up. I still do it sometimes. My dad always mixed the spices in the meat to make the sausage. As I got older he would get me to help him make the sausage. He always told me to make sure I got enough salt in the sausage and cook it long enough to get all the water out of the sausage. He said the salt helped to cure the meat like it did in the country hams we fixed.

  • Reply
    August 28, 2017 at 10:04 pm

    I think that preserving meat this way would be fine. The whole point of pressure canning is to raise the temperature of the can to above the boiling point of 212 degrees F to kill bacteria. With the sausage, jars, and grease being 350 + and sealing out the air it should be fine. Similar to this is when my mom would seal jelly with melted wax. Same concept of heating the contents and then keeping the air out

  • Reply
    June 21, 2017 at 9:50 am

    Up here in Elmira, Ontario, Canada half the town is Mennonite. They live with no electricity, and still go about town in their wagons pulled by horses. I knew a mennonite lady who told me they always cook their sausage and packed them in glass jars. No pressure cooker. But she doesn’t turn them upside down because modern lids don’t rely on wax or lard to seal. She’s never had a problem and never heard of anyone getting sick. Maybe they turned them upside down before the modern lids were available. I’ll have to ask her! I’ve enjoyed everyones stories and I’m going to try this myself!

  • Reply
    June 13, 2017 at 5:13 pm

    loved this conversation. Fell into it (like others before me ) looking for info on canning sausage. Since I do live in the desert with its higher temps AND am looking for long term storage, will likely go for pressure canning, but without water, keeping short enough links to fit in a pint jar. Thanks for sharing all this good info!

  • Reply
    Marianne Langford
    August 18, 2016 at 11:15 am

    I learned from my Mother in-law, to can sausage in this old fashioned way. and Ive been canning it this way for years. Its the best sausage youll ever eat. Ive never lost a jar and no ones ever gotten sick from it. It took me several years to get the courage to can it this way, but after I was given a couple jars to try and lived through it, I thought, why not. Im not sure how the method works, but it works. I can everything else there is to can, but this is by far the best.

  • Reply
    February 17, 2016 at 12:13 pm

    I can my sausage the same way – with lard over them !!! Best sausage I ever ate – and lawd the best gravy u ever tasted from that sauage grease !!!

  • Reply
    Janis Cheek
    October 2, 2014 at 8:32 am

    My Aunt Florence is 91 and once told me my grandmother cooked sausage, layered the patties in jars, covered with hot grease and cloth and stored it in the cellar. She said it was the best sausage she has ever eaten!

  • Reply
    Alice jones
    July 22, 2014 at 12:09 am

    I want to let you know how much I enjoyed the reading of the different posts as well as the delightful music.Both brought back so many fond memories of growing up in Virgilina Va.during the sixties.My mom alone raised my brother and myself as well as took care of my blind grandmother by housecleaning and farming for the family who owned our home.My brother and I would love to get off the bus and run down the road to the big house to smell the sausage being cooked and canned in the basement.They’d yell upstairs for us to grab a cold biscuit or piece of loaf bread to put our sausage on. The hot sausage smelled and tasted so good as an afternoon treat.Just seeing my mom’s face at the pleasure of making us happy is such a wonderful memory. I had the best mom in the world and if we could all go back to this simple way of living it would be all worthwhile.I am canning this year for the first time since I was 16 years old and it has been such a calming and joyous experience to use the old recipes that were used a hundred years ago or more by my family.

  • Reply
    May 2, 2014 at 9:22 pm

    I’m canning some pork sausage right now and was googling to see how others do it. I came across your delightful blog post on this subject. My mother always canned sausage, chicken and beef without a pressure cooker. In fact, I had no idea that this is not considered to be a safe method! I’ve cold packed the jars and am processing them in a hot water bath for 2 hours just like my mom did many years ago! We love having this tasty and convenient sausage for camping and for quick delicious Sunday dinners. BTW I’ve lingered reading more on your blog because of the beautiful folk music! I’ll be sure to return many times ….

  • Reply
    January 23, 2014 at 4:15 pm

    You can safely dry cann sausage in jars using pressure canner. Just brown the patties and drop them in a hot jar and process for 70 minutes for pints, 90 minutes for quarts! Why not be safe. I think adding liquid washes out flavor, so I would suggest not adding liquid, both are tested safe ways to can.

  • Reply
    Mort Hall
    August 15, 2013 at 12:36 am

    I recall my father-in-law tell me that when he was growing up in northern Iowa, his family would butcher a couple of pigs each fall, smoke the hams and store them in the oats bin, and for the sausage links they made, they stored them in several 10 gallon crocks, after they put a few layers of links in they topped it off with hot melted lard and continued until they reached the top of each crock. When they wanted several links for a meal, they just reached into the soft lard and pull out a few link and then just smoothed the lard over and put the wood lid back on the crock. I have been canning for several years now, both water bath and pressure canning, I also make my own sausage for the house but when I brought about 20 lbs of assorted types to a bbq/potluck at work, I have gotten a steady list of customers that can’t seems to get enough of my sausage links. As for the canning, I live just south of Fresno, Calif. in the heart of the San Joaquin valley, so getting hooked up with several hundred lbs of tomatoes, cukes, carrots sweet cork and green beans for next to nothing is nice..I have to can it all, my freezer is always full of pork and sausage. Sorry for ramblin on, but just had to pass on how our family did it back during the depression. Keep Canning. Mort

  • Reply
    james estes
    June 22, 2013 at 3:21 pm

    the American plains Indians did the same thing , they dry smoked beef, venison and crumbled it up and poured heavy fat over it and let it harden , they called it PEMICAN , it was a trail food !!

  • Reply
    larry roberts
    October 11, 2012 at 6:06 pm

    Back in the day fishing boats on the east coast went fishing for months at a time and they to fat from scrap pork and melted it in a big pot and cook sliced beef in it once the fat was hot then the meat settled to the bottom the gallons of fat would harden on top keep out air and bacteria workers would load the pot on the ship and everyday they heat the pot eat the meat and the fat harden again and again for months that’s how they eat on the sea look it up they still do it in some New England states thanks

  • Reply
    ann mann--
    October 8, 2012 at 3:33 am

    we are canning sausages right now the old fashioned way–i was raised doing it this way and still continue–cooking the patties untill done–pour the hot lard over them –cover them completely with lard–turn the jar upside down for a good seal–i do keep my jars in hot boiling water untill ready to fill–seal with hot lids–i am 66 years old and have never had any complications from eating it–in fact we do have the blue book and we can everything we eat–

  • Reply
    September 20, 2012 at 9:24 pm

    i am so glad i found this site

  • Reply
    Carla D'Anna
    July 5, 2012 at 10:54 pm

    Not only did my aunt do the canning this way she also left whatever sausage was leftover from daily breakfast in the sideboard drawer for all day snacks every day and no one got sick.

  • Reply
    June 20, 2012 at 8:42 am

    I found this site looking to canning pepperoni. Not too many good results when searching that.
    I have canned ground meat both cold packed and hot (boiling and rinsing until I get out as much fat as possible) and do prefer the latter.
    I wondered if I cut pepperoni into diced chunks, boiled and rinsed like I did the ground meat, then jar it with hot water to 1/2 inch headspace and pressure can it.
    Anyone tried this?

  • Reply
    May 9, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I have been researching traditional methods of food preservation for several years now (and doing it) and this is my take:
    First: As several have mentioned, this method works (without pressure canning), when you are working in a clean and sanitized kitchen, working quickly during the canning part, and working with hot, sterilized jars and HOT fat and food. The French call this confit, but storing meat (cured or not) in fat over the winter has been done for centuries in many cultures.
    Second: What I have not seen anyone mention is that these items are then stored in a cold storage area. This may seem like a small detail not worth mentioning, but speaking as someone living in an area (southwest desert) where summer low temperatures do not go below 90 F and highs average about 110 F, it matters a lot. Cold temperatures help reduce rancidity of the fat, help maintain the seal on the jars, and keep bacteria growth low. If anyone has experience doing this method of preservation in hotter areas and their typical length of storage time, I would love to hear it because everything I have read is in areas where it is very cold in winter and summer does not even begin until June (we reach the 70s by March).
    I have experimented with pork chops stored in their cooking fat (after straining out watery juices) and they kept well for a few months in the fridge. The key was they were completely covered by the fat which blocked air and bacteria from getting to the meat. I plan to try canning sausage in broth soon (which is how I found this blog), but I will be using a pressure canner because it does not stay cool here, I want to avoid rancid fat, and I prefer to err on the side of caution when dealing with meat.
    Nice conversation; I look forward to exploring more of the blog.

  • Reply
    JoeDavid Eason
    March 23, 2012 at 10:39 am

    My insight to canning.My family has done this for generations,both sides.Realize they were experts at processing foods for winter storage.They usually only bought salt,sugar,coffee,flour,baking soda, ect at the store.In this process the jars,lids,rings are completely sterile and the sausage is cooked done to an outside crust with grease reaching 300+ degrees.I sterilize jars in the oven at 300 degrees.Only one or two jars are done at a time.Sausage still cooking quickly into the sterile jar,usually five patties to a pint then boiling grease halfway up,lid on immediately.Hot grease forces out any air and turning them upside down sterilizes again top inside of jar.If the lid seals overnite they’re done.I can everything and have half my little town addicted to my PawPees sauce.I trust my processing way more than I do hunts and starkist since I’ve never gotten half the country sick from salmonella.Keep your work spaces clean,your canning vessels hot and sterile and always check the seals on the lids after processing and before consumption.If a lab analysis of my food against a factory farm’s production foods were to go head to head,I’d win on every aspect.West Tennessee.

  • Reply
    March 13, 2012 at 5:21 pm

    Ok…I will ad my two cents worth to this on-going conversation, which I am enjoying immensely by the way.
    I am going on 70 years old and live in NW GA near calhoun and spent as much time as possible with my mother’s aunt/uncle on the farm about 25 miles from where we lived. Every holliday, every summer and EVERY other chance I could get there. I loved that place…!
    I was fortunate as a child to see and participate in this method of making/canning the best sausage I have tasted in my entire life.
    It was cooked in a big deep iron skillet on a WOOD STOVE. My aunt would start off with some of the fresh rendered lard (so there was plenty to quickly cook the sausage and then enough to pour over it in the canning jars), roll the sausage into balls and cook it, place it in the hot jars from the oven, pour the fat over it and seal the jars.
    To the best of my memory she filled the jars about 2/3 full…then turned them upside down for cooling and later storage.
    It was considered a delicacy…I don’t remember how long it was stored but I believe it was all gone before hog killing time a year later.
    On cold winter mornings before daylight (dec-jan) when my uncle and I were around the barn yard milking the two cows, feeding the pigs, chickens, and mules, we could smell that sausage cooking and know we were in for a treat.
    I miss those times…and the taste of that sausage. It was perfect every time…we never got sick from eating it or from the pork (hams, midlins, and shoulders) buried in salt in the salt box on the screened in back porch. Another relative smoked some of their sausage (in skinny cloth bags) and it hung in the smokehouse until it was all eaten.
    Those memories and taste are precious to me until this day…

  • Reply
    February 20, 2012 at 1:28 am

    What is the longest know self life of a jar of canned sausage? I know it depends on storage conditions. Thanks

  • Reply
    Kenneth Goins
    February 4, 2012 at 1:31 pm

    I was raised on water bath canning. Mother passed away and My brother and I still can tomato juice and pears, etc. I love to can. Best tasting juice. People need to learn how to can again. Everything old is new again.

  • Reply
    December 29, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Shirley-I’ve never seen canning done over an open fire-but I know that is indeed how they did it in the old days!
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Celebrating and Preserving the
    Culture of Appalachia

  • Reply
    Shirley Stinnett
    December 28, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    My husband’s family always canned their sausage and cooked it outside over a fire for 3 hrs. No where in your comments is this listed. Can you put it into glass jars and cook it over an open fire for 3 hrs?
    We went to a cannery this year and canned 26 qt cans, but they use pressure steamers.

  • Reply
    Alan Lee
    November 28, 2011 at 6:34 am

    We would cook our sauage in patties, pack them in crocks and cover with lard then place the crocks in the cellar. In jars we did the inverted method. The only time we did water bath was when we canned in tin cans.

  • Reply
    Shirley Owens
    November 12, 2011 at 11:51 am

    Tipper, I’ve been canning ground meat and chicken this summer. It comes out just fine, but of course I used my pressure canner. I’ve been toying with the idea of canning some patty sausage. I will probably do that with the broth not the grease. Reason being that the grease gets a little old tasting if it’s in the can too long. It won’t hurt you but it smells really bad. My Mother and Mawmaw would can sausage just the way the Pressleys do. I think the reason we never got sick from it was that we always put it back in the frying pan and got it really hot. That may have killed anything lurking in the jars. It tasted really good. My mawmaw would put sage in her’s even though people say that it will taste too strong when it comes out of the jar. Also, she and my mom started pressure canning the sausage after they bought the canner from a door to door salesman. It was a great surprise when he came knocking on the door. You never knew what he would be selling from one time to the next. We may have fed him some of that good sausage with a biscuit from our little kitchen.

  • Reply
    September 5, 2011 at 5:51 pm

    I have never used a pressure cooker, but I have canned sausage like this several times and have never had any problems. Essentially, if you get the grease hot enough to kill any bacteria (boiling point or higher) then you are creating a sterile environment within the jar, so the food can’t spoil. BUT….airborne bacteria CAN be a problem, so I would avoid breathing into the jars as you pack them, and avoid working in a dusty environment. The meat and grease could be sterile but dust in the air can bring in bacteria, so to counteract this I like to wear a glove and shake the hot jar in an attempt to heat up the air in the jar and all surfaces of the jar to the same temperature as the grease, further sterilizing it.

  • Reply
    Mike Cockerham
    August 11, 2011 at 2:39 pm

    Looks like they were making confit. Meat cooked and stored in its own fat. All the rage now with fancy cooks.

  • Reply
    Roger T. Irvin
    December 28, 2010 at 6:47 pm

    Well I home can chicken, and fish, and venison chunks. I raw pack wide mouth jars, and use no additional liquid except on the venison chunks. I use beef bouillon and a couple of tablespoons of cream of mushroom soup in each quart of venison. So far plenty of happy diners and no sick ones. I also occasionally process a deer by boning and coarse grinding almost all of it. I mix that with boston butt pork roast bought on sale and then cut up and ground. I then blend on a 2 parts venison, one part pork ratio which I mix with breakfast sausage spices (minus sage). I brown this mixture in batches until just no longer pink and hot pack in pint or quart jars for canning. All my canning is done with a pressure canner and ball blue book canning guide for reference. The deer/pork canned sausage is excellent for sausage gravy and biscuits. Also for hamburger helper, chili, spagetti meat sauce, and ground meat stroganoff. I know others I trust who can meatballs. Only recently did I get the idea to pressure can bratwurst size link sausages. I see no reason it can’t be done safely. JMHO

  • Reply
    Stephanie Eaton
    June 29, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    My brother in law just ask me if I ever heard of canning sausage. I of course came to the computer. I started thinking we eat meat canned in sealed cans and thet sell those little sausages in jars. Would that not be the same thing as long as your jars seal good?

  • Reply
    Jim Kerr
    June 27, 2010 at 7:08 pm

    I have watched my Mom can sausage the way you described. I have eaten sausage stright from the can on a bisquit. A lot of my friends say the had canned sauage this way. In fact I have been thinking of canning some for my on use.

  • Reply
    Big John Childers
    March 31, 2010 at 1:09 pm

    I tried canning sauage on 3/31/10 I hope its like my daddy uses to do it.I will give results in couple weeks

  • Reply
    Big John
    March 30, 2010 at 4:08 pm

    well i tried to can some sauage today.i boiled jars,fried sauage well,installed into qt.jars dipped lids into boiling water and sealed tightly.turned over so greese will drip to bottom.daddy always done it this way.he died in 1970,i eat some of his canned sauage in 1972.tasted like just been cooked.3/30/10 by BIG JOHN..TOCCOA GEORGIA

  • Reply
    Heather Rojo
    February 24, 2010 at 5:29 pm

    Here in New England when we slaughter a pig we take the cuts of meat, brown them in a skillet and put them in a plastic bucket, cover a layer with lard, put the next layer, cover with more lard and more layers until we get to the top. We put the bucket in the cellar and use the meat within six months. It sounds similar to your method of doing sausages in the canning jar. We smoke our sausages until they are dry (like pepperoni, but not spicy). Our Scots Irish (1715) ancestors settled up and down the Appalachian mountain chain, so I see lots of similarities…

  • Reply
    February 11, 2010 at 7:49 pm

    I found out a few years back that my family used to can sausage that way. I thought it sounded kind of crazy, too. They said my Aunt Goldie’s canned sausage was the best. They shaped their sausage into balls, though.

  • Reply
    February 11, 2010 at 3:40 pm

    I have never done this but I would definitely do what the latest edition of the blue book said to do…they do research on it and ensure best practices. I’d rather not die from my own canning either.

  • Reply
    Chef E
    February 10, 2010 at 6:44 pm

    Here is my professional opinion, and my personal, as being a southern girl…
    Sausage and grease are hot when you do this, so when it is turned upside down it pushes the air out, the culprit of bacteria ‘oxidation’ of sorts. I brought home a canned pork loin in just this method, but they did not tell me to turn it upside down, but the seal is so tight, I am sure it is fine.
    My personal opinion is I agree with you, we get used to eating certain foods we are accustomed. I also ate food that sat out all day growing up, although in professional kitchens we have to follow those rules…buuuut scary as it sounds, so many of those rules are broken every day and people do get sick. You might think you have a bug, but it is probably food related…or poor diet, a whole nother can of worms!
    Flip-flopping back to professional- The reason why we are told not to eat such foods is because ‘health’ professional set up rules and standards for eating foods, unlike when we were growing up. Some in the south just still do it the old way, some cannot stand the idea of ‘germs’. Young children, infants, and the older generation, over sixty risk getting ill in ways the in between population do not because their immune systems are weaker, but if you eat this way on a regular basis, Tipper you are right your body adjusts.
    Personal- My hubby is scared to eat that pork I brought back, he keeps calling it Pig Jowls, and I keep telling him “We ate that, and you did not even know, you said you loved it”. So I will open up that canned pork, and make a fancy Italian Risotto…matter of fact I am tonight 🙂 he he

  • Reply
    February 10, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    I’ve never canned meat before. I remember my Grandmother canning sausage once. If I remember right it was pressure canned. Because I don’t remember ther being any grease in the jar. It was the best sausage I’ve ever eaten. I’m not so sure I would try canning it without a pressure cooker these days.

  • Reply
    February 10, 2010 at 5:09 pm

    We have canned meat, for instance when we killed chickens in the fall, we cooked it off the bones, and packed the meat with broth from cooking it. Never canned sausage. Always used a pressure cooker for meat and vegies. Use boiling water bath for tomatos, tomato juice, and fruit. Safety now is different from safety then, I guess.

  • Reply
    February 9, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    Pat-I just dont know-but it does seem the grease is an important step in the process.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
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  • Reply
    Dee from Tennessee
    February 9, 2010 at 12:18 am

    Dee from Tennessee
    I think my family froze sausage– no canning. I would just love to have some RIGHT NOW with biscuits– this may call for a trip to Hardee’s in the morning.
    I do wonder about it like you– the “evidence” seems as if it would be safe…but I know I would reallllllly hesitate. My mother would put the “Sunday dinner” leftovers in the oven and on the table – covered with a dishtowel — and we would munch on it until the late hours of the night. I wouldn’t do that now, but it didn’t hurt us at all. She would refrigerate some of it, but not the leftover fried chicken — it went in the oven.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2010 at 4:32 pm

    Never mind my request.. You are not on Blogger. SO—I guess it’s not possible on WordPress. I am trying to get everyone to change to a ‘better’ comment form… Thanks anyway..

  • Reply
    February 8, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    Hi Tipper, I have never heard of canning sausage or any meat. I’m sure it is fine–since the old-timers used to do it. But–if I hadn’t heard it ‘officially’ from you, I probably wouldn’t have believed it.
    My mother used to can pickles –and they were the best bread and butter pickles I have ever eaten.
    Interesting post… By the way, I have a request –if you have time to read my YESTERDAY’s blog. Thanks so much.

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    Wanda in Northwest Alabama
    February 8, 2010 at 4:28 pm

    Tipper, sorry I’m late with my comment, but had to check with older family members to make sure I remembered right. Sausage was canned by covering with lard, and we can’t ever remember anyone getting sick from it. I know lard will get to tasting “old” after a while, but the sausages were probably all eaten before they had time to get old! I have been wanting some since you posted those pics!

  • Reply
    February 8, 2010 at 11:11 am

    Julie-Ivenever heard of anyone canning meat in the same processthatthe Pressleysused for sausage.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
    Music, Giveaways, Mountain Folk
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  • Reply
    Pat in east TN
    February 8, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    When I lived in NC years back my neighbors always canned their sausage. Do you think the grease seals the jars like paraffin when we make jelly/jam?

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    Rooney Floyd
    February 8, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    My grand parents canned sausage down in S. C. in the ’20s and ’30s before electricity and when all the refrigeration they had was an “ice box”, literally. The sausage kept and tasted good. They also smoked the stuffed sausage and kept it along with hams hung up in a hall closet in cloth sacks tied shut. It was dry and you could break it off to fry for breakfast. We canned our sausage it like the Pressleys, and others without pressure cookers and turned the jars upside down. See on page 207 of the Foxfire Book (Vol. I, 1972) that canning was common in their neck of the woods, too. (without pressure cookers)
    I’m going down to “Buddy’s” in Gloverville this afternoon, get some fresh stuffed sausage, and just can me a couple of jars.
    Rooney Floyd

  • Reply
    Paul Wald
    February 8, 2010 at 7:09 am

    I have always heard people rave about canned sausage. I am not sure if this was the method they had used. Like you and some other readers, seems a little scary to me. I might do a little research on this one!

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    laoi gaul-williams
    February 8, 2010 at 6:15 am

    how interesting! i am wondering if this was something my ancestors did? the majority of them were farm people and so would have relied on growing their own…i wish i could time travel!

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    B. Ruth
    February 8, 2010 at 10:01 am

    My mother-in-law canned sausage…
    they were all raised in Alabama and learned it from their mothers….but she always pressure (cooked) canned her green beans…go figure..LOL
    Must be all the dirt that might get trapped on the beans even with all that washing…
    Besides the fat surrounding the sausage…do you think it also could be the salt and spices in the sausage that help preserve it?
    I also agree with Helen’s comment about the changes of this generation…soil, bacteria, antibotics, etc..
    Sorry, but I would never can sausage this way today…but then I am allergic to sausage, it breaks me out in fat and high blood pressure. LOL

    • Reply
      Rebecca Woosley
      March 24, 2019 at 7:05 am

      It was probably a time issue for the green beans land other veggies). 3 hours heating up the kitchen in heat of summer to process 6-8 quart jars or 75 minutes in the pressure canner. Hugh time saver then doing large quantities. We used to can 100 quarts or more a season. And needed stove space for other veggies & fruits too.

  • Reply
    February 8, 2010 at 7:26 am

    I watched my grandmother and my mother can many things, but never sausage. I like the pictures and I love canned foods, but I would not eat the sausage. My grandmother used to leave Thanksgiving dinner on the table and throw a table cloth over it and at night we would all snack on it. I ate it then, but would not now and don’t know how we did not get sick from doing that. love the photos

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    February 8, 2010 at 7:04 am

    How long will Lard keep? I would think the sausage would keep as long as the lard. My MIL wouldn’t eat the pickles we made because we were newbies at canning. I still laugh at that

  • Reply
    February 7, 2010 at 6:57 pm

    Hubby’s grandpa was the local man to bring your hogs to at slaughtering time, and pork was eaten at EVERY meal. I was completely astounded the first time I heard about canning sausage and had the same fascination you’ve described! The process was exactly the same; cooked like big sausage balls then slightly patted down, packed into jars, poured hot grease in the jar (from THAT same batch of meat) and turned upside down to seal. The jars were stored upside down in the cool, dark cellar. No one got sick and all those who remember eating it say it was the best stuff they ever ate in their life!
    Hubby’s Grandpa Sneed lived into his nineties and had 18 living children. Grandma Sneed died from childbirth complications, but his second wife is still living and in her nineties now. We are getting ready to go interview her as part of preserving our local history.
    I find myself agreeing with Miss Cindy, the Ball Blue Book folks have to be overly cautious and therefore instruct us to overly process things in my opinion. I’ve always pickled my green beans with no hot water bath or pressure canner like my mammaw taught me and they are awesome!!! I’ve only had one jar to unseal in the celler out of 5 years of canning them that way.
    We drink raw milk too, for nearly a year now. Never had a problem with it either. If we buy store milk, it’s like tasting the difference between whole wheat, homemade bread and Butternut white. No comparison!
    I would definitely try the process if I had the chance.
    Thanks for the post!
    –teresa in ky

  • Reply
    Donna W
    February 7, 2010 at 5:05 pm

    I milk a Jersey cow and drink raw milk. Love it! Ball says you can’t cold-pack green beans, but my mom, Grandma, aunts, sister… all cold-pack them. I think they have to boil for three hours, but they keep just fine, and all my forebears lived to a ripe old age. I only had sausage canned the way you’re talking about one time, as a child, when we were visiting an aunt and uncle on the farm.

  • Reply
    barbara taylor
    February 7, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    We never canned sausage. I think it’s a family thing – my mother was not so sure it would stay good. We would slaughter the hogs in the building outside and scald them to remove the hair- while we watched, but no no, we weren’t going to can that sausage.
    I second what Miss Cindy said about raw milk. I am still looking for some.
    Let’s bring back the good life.

  • Reply
    barbara gantt
    February 7, 2010 at 3:46 pm

    I have never canned the sausage. We had friends in NC, Caldwell County that canned it this way. I have eaten it but was always a little nervous about it not being pressure canned. Never got sick eating it.My Mom froze it. I wish that there were more informaton about the safety of this and what it is OK to eat. Thanks for the post. Interesting to learn that other people can this way. Barbara

  • Reply
    Kay B.
    February 7, 2010 at 2:52 pm

    Tipper, I have never canned sausage this way for my personal use but I have helped a neighbor can it this way and know other people who have always used this method.
    I am like you for the fact that I am leery of doing it this way without pressure canning it. But at the same time, all of those people who did it this way cannot be wrong.
    I also feel the same way about canning green beans; I don’t think they will be safe to eat if I don’t pressure can them but my MIL always canned hers outdoors in a washtub over a fire and never made anyone sick; she was a fantastic cook and many people would flock to her house on Sundays to eat; I did every chance I got. LOL.
    I also want to thank you for this great site; it brings back so many wonderful memories for me and I love the stories and comments from people.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2010 at 2:38 pm

    My mom and grandmother use to do lots of canning but not ever meat. I’ve never heard or seen this but found it very interesting.

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    Vicki Lane
    February 7, 2010 at 1:58 pm

    Interesting post. I’m guessing the grease keeps the air out so the meat doesn’t spoil. But I’ve always frozen my sausage.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    I never heard of canning sausage, learn something new everyday. I bet mom has heard of it, I will have to call here later on.

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    Helen G.
    February 7, 2010 at 1:35 pm

    So far as I know no one in my family canned sausage or any other meats although they canned many, many veggies and fruits. As far as the toxins or bacteria that may have been in the meat… that is probably why we of that era have better immune systems and rarely get hit with “super bugs” that are so hard to treat nowdays. We were allowed to get dirty, eat canned food and play with or visit other kids that had mumps or measles with the hope that we’d get them ailments and get it over with and get on with our lives. With all the antibiotics that are fed to the cattle, hogs and chickens my theory is that children in this generation have ingested so many antibiotics through their food that their immune systems aren’t as strong and able to fight infections like we were.

  • Reply
    Mickey McKee
    February 7, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    I have canned meat in spaghetti sauce and chili but always pressure cooking it. However my MIL tells stories of her parents killing 100’s of ducks at one time and her and her mothr canning them cooking and putting 1 duck to a quart jar and capping it with fat. I think there is a secret in the fat used to cap it!

  • Reply
    Eva Wike, Ph.D.
    February 7, 2010 at 11:55 am

    Hay Tipper: Don’t shew eber be afeard that thar homemade sausage is less than purfeck! No doubt it tis good and hellthe! My mama raised a ELEVEN children to be hearty adults on sech vittles! We pert nigh did the cooken/cannen process like you described – sept we made sausage BALLS stead of them thar patties! Don’t know why sept mama said so!!
    Your article is mighty fine! Within a secund of fixen to begen readen hit, hit brough back that wunerful aroamer frum our cook stove! I member verry well caus I wuz the stirrer of the cooken sausage!
    Love, Eva Nell Mull
    The Matheson Cove

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    February 7, 2010 at 11:45 am

    Tipper: The wife and I did a lot of canning when we had the children at home but we always froze our meat. I know that freezing fish does a good job.

  • Reply
    February 7, 2010 at 11:05 am

    None of my family has ever canned sausage. However, I have heard about it. In one of my “church lady” cookbooks, there is a recipe for canning fish.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    February 7, 2010 at 10:35 am

    Tipper, being a part of the Pressley family I helped with this process. I wasn’t raised with hog killing so this was all new to me. I was astonished at the sausage canning process. They told me how it was done but I had to see it to grasp the process.
    We had two dishpans full of freshly ground sausage, two cast iron frying pans on the stove and two electric frying pans. There were five of us working and it still took a while to can all that sausage.
    They told me that the sausage canned would taste like fresh cooked sausage. I didn’t really believe them, but it was the truth. Frozen sausage is never that good. AND, you have that grease to make gravy…wonderful with biscuits!
    I have a vague memory of someone telling me that they also had put the cooked sausage in a crock and covered it with grease then used it from the crock as needed. I wish I could remember more of that story.
    Back when canning jars were not so available, people used every thing that was available to them. They used the crocks in the summer to pickle vegetables and canned the results. Then when the canning jars were all full they put one more run in the crock and used it directly from the crock. They ate the contents of the crocks before they opened any jars. This allowed them to maximize every container they had. These were conservative people, using everything they had in a time before home freezers.
    We could learn from the old ways and that is exactly what you are doing with this great Blog of yours. You are both learning and teaching.
    Thank you!
    PS: Don’t worry about the Ball Book they had to be very cautious with their instructions. Also remember this was at the same time that they started to cook milk to make sure it was pure. Now we can’t even buy raw milk! Do you know how many people grew and thrived with raw milk? Well I don’t know exactly how many there were but I know it was a bunch! This was the same time they told us butter was not good for us so they started pushing Margarine. Look how long it took for THEM to figure out that hydrogenated fat is lethal!
    Wonderful post!

  • Reply
    Julie at Elisharose
    February 7, 2010 at 10:09 am

    I’ve often wondered about canning meat. I don’t know anyone who does it. You can buy canned meats in the store, so I guess it can be done, but I’d be scared of it. Can you do other cuts of meat like they do the sausage? Might have to read up on it.

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