Meat is one of those things that people tend to be the most scared to try canning. Food poisoning can be a very serious matter. I don’t blame anyone who approaches preserving meats with trepidation. I was the same way when I first started canning! My biggest fear was that I would do something wrong and make my family sick because of a tiny mistake. It really was a step of faith for me when I opened that first jar of home canned meat, heated it up, and took that first bite. As a matter of fact, I didn’t let my family try any until the next day just to make sure I didn’t get sick through the night. It was that serious to me.
Why so much anxiety? In one word: Botulism.
Botulism is a rare, but serious illness caused by a germ called Clostridium botulinum. The germ is found in soil and can survive, grow, and produce toxin in a sealed jar of food. This toxin can affect your nerves, paralyze you, and even cause death. Even taking a small taste of food containing this toxin can be deadly.
Botulism is a medical emergency. If you have symptoms of food borne botulism, seek medical care immediately.
Symptoms may include the following:
I start off with this information not to scare you, but to inform you of just how dangerous it can be if you take short cuts when canning meat and other foods. It isn’t worth the risk to skip steps trying to save time or money. (continue reading)