Canning spaghetti sauce with meat can be done safely at home. After all, in my opinion the best homemade spaghetti sauce is the classic, simple and satisfying bolognese. There are a few special considerations when canning spaghetti sauce with meat in it. Follow these instructions to stock your pantry with fresh, homemade spaghetti sauce.
Safely Canning Spaghetti Sauce with Meat
The reason that some foods, like most fruits, can be safely canned using a pressure canner because they are highly acidic, inhibiting the growth of the bacteria that produces the botulism toxin.
Tomatoes alone are right on the edge of the proper acidity level, so the current recommendation is to add lemon juice or citric acid to boost the acidity of any canned tomato product, just to be safe.
Meat is very low in acid. In fact, it provides a nearly perfect environment for dangerous bacteria to grow. This means:
You cannot use a water bath canner for canning spaghetti sauce with meat in it.
The water bath canner cannot reach a high enough temperature to kill the harmful bacteria. Use a pressure canner for any canned good containing meat.
Is Canning Spaghetti Sauce with Meat Worthwhile?
In all honestly, you probably don’t need to be canning spaghetti sauce with meat in it… here’s why:
- Process Times – Plain tomato sauce needs to process for about 20 minutes in a pressure canner, while meaty sauce takes a full hour. This not only drag out your canning days, but it depletes vitamins and nutrients in the sauce.
- Flavor – Canned meat just doesn’t hold its taste the way tomatoes do.
- It’s Easy to Add Meat Later – Really. You can just brown some burger meat and mix it with canned tomato sauce later, or freeze a batch of meatballs for future cooking.
However, sometimes the convenience of having a meal in a can is worth it. Or perhaps you need a way to store meat and are unable to freeze it. There are plausible reasons for canning spaghetti sauce with the meat already mixed in, but it isn’t always the best option.
Pressure Canning Spaghetti Sauce with Meat
If you decide that canning spaghetti sauce with meat is the best option for you, you’ll need a pressure canner. You can make your sauce using your favorite homemade spaghetti sauce recipe, by mixing tomato sauce with an herb package or even by following the instructions for making stewed tomatoes with onions and peppers.
When the sauce is ready, stir in the browned meat. Try canning spaghetti sauce with ground turkey, beef, bison, pork, goat or venison. Bring the sauce back to a boil and pack into your sterilized canning jars hot and steaming. For detailed pressure canning instructions, check out The Guide to Canning Tomatoes.
Process Times for Pressure Canning Spaghetti Sauce with Meat
- Dial-Gauge Pressure Canner
- Pints or Quarts- 60 minutes at 11 lbs of pressure
- Pints or Quarts – 70 minutes at 11 lbs of pressure
- Altitude Adjustment – Increase pressure by 1 lb for every increase of 2000 feet in altitude.
- Weighted Gauge Pressure Canner
- Pints or Quarts- 60 minutes at 10 lbs of pressure
- Pints or Quarts – 70 minutes at 15 lbs of pressure
- Altitude Adjustment – At any altitude over 1000 feet, increase pressure by 5 lbs.
Ball Canning Spaghetti Sauce Recipes
Ball, the famous mason jar manufacturer, has a great list of canning recipes. These recipes are carefully designed to account for the acidity of the ingredients, and provide detailed processing instructions.
Learn more about canning spaghetti sauce with meat at the Half Acre Homestead: