You Can Can Cheese! And Dehydrate! How to Preserve Your Own Cheeses


Alright, I am an admitted cheese hound…don’t believe I have met any cheese that I didn’t like but I always thought for long term storage that you either had to keep it refrigerated or as someone I know did on TV, you had to wax it for long term storage. OR you had to buy the freeze dried stuff at something close to a mortgage payment. Imagine this…you can CAN any cheese (water bath or pressure) or dehydrate it as I did previously with cottage cheese. And do so safely! Ssshhh! Don’t tell the food police I said that!

Pretty straight forward…I love cheddar cheese but this will work with ANY type of cheese.
Place your chosen cheese on a fruit leather tray thinly and dehydrate at 125 degrees until crunchy and vacuum seal!

There is a catch however. If you use regular cheese you will have to deal with the ‘fat’ that comes out of it. Originally I thought I would get smart and well, put paper towel under it while dehydrating but when I checked it half way through some had ‘melted’ to it. So don’t that at home folks…instead, dehydrate and after doing so place on a towel and pat the oil off and then vacuum seal! Each pouch contains approximately 1 lb of shredded cheddar cheese. Great crunchy snack by the way!

Next, I got squirrelly and tried canning it. You can can any cheese! Quartz, pints or half pints…it up to you as is the method either water bath OR Pressure canner. It is recommended for best results as to texture, taste and color to use the water bath method and here is how you do it:

Just like canning anything you will want sterilized jars and lids…get your canning water going so that it is ready and the lids too.

You will then take your clean jars and place them into a pan or pot that is big enough to hold the empty jars. Next, fill the pot/pan with enough water to get the water level at least 1/3 of the way up the side of the jars.

Turn on the heat and add small amounts of cheese (either shredded or cubed, I used shredded) to each jar, stirring occasionally as it melts. Add more cheese and allow to melt and so on until you have the jars full of melted cheese leaving ½ inch head space.
I used a clean butter/dinner knife to stir.
Turn off the heat. Because most cheese is ‘greasy’ I used straight vinegar to clean the jar lips and ring area. Then add the lids and rings as you usually would. Finger tight and then place into the canner.

If you choose to use the water bath method as I did here are the processing times:
Start the time once it comes back to a boil.

Pints and half pints for 30 minutes
Quartz for 45 minutes

If you are using a pressure canner please remember to build up the pressure as normal and then bring to proper pressure then start your time:

Less than 1,000 feet in elevation:
Quartz: 10 minutes at 10 lbs pressure
Pints and half pints: 5 minutes at 10 lbs pressure

Over 1,000 feet in elevation:
Quartz: 10 minutes at 15 lbs pressure
Pints and half pints: 5 minutes at 15 lbs pressure.

Final product:

As always, remember to carefully take out, place on a towel and cover to allow the processed jars to cool and seal properly. Once cool they will solidify again and presto! Real canned cheese!

Note: best to use wide mouth jars for ease of getting back out!

always faithful

Family Italian Style Sausage Pasta Soup Mix Canned


Italian Style In a Jar

In a previous life I was with a true blooded Italian boy (yes, in this lifetime and yes I deliberately use the term boy and not ‘man’ ). He loved to eat Italian food and for the life of me I can’t remember what specific meal he wanted but this is what it morphed into that can either be served as a ‘soup’ or a ‘topping’. Everyone who has ever eaten this always comes back for more so I thought I would can it. Now of course you can’t can pasta (at least not that I know, if you do, please let me know!) but this is the basis for my Italian style dish.

For good eats you will either make it into a soup by putting the canned mix into a beef broth base and adding pasta and cooking (about 2 cups of pasta per quart jar) until pasta is done OR by cooking your choice of pasta (about 2 cups per quart jar) and ladling your canned Italian mix over it including the juice/broth from the jar.

Each quart jar makes a hearty 2 person serving.

You know what to do to get your jars ready!

What you will need to make 7 quarts of this absolutely YUMMY and tasty dish is:

7 Quart canning jars and lids
5 lbs Italian or Bratwurst Sausage
5 ounces of dried chopped onion flakes (or if you prefer 6 finely chopped fresh)
½ gallon beef broth (I cheat by using bullion cubes)
8 ounces Parmesan cheese
1 lb quick prepared beans of your choice
boiled for 2 minutes, sit for an hour if you do it any other way you will wind up with MUSH!!!
4 Cans of diced tomatoes (the equivalent of fresh your choice)
2 cups minced garlic
4 Tablespoons powdered garlic
4 Tablespoons powdered onion

To prepare:

Prepare your choice of beans according to pack for the ‘quick’ soak method. Do not use the overnight method! I have found this will cause mushy beans as too much water is absorbed. Basically you are putting your dried beans into enough water, bringing to a boil for 2-3 minutes and then removing from heat to set to the side while you do the rest of prepping for this recipe.

Cut up your Italian/Bratwurst sausage into bite size pieces and place into a large pan to cook. I typically use whatever type of this sausage I can find on clearance including turkey sausage. Cook it! Stop short of over cooking. You want to keep it from hard browning (crispy) but cook it!

While you are cooking up your sausage bites get your broth going. You want this to be ‘boiling’ so that when you fill your jars you have hot broth to add.

Now the easy part! Put your onions, tomatoes, garlic and Parmesan cheese and stir well.
Drain your beans and add to your sausage mix. Stir/Mix well. Now add your powdered garlic and onion. Again MIX WELL. Typically I just wash my hands well and get right in there to make sure everything is mixed well spoons just don’t seem to work that well for me in such large batches.

Now to the fun part! Get your hot canning jars out and evenly distribute your sausage mix into the 7 quart canning jars. Ladle your hot beef broth into the jars to 1 inch head space. Be sure you use a knife to stir each jar to make sure you get the air out and the right amount of broth in each jar.

Wipe rims, put the lids on and put into your canner for 70 minutes processing time. You know what to do next!

To serve:
There are a couple of ways to serve this delicious dish, soup or pasta topping. See above.
As always, make sure you bring this delicious Italian mix to a boil for a few minutes before serving over pasta of your choice. If making a ‘soup’ no worries! You will heat this up enough by cooking the pasta. One note: if you are making a soup you will want to season to taste by adding additional garlic and onion powder.

For this post I used macaroni (which was an interesting happening when I tried to get it out…let’s just say the container lid didn’t hold and I had a mess) but you can use whatever you have on hand. That is old style Italian…use what you got! Feel free to experiment using different types of meat. I would imagine this would lend well to any type of meat you have!

Break the rules and eat good!
Survivingshtmom and VaCreepinOutdoors