Thursday, April 28, 2011

Canning pepperoni (well why not?)

I confess, I'm one of those bothersome types of canners who will look at virtually any food product and ask myself, "Can I put that in a jar?"

This happened recently with pepperoni while I was making pizzas for dinner. As I removed pepperoni from the bulk bag, I wondered - "Can this be canned?"

My friend Enola Gay had already done so (no surprise there!) so I decided to give it a go. Half the fun of canning, you see, is to try new things and see if they work out.

By now you're probably asking yourself, why the heck would I want to can pepperoni?

It's because I can make from scratch everything else on a pizza -- the dough from our own wheat, the sauce from our own tomatoes, the mozzarella cheese from our own cows -- but what's a good pizza without pepperoni? It would be nice to have some canned up for a "bleep" situation when a hot pepperoni pizza could lift everyone's spirits. Anyway, that's my story and I'm stickin' to it.

So I started with five pounds of pepperoni purchased at the wholesale grocers.

I stuffed as much as I could into wide-mouth pint jars. This particular pepperoni is large, so next time I think I'd use pepperoni with a smaller cut. As it was, I had to kind of squish the pieces into the jars. I could fit half a pound into each jar. I did NOT add water to the jars -- I dry-packed them.

The default time for canning pints of meat is 75 minutes, 10 lbs. pressure.

Pressure building...

When I removed the jars after processing, it was too dark in the kitchen to take good photos (this was last night) but the results didn't look promising. The contents looked black and greasy. Yuck.

This morning, after the jars had cooled, it still looked... well, less than appetizing.

The pepperoni had shrunk down and released a lot of its fat.

When I pulled it out of the jar, it was very greasy.

But when you think about it, there's no more grease in the jar than was originally in the pepperoni itself. Conclusion: I think pried apart and put on pizza, it would be fine. However it would NOT go well on sandwiches. (Don sometimes likes to make pepperoni sandwiches.)

All in all I would do this again, and probably will. I like having odd and handy things canned up in my pantry, and I think you'll agree pepperoni falls into that category.


  1. Now TWO of my heroes have canned pepperoni! The first I heard of was Jackie Clay. IIRC, she used uncut pieces, sticks if you will. Boy, if I liked pepperoni, I would be going nuts!!!

  2. Not a bad idea- and since now im thinking about it I would probably can it like Enola does her bacon- rolled up in brown paper to absorb the grease and keep from sticking... ill give it a try that way and see how it goes- thanks for the great suggestion.

  3. Once I saw the glob at the end I was thinking "hmm... maybe next time if she does it with paper/parchment like with the bacon..." Would that possibly work?

  4. Good work!

    And I think you've improved the product. The rendered fat can be quickly rinsed off with some good hot water and then the meat drained and dried on a cloth or paper towel. Maybe even sandwich-worthy...? Either way, you're eating less saturated fat, and this is a good thing.

    A. McSp

  5. I have not yet canned any meats, but after seeing Enola's posting on bacon, what if you used the brown paper with the pepperoni slices and roll them up, maybe even bump up the jar size? Just thinking.

  6. How about canning it in spaghetti or tomato sauce? You could do a few jars with whole slices, and a few with the pepperoni chopped up stirred into the sauce. The whole slices might still be good on sandwiches, and you could just spread the chopped pepperoni sauce on your pizza and add all your other toppings.

  7. I'm thinking all that grease could lead to a great post on what to do with leftover fat...

    I thought of shining up my Jeep tires with my bacon fat the other day...until I realized every dog in the neighborhood would be chasing me down the block.

  8. All canned meat looks like something that crawled into a jar and died. That's why commercial companies put labels on their product; so you can't see the stuff.

    Aside from that, I fill the jars half full of water when canning sausages, just because it cuts the shrinkage slightly and floats the grease so it doesn't quite cling to the meat so much. It's easier to pour off.

  9. GREAT IDEA, Anon 10:23! I had not thought of partially filling with water. The issue I have with some meat is that it tastes "scorched" to some degree. I wonder how that pepperoni tastes, as it looks a little charred. Chicken and pork are the easiest for desired results, but I have trouble with gr beef and sauces. Even when I can it up before the sauce thickens, some of the tomato sauces scorch easily. Suggestions anyone?

  10. Thanks, Patrice. Our youngest boy is autistic, and has a pretty limited selection of what he will ear, although it enough of a variety that he stays healthy.

    One of his favotite foods is pepperoni pizza. As you noted, we can come up with most of the ingredients - I even bought several cans of freeze-dried mozzarella, set back for when TSHTF, but was worried about pepperoni. I DID find a source for papperoni-flavored TVP - even made into "slices" - but it would be most cost effective if we could just go ahead a can the real stuff.

    I'll keep following thsi thread to get more pointers, and share any success (or failure) stories myself.

    Has a recipes for peperoni and salami. With you raising you own meat this might be a better option than canning.

  12. That's funny. I just tried canning hard salami last week. I did it two ways, dry pack and wet. the dry pack turned out just like yours. The wet pack was much better. I placed the meat in the jars and put in boiling water with 1" head room. the meat did not shrink or dry up. I'll have to try peperoni now.

  13. I have recently canned pepperoni as well. I turns out great on pizza. Less grease but just as tasty. I even used my home canned mozzarella cheese on the pizza. The cheese turned darkish tan in the jar, but smelled, tasted and melted just fine. I also canned some leftover ham last week. I cut it into 1/2" pieces and it really shrank in the jar. I put it in in dry pack and it released enough juice to fill about half the jar. I have also canned meatballs...yummy. I will be canning more peps and cheese soon.

  14. We’ve been making our own pepperoni for several years and find it surpasses anything you can buy. There our recipes on the internet as well as sources for mixes. By making your own, you can control the amount of fat that you use and therefore have more control over the end results, if and when you decide to can.
    I can understand part of your dilemma, you have some of the best quality beef there is, and making it into sausage probably seems sacrilegious. We’ve made pepperoni from bear meat and moose meat find when mixed with some pork, it makes great sausage.

  15. I thought the whole purpose of pepperoni and other cured meats was to preserve it for storage. If properly cured (smoked or salted), left with casing intact, and properly stored, cured meats will last indefinitely. Really no need to can it.

    1. That's true of traditionally cured meats. However, the truth of the matter is that most cured meats sold in the store are not cured correctly, thus the reason they are sold refrigerated. Commercial companies cure them enough to get a finished product in as little time as possible. Also, unless you have the proper storage conditions, you don't want to store cured meats because they will spoil eventually.

    2. They are cured correctly...they are just not cured like they used to be when storage conditions were an issue. People now a days do not just want to taste salt, they want to taste the product.

  16. My husband likes to cook the pepperoni before we use it to pull out some of the fat. I wonder if that would help with the final product, or just result in an overcooked taste/texture.

  17. Ok...I made this, with a couple alterations. Turned out bomb! I had while pepperoni sticks, and I fixed it into a little bigger than 1/4" chunks. Fairly uniform . I placed a decent amount of parchment paper in the bottom of half pint jars and packed them; leaving 1" headspace. Pressure canned them for the recommended time and pressure for my elevation . They turned out AWESOME! The dice hold ever so much more of the grease than the slices, and breaks apart easily. I just crisp it off in a hot skillet for a few minutes and throw it in my pie. Sublime.

  18. I can pepperoni all the time. I crumple parchment or freezer paper and place in the bottom of the jar. The grease sticks to the paler and not on ur Jar