This article will be presented in two parts as this first section is a review on Zaycon’s new product, their sausage links, which will include the results of my canning experience of this sausage product and then tomorrow you'll see all of the detailed canning instructions. Yup, I’ve already ruined the best part of this gripping tale of mystery—hee hee—yes, you CAN can sausage. Since I’ve already provided you with a spoiler, I might as well give you a little bit more “spoiling” by telling you that not only can you can your sausage BUT…it’s easier than any of the other protein products that I’ve ever canned. Yay!! So let’s start at the beginning so that I can answer all of the anticipated questions.
Copyright 2013 Preparedness Pro Cooking fresh Zaycon Sausage Links
I received 60 pounds of Zaycon’s newest product last month, sausage links. The funny thing is that since I’ve been purchasing Zaycon’s chicken, bacon and ground beef in excess of a hundred pounds each time (because I usually get it FREE or no more than 64 cents a pound!), their Sausage Sales Event of 20 pound increments seemed to be so tiny in comparison, so I ordered 3 of their 20 pound packages thinking that it would provide us with breakfast sausage sufficient for 4 to 6 months. Well, boy was I wrong! I received 6 of the relatively small boxes, each holding 10 pounds of beautiful sausage links that were custom-made for Zaycon by Farmland.
Copyright 2013 Preparedness Pro Zaycon Sausage is packed by WEIGHT, not # of sausages
As I began to inventory the number of sausage links in each box it seems that they kept going and going and going. The boxes are packed based on weight of the meat, not the number of sausages as indicated when I opened one box that just had a few sausage links laying on the top with the subsequent rows packed full of more links. All in all the 6 boxes contained more than 6 layers of 26 sausages each; 6 boxes coming in at just under 1,000 links. Yup, that’s a lot of breakfast sausage.
Crisis—The Mother of Invention:
I had put off the chore of canning the sausage when I first got it partly because I was discouraged with all that I had read on the internet and in my pressure canner’s instruction manual about the problems with canning sausage. (The other reason was because I just wasn’t in the mood!) The online consensus was that canned sausage just doesn’t’ have the same taste or is as good as fresh. My experience with the canned meats that I had tried in the past was that it turned out BETTER than regular cooking from fresh as it was more tender, had a greater depth of flavor, and was always just plain fabulous. But after reading hours and hours of what others had to say, I was nearly convinced that sausage wouldn’t enjoy the same results. Major bummer. However Life had other plans for me as I discovered this past Thursday that our large upright freezer was no longer keeping our meats frozen throughout. As a result, I suddenly had to hurry and can all of my proteins before they went bad. Since I now had limited freezer space elsewhere in the house, I knew I had better start canning all that I could and I’d better solve my sausage problem.
Whether it’s a marketing campaign, meal planning for a year, purchasing a new firearm, or taking on a new method of training the dogs, I’m all about TESTING things first. I’ve discovered that testing saves me a LOT of stress, time, and most definitely money. So, I decided to apply some of the old fashioned principles of canning to the sausage and can them three different ways, but each way would be without water. I only did one pint of each so as to TEST which ones turned out well.
First of all, in order to have a baseline, I cooked up some of the sausage links to see how they tasted PRE-canning. I don't know what happened. The Boogie Man must have been right there beside me because before I could share these 3 links with the hubby, they were all gone. I thought that they tasted perfect. Not too spicy but definitely not bland. So now it was time to move on to testing whether or not this product actually COULD be canned, otherwise I was going to have quite the problem on my hands.
I filled one pint jar with links that I had cooked all the way through. (That jar wasn’t very full because I tasted that sausage too after I cooked it and, yep, you guessed it, it was tasty as well. That's called BATCH Quality Control. *grin* I really did love, love, love it. It’s definitely a winner of my attention the next time Zaycon offers it.) After doing research I had decided NOT to try canning it the traditional way with packing the meat down and adding water to it. After all, "pork broth" just doesn't sound good or necessary and my old-timer notes showed very successful canning for some meats when canned this way. So I decided that sausage fit the bill.
I filled another pint jar with raw links, and then the third jar I filled with the innards of the links, as if it was just ground sausage, however, I was careful to pack that particular jar lightly. My rule of thumb is that when you pressure can ground meats, it’s best to cook them first and then rinse it and then pack it and top it off with hot water just before canning. However, given the problems that I was seeing online, I decided that I would still can it raw, but NOT pack it so firmly so as to ensure that all of it got sufficiently cooked during the canning process. You have a LOT more surface space when you are doing ground meat.
Copyright 2013 Preparedness Pro Cooked sausage links before canning
The next day I opened the three canned sausage methods, browned them (or warmed them up as in the case of the pre-cooked sausage) and shared them with a friend and my hubby to get their feedback.
Copyright 2013 Preparedness Pro Warming up the 3 test cases of sausage to try
The verdict? All three of the sausages were really good, but the one that was pre-cooked and then canned just wasn’t as great as the others that were pressure canned raw. I’ve come to believe that one’s canning experience depends on the quality of the product you start with. Clearly the Zaycon sausage was a great product and it did very well in holding up to the prolonged, high pressure. (Upper left of the picture was the pre-cooked. Upper right is the raw links. Bottom center of picture is that which I just took out of the casings and canned.) Wanting to take this experiment a step further I then proceeded to try the sausage every day for 3 days. The results didn't vary however, I did discover that it's important to remove and drain the sausage from the cooking pan as soon as they are done and allow them to shake off some of the grease otherwise they tasted a bit "wet" inside, for lack of a better word. I had forgotten to do so on one of the batches as there was a marked difference in taste and texture.
Bottom line—these were DEE-LISH-OUS Before And After Canning!!
Copyright 2013 Preparedness Pro Raw links with casings removed for more of a ground sausage product test
I'd say that purchasing the Zaycon Sausage is worth your time and Farmland and Zaycon have a great relationship! Getting the sausage at a stark discount doesn't hurt either. I strongly encourage you to enroll to receive the Zaycon Sales Event e-mails EVEN if they aren't in your area yet. (They are all over but I always hear from a whiner or two about them not being in their area. My typically unpublished response to that is "So what? There's STILL all kinds of fabulous opportunities available to others you know AND you can still get them in your area. I'm really easily repelled with whining and the words "I can't.") When you enroll, you'll get your very own Referral Link that you can share with others and tell them about Zaycon. Everytime someone enrolls from your Referral Link they are your referral forever. So everytime they make a purchase you get $1 in Zaycon credits. So even if they aren't in your area it doesn't prevent you from sharing them with other people elsewhere in the U.S. and accruing Zaycon dollars in the meantime. There's nothing quite so motivating as seeing that you have enough Zaycon Dollars sitting in your account that would buy you 40 pounds of the best boneless chicken breasts I've ever seen. *grin*
2013 Copyright All Rights Reserved
One of the items on my “list” of items to stock up on and can was ground sausage. I wanted it to add some punch into homemade spaghetti sauce, on sourdough pizzas, inside calzones, etc. So before I got the sausage I had hoped to be able to remove the casing from some of the links and “make” ground sausage out of it or at the very least I was hoping that I could cook up some of the links, then slice them and then can them. As you'll see in tomorrow's article, I was even able to do this with these sausage links. Yes, I suspect that if I purchased ground sausage at the store it would be less expensive per pound than the links, but since this order was free for me anyway, I had no problem creating "ground sausage" from the links and yes, of course, it tasted JUST as great.
Well, now that you know the verdict, tune in tomorrow for the EZ PZ Canning Instructions for this fabulous sausage.
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Kellene, we really loved the article! we were considering ordering the bacon, from Zacon but were worried about quality & didnt want some more "see thru bacon" thanks!. ( if you dont mind us asking, how do you get your meats "Free or no more tha 64 cents a #) as stated in your article. We could really afford a lot more if we can get it for this cost ;-) thanks so much Feather & crew
I wrote an entire article on canning Zaycon's bacon. You can see the pics and such there. Just put in "canning bacon" in the search bar. You can also put in "zaycon foods" to see how to get them free, although I thought that I did give some indication of that in this article, but perhaps I'm getting myself confused.
Clearly, with all of the free product I've received, it has been my pleasure, at least temporally speaking, but seriously, I LOVE IT when I get to hear how much people love some of the things I've suggested. It makes some of the tougher days worthwhile. *grin*
I'm an avid reader and interested in most every thing ya have to say. I canned johnsonville sausage like two yrs ago. one can didn't seal so i ate them. Wow they were almost too tender with amazing flavor. I forgot to brown them, oh well. Raw is the way
so far we have purchased the chicken tenders, ham, sausage links, and tomorrow we get the chicken breasts... I can hardly wait....everything so far has been so wonderful....thanks Kellene for sharing Zaycon with us........hugs
We bought some of the Zaycon sausage links and really like them. I am thinking about canning some of them.
When I received my 20 pounds of sausage, the first thing I did was have them for supper! It's just as you said, they were very tasty but didn't have a "bite", they were just incredibly tasty! I wanted to try caning them but seriously did NOT know where to begin, so...I said to myself, "Wait on Kellene" and am so glad I did. I just knew you would let us know how to do it and which way produced the best results! So thank you Kellene! Once again you have come through. I CAN can!
Glad I could help!! It was fun even though a bit stressful due to the timing of it and all. *grin*
Third now. Mine didn't go through either.
I haven't perused the site that much, but how can you find the price on the other stuff. Just watch and wait or is there a way to get messages?
It's different in each area, and depending on the time of year, Pat. So watch and wait for your area.
So if you can't can smoked meat does it have to stay refrigerated? I mean they used to be stored hanging from rafters and such. Is this a similar case with eggs and we just got used to fridge/freeze them?
Yes, Pat, that's true, however, I don't think we can trust another person's definition of "smoking" to be the same as the smoking of meats in the olden days. So yes, you'll want to keep it refrigerated.
On the Zaycon meats, we have traveled all the way to Albany Oregon to pickup their hamburger, bacon & hams..over a 7 hour trip for us one way(we go up and stay over night). The chicken we traveled over 3 hours to pickup. Would I do it again...you bet ya! I can not wait for the hamburger event again.
Someday when I am rich I will get the pressure canner for doing the meat. Until then we eat what I can squeeze in our freezer.
Just for those who do not know I researched Zaycon for food processing before I purchased any of their products. As a person who raises home grown meat I can not raise the beef for the same price. The next is their own processing plant for quality control is the other selling point, then your recommendation pushed it over the top for us. Thank you.
I'd suggest you ask around and see if someone has a pressure canner you can borrow. Also, pay attention to the classified ads in your area. I'm telling you, everytime I put something on my list, He always seems to provide a way for me to have it. He's pretty wonderful that way when we are striving to live better lives.
Have you tried their ham? We had it again tonight and OH MY GUACAMOLE it' SOOO fabulous!!! So far the only thing I've not been head over heels in love with was the German Brats. They were fine, I'm just not in love with them and I'm the only one that eats them in our household.
Yes, you can thaw it and then can it. I definitely don't always have the "oomph" to can something just because Zaycon brings it in on a specific day. I try to, but it just doesn't always happen that way.
We ordered them for Christmas present this past season, gave each one of them to the adult kids one plus one for my sister and one for us........yum does not describe the flavor of the ham. The left overs we vacuum sealed and I put it in the freezer for later use. German brats give me heartburn so we have to boil them in a liquid before we brown them, I love them with sweet spicy mustard. It helps with the heart burn, my dh loves them also.
I will keep a look out for the pressure canner. Your past advice, that is how I found my wheat grinder, it might be 20+ years old, looks brand new and works like it just came off the shelf.
Missed the new meat sale for brats. Why I thought you were referring to store bought is beyond me, must have been one of those days my brain took a vacation. I owe you and Zaycon an apology for the mistake.
Hadn't thought about canning the sausage. We're getting chicken breasts from Zaycon this weekend. We're going to freeze some, can some, give some to my daughter and make/can some chicken soup. It's going to be a very interesting weekend.
I get mine tomorrow--120 pounds of them. So excited!!! I'm going to make my favorites such as Chicken Poppyseed Casserole and Crispy Lemon Chicken and Chicken Italian as well as my yummy Angry Italian Soup! The rest I'll can and enjoy later!
Did you have a problem with the canned links sticking together? I've done mine wrapped in parchment paper (similar to the way I can bacon).
I did, but I just put the whole stuck bunch together in the skillet and once they warmed up a little bit, they separated just fine. That wouldn't have worked though if I had used the regular mouth jars. Wide-mouth is definitely the way to go.
I'm picking up my first order of Zaycon Chicken Breasts on Saturday, thanks to YOU! I will can some and freeze the rest. Looking forward to trying the canned version in my chicken pot pie recipe. Thanks for sharing your knowledge!
There's a really great recipe by America's Test Kitchen that's "Just Chicken Pie". This is FABULOUS with this chicken so I'm sure you'll have a fabulous chicken pot pie too, Dear.
Thanks so much, canning meat seems to be the big fear for many of us. Grew up on a farm and you froze meat. But like you after loosing a freezer and the time constraints of family and work, pre cooked on the shelf is the way to go. Thanks and GOd Bless.
If I could have learned to can meat first oh so long ago, I would have started there! It's SOOOO easy!
I purchased my sausage about a month ago and sealed 2 person servings (4 sausages) in my Food Saver and froze them. Interestingly, I put them on to cook just before I read your article.
My question is - when is your cookbook coming out? Your recipes sound yummy and I can't wait to try them.
The date I have is May 14th, I believe. Finally!!!
Great article. I have canned brats but not link or smoked sausage. I started to register on the Zaycon site but stopped when they did not accept my referral source (you). I entered both your name and website with no success. I feel you should have the credit for telling us about the site. If you will provide the information I need to do this, I can complete my registration. Thanks for all you do to help us. I always look forward to your information, it's the very best out there.
Sue, if you click on the link source that I provide throughout the article, you should already BE enrolling through me as that's my referral link. But you are the 2nd person I've heard this problem from. Grrr... The good thing though is that they know me there and I can check with the IT guy. Thanks!
I am getting my chicken Thursday and plan on canning some of it on Friday. Then I'll freeze what I can't get to, then I'll can it later. I bought 80 lbs which for ONE person is way too much to can at one time. Not sure if I should do pints or quarts?
Cathy, since it's just you, I would can them in wide-mouth pint jars. Also, to "stretch" the ones you freeze for dishes that require a whole breast, make the most of it by pounding it out a big. I do this with the ones I keep reserved in the freezer and I can feed the Hubster and myself easily on one breast since they are the Jumbo size.
Also, with 80 pounds that should give you 80 MEALS. For one person that's an AWESOME chunk of your yearly protein needs right there! I'd be doing a Happy Dance if I were you!! In fact, I'll do one for you right now! hee hee
Speaking of Zaycon, I was wondering if you have canned their smoked ham?
I tried, but failed. I think it is due to the smoking. Both the meat and the water
came out almost black. Any tips on that, or can you just not can smoked ham?
I'm having one of their hams for dinner tonight! Yum! I won't even attempt it. It's my understanding that canning smoked goods is NOT a pleasant experience.
My wife and I have enjoyed your instructions on canning hamburger and chicken. I am excited to try canning the sausage. We picked up our Zaycon sausage several weeks ago, bagged it in small quantities and froze it.
My question is: Can we let it thaw (in the refrigerator) and then can it?
Thanks for all your wonderful information and look forward to your book.
Good write-up. I definitely appreciate this website.
Stick with it!
Have you tried canning franks and polish dogs yet? Do you can them as you did the sausage?
Yes, you can.
Great article! Zaycon is
Great article! Zaycon is coming to our area this month and I was a bit nervous about canning sausage. I have done raw chicken canning without water which turned out to be perfect! Your article has given me the courage to try it.
How did you get free sausage? Interesting :) lucky you!
Have you canned their bacon? I need info on that as well.
Thank you for you review!
Cheryl from MI
I too will be getting my
I too will be getting my first box of sausage links from Zaycon on Tuesday. Do you add and "liquid" to your sausage links when canning them?
The directions are for dry