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 Canning Cheese

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Astraea

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Favorite Quote : Beware the deadly donkey falling from the sky You may choose the way you live, my friend But not the way you die
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PostSubject: Canning Cheese   Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:27 pm

from frontier freedom forum

Canning Cheese

When I heard about canning butter, I was also told that you can do cheese the same way. Here's what I do. I've only canned cheddar cheese, but I suppose it would work for any hard cheese. As with the canning butter recipe, I could not find any "approved" method in any of my books, and when I called the extension service, I was told that canning cheese like this was not an approved method by the FDA. Sooooooo, use at your own risk. This is just for information and to let you know what I do. Remember, this is not an FDA approved method.

Since the original writing of this post I have used this with Cheddar Cheeses, Swiss Cheese, Mozzarella, Monterrey Jack, Colby Jack, and even Cream Cheese (regular, not the soft kind in the tubs). All have worked beautifully, even the Cream Cheese. I have used them as long as 5 years after canning and have not become sick from any of them, even when eating the cheese right out of the jar. But, again, the FDA says that this is not an approved way to preserve cheese, so . . . use at your own risk. I have found that the flavor of all the canned cheese intensifies a bit over time, but it is not at all unpleasant. We prefer it. The Mozzarella Cheese darkened a bit, but it did not seem to affect the flavor, except that like the others, it was more flavorful.

There are really 2 ways. I used to melt the cheese in a double boiler, then spoon it into the sterilized jars. Sometimes the cheese sticks to the bottom of the pan, and the whole thing is a big, gloppy mess.

Here’s better way that’s cleaner, faster and easier.

1. I sterilize wide mouth pint jars (wide mouth half-pint jars may be used) in a 250 degree oven for at least 20 minutes. Since it's harder to regulate a woodburning cookstove oven to that low a temperature, mine is usually hotter. Since you'll process the cheese in a boiling water bath for awhile, this probably isn't necessary, but I think it's safer, so it's what I do.

2. Sterilize new canning lids according to package instructions. I let them simmer in water about 5 minutes, then keep them in hot water until I need them.

3. Now I either cut up the cheese, or if it’s frozen I crumble it and pack it into clean, dry pint jars. Then I place the jars (without lids) on a rack in my boiling water bath canner, to which I have already added some water. Do not put the lid on the canner while the cheese is melting. You want the water to come about halfway up the jars. Any higher and it bubbles into the jars if it gets to boiling. Then, as the cheese melts, I add more cheese until the cheese fills the jars to within about ½ inch of the top.

4. When all melted, I remove the jars from the canner, wipe the rims, and seal the jars. Then I proceed with the boiling water bath for 40 minutes. (I use the Extension Service method of doing a boiling water bath.) When ready, remove jars from water with a jar lifter. Leave undisturbed until completely cooled. Check to make sure all the lids have sealed before labeling and storing.

As with butter, 11 pounds will fill about 12 1/2 pint jars -- or just over 3/4 pound per pint jar. We keep ours in the cache year round. We’ve eaten cheese that I canned like this several years earlier and it was delicious. It tends to get a little sharper, which I like. It doesn’t melt as good as fresh cheese, but when you’re in the bush and don’t have fresh cheese, it’s more than acceptable any way you’d use fresh cheese! During the winter, we usually keep cheese stored in buckets outside so it stays frozen. But, like meat, come springtime with the warmer temperatures, I start canning.

To remove the cheese from the jar, there are basically two ways. You could place the jar in a pan of water (loosen the lid a bit first), and then place that pan in another pan of boiling (or hot) water. This melts the outside of the cheese and will help it slip out of the jar. But, it also heats the cheese, which may or may not be desirable. I usually just run a knife between the cheese and the jar. Sometimes the cheese will slide right out, but usually I have to sort of cut and pull it out in chunks.

I usually can butter in regular mouth jars because I don't try to take it out of the jar all in one piece. That would be hard with cheese.
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Astraea

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Number of posts : 2726
Age : 56
Location : Arizona, USA
Favorite Quote : Beware the deadly donkey falling from the sky You may choose the way you live, my friend But not the way you die
Registration date : 2007-08-11

PostSubject: more from preparedness365.com blog (April 2011)   Sat Jun 18, 2011 8:37 pm

1. Sterilize clean wide mouth pint jars or wide mouth half-pint jars in a 250º oven for at least 20 minutes. You’ll process the cheese in a boiling water bath for awhile, this probably isn’t necessary, but I like having the jars hot when I put the cheese in.

2. Sterilize new canning lids according to package instructions. I let them simmer in water about 5 minutes, and then keep them in hot water until I need them. (You can do this step after you get all the jars filled with cheese, while you are waiting for the cheese to melt.

3. Now I cut up the cheese, if it’s frozen you can crumble it and pack it into clean, dry pint jars. If you are in a hurry, you could grate the cheese but I don’t think it’s necessary. Then, place the jars (without lids) on a rack in a boiling water bath canner, to which you have already added some hot water. Do not put the lid on the canner while the cheese is melting. You want the water to come about halfway up the jars. Any higher and it bubbles into the jars if it gets to boiling. Then, as the cheese melts, I add more cheese kind of pressing it down into the jars, until the cheese fills the jars to within about ½” of the top.

4. When all the cheese is melted, remove the jars from the canner, wipe the rims very well, and seal the jars. One thing I should mention, as the cheese melts, you may notice a little oil rise to the top of the jars. DO NOT remove the oil. Once the cheese hardens again, it will be reincorporated with the cheese.

5. Next proceed with a boiling water bath for 40 minutes. When ready, remove jars from water with a jar lifter. Leave undisturbed until completely cooled. Check to make sure all the lids have sealed before labeling and storing.

Jenny at Frontier Freedom says, “We’ve eaten cheese that I canned like this several years earlier and it was delicious. It tends to get a little sharper, which I like. It doesn’t melt as good as fresh cheese, but when you’re in the bush and don’t have fresh cheese, it’s more than acceptable any way you’d use fresh cheese! During the winter, we usually keep cheese stored in buckets outside so it stays frozen. But, like meat, come springtime with the warmer temperatures, I start canning.”

There are 2 ways to remove the cheese from the jars. You can place the jar in a pan of water (loosen the lid a bit first), and then place that pan in another pan of boiling (or hot) water. This melts the outside of the cheese and will help it slip out of the jar. But, it also heats the cheese, which may or may not be desirable. I usually just run a knife between the cheese and the jar. Sometimes the cheese will slide right out, but usually I have to sort of cut and pull it out in chunks. *I removed the cheese from a jar I had canned and it mostly slid right out. You can also cut it in chunks and take it out.

Here’s what Jackie Clay from Backwoods Home said about how she cans cheese: “You won’t find this one in a canning manual, but I experimented and found something that works for me. One day I was canning tomatoes while whacking a chunk of cheddar cheese for lunch. Mmmm, I wondered. Tomatoes are acid. Cheese is acid. So I cut up cubes of cheese, sitting a wide-mouthed pint jar in a pan of water, on the wood stove. Slowly cubes of cheese melted and I added more until the jar was full to within half an inch of the top. Then I put a hot, previously boiled lid on the jar, screwed down the ring firmly tight and added the cheese to a batch of jars in the boiling water bath canner to process. It sealed on removal, right along with the jars of tomatoes. Two years later, I opened it and it was great. Perhaps a little sharper than before, but great. So I started canning cheese of all types and, so far, they’ve all been successful. To take the cheeses out of the jar, dip the jar in a pan of boiling water for a few minutes, then take a knife and go around the jar, gently prying the cheese out. Store it in a plastic zip lock bag.” — Jackie

Canning the cheese did not take long. I did 2 batches of 12 jars each on one day and it was really quick. Other than cutting up the cheese, most of your time is spent waiting for the cheese to melt (and adding more cheese to the jars) then waiting for the cheese to process. I canned just mild cheese but am going to do Mozzarella and Cream Cheese next. I loved doing this and seeing the jars of cheese on my shelf!
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