When you open a jar of home canned ground beef that has been stored in a cool storage place, it will probably look as though there is no water in the jar, but don’t trust appearances — you know there is, you put water in the jar for canning.
While it would be fine to tip the jar, beef and water and all, into a soup, you wouldn’t want that water going into a spaghetti sauce, or casserole.
Consequently, to use the ground beef we want to drain the water off, but we can do it in a way that preserves the water because that’s not just water, it’s genuine thick rich beef broth that can be saved for other uses (and that stores nowadays will charge you a couple bucks a tin for.)
Starting off, the first thing you notice is the fat at the top of the jar. The top of a jar of home canned ground beef may look like it’s all just a layer of solid fat, but it’s not. What you are seeing from eye level in the picture above is actually just a very thin layer of fat that got pushed to the outside of the neck of the jar. Given that the ground beef in that particular jar above is extra-lean ground beef, it may be surprising that there’s any at all there, but there’s about 2 teaspoons of fat there.
Open the jar of home canned ground beef, empty it into a large microwave safe bowl or jug. You may need to use a rubber spatula or spoon to get it all out.
Zap for 1 minute in microwave on high. You can do two minutes if you want, but 1 minute should do it. We want to heat it just enough to loosen the liquid.
Drain in a sieve, and use.
From the above photo, you will see that about 100 ml (½ cup / 4 oz) of water has come off, and, there’s our 2 teaspoons of fat risen to the top.
Skim that fat off — you can add it to a tub of beef fat in the freezer for roasting potatoes in, or discard.
Freeze the broth for soup or sauces.
This is really just about 2 minutes work in total. Contrast that with the time required if you had instead just pulled a block of frozen ground beef out of the freezer. Dinner would be a little further away.
And no, you cannot dry can ground beef .
Here’s information on how to can ground beef.