Monday, June 30

Canning Rabbit Meat

Rabbit is quickly becoming the new white meat.  Prices in stores vary greatly but I have seen prices range between $10.00 to $18.00 per pound!
Rabbits are efficient meat producers meaning they provide good meat without high cost or much waste.  Also efficient in that rabbits, using the same amount of food and water that a cow needs to produce a pound of meat, can produce six pounds of rabbit meat.

Rabbit meat is mild flavored, tender, high in protein, low in fat, low in cholesterol, low in sodium and low in saturated fatty acids. 
And, comparing it to beef, pork, lamb, turkey, veal and chicken, rabbit has the highest percentage of protein, the lowest percentage of fat and has the fewest calories per pound, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Remember, rabbit meat can only be pressure canned.  Water bath method does not produce high enough heat or pressure to kill any and all bacteria that could lead to botulism and food poisoning.  Make sure to read the directions that came with your pressure canner before starting.

Rabbit meat can be used in any recipe calling for chicken.  Examples are pot pies, stews, or casseroles. Pressure canned rabbit (chicken and venison too!) is very moist and tender.

Depending on the size of the rabbit at time of butchering, it will take approximately 2 to
2 ½ rabbits to make enough meat to fill 1 quart canning jar. 

Boil or cook rabbit meat until about 2/3 done or no longer pink

What You’ll Need

About 14 to 18 medium size dressed rabbits
7 wide mouth quart jars and lids
Pressure canner
Large pot, canning tools, knife, etc.

Canning Rabbit

Hot Pack, No Bones
Make sure rabbits are clean and free of any fur. Use only healthy freshly dressed rabbits.
Brine rabbits for 1 to 2 hours or overnight.  Brine is a solution of 1 tablespoon of salt to 1 quart of water.  Brining also works great for chicken and turkey.
After brining rinse rabbit to remove most of the brine solution.

Remove the meat from the bone

Place the entire rabbit into boiling water and boil until approximately 2/3 cooked or until meat is white and has very little pink.  Cooking the meat makes it much easier to remove from the bone.
While rabbit is cooking, clean and sterilize canning jars and lids. Keep jars hot until ready to can. Wide mouth jars are the most ideal to use for canning meat because they're easier to pack, easier to clean, and the meat is easier to remove later.
Once the rabbit is cooked, take the rabbit out of the boiling water and allow it to slightly cool.  Remove the meat from the bone. 

Loosely pack meat into jars

Pack hot meat loosely into hot quart jars. Add 1 teaspoon of salt.  

Add 1 teaspoon of salt to each quart

Now add a little of the broth the rabbits were cooked in, leaving approximately 1 ¼ to 1 ½ inch head space.  Wipe jar rim to insure a good seal and apply the 2 piece lid to fingertip tight.
Process in a pressure canner with 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes.

Hot Pack, Bone In: 
You can also leave the bones in the meat and pack into the jars. Add 1 teaspoon of salt and add broth. Leave 1 ¼ headspace.  Wipe rims and apply lids. Use 10 pounds of pressure, process for 75 minutes in a pressure canner.
Add broth, wipe rim and apply 2 piece lid

Raw Pack:  Another method is to cut up the raw rabbit meat and pack into the jars.  Add 1 teaspoon of salt but do not add any liquid.  Leave 1 ¼ headspace. Wipe rims and apply 2 piece lid.  Process at 10 pounds of pressure for 90 minutes.

Canned rabbit meat ready for the pantry

Rabbit Stock:
You will have lots of bones and tiny scrapes of meat leftover so why waste them.  Rabbit tastes a lot like chicken (not kidding) so why not make Rabbit Stock?
Follow the directions for Chicken Stock here, but substitute rabbit instead.  Use in any thing you would use chicken stock in.  Example:  Use Rabbit Stock in this Mushroom Soup.

I have sauerkraut fermenting and many of my peppers are coming in and soon I'll be busy canning tomatoes. What's in your garden and what are you canning this summer?


More Information on Rabbits:


Anonymous said...

Spot on with this blog write-up, I seriously had a hard time finding good instructions on how to process rabbit meat. I too have seen whole rabbit for sale in the grocery store priced higher than the best steak and labeled "exotic", funny. I'll be returning to read more of your posts,thanks for the advice and directions! Tim

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Tim: Yes, isn't that funny? I didn't know when my brothers and father were hunting when I was a kid that it was "exotic" meat we were eating, hahaha

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the info on canning rabbits. Seems the internet rabbit information is not keeping up with the home rabbit raising trend going on. At least not where preservation is concerned. This was very helpful as we are soon butchering our first batch. Thanks, Sal

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

You're welcome Sal. Actually I am in the middle of canning another batch, but a couple of them we are freezing whole to either roast or BBQ. Glad this post helped!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your info on canning rabbit meat. I really appreciate your post and I will be waiting for your next posts. Thanks once again.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Your welcome, stop back anytime

Anonymous said...

Well this is a first! I have canned a lot of things but never rabbit meat. We are considering raising rabbits so this was very helpful in making a decision. Thanks for sharing. MaryAnn

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

MaryAnn: You may want to read the two blog posts my daughter Alexis wrote concerning rabbits, their history and why she made the decision to raise them. I have the links posted with this post.

Anonymous said...

Just admiring the commitment you put into your website and the in depth information you offer. It's awesome to come across a blog every once in a while that isn't the same out dated rehashed information. Excellent read!

Anonymous said...

How long does the canned rabbit stay good? I am looking to get into rabbit breeding for meat and preparedness.

Elizabeth Ohiothoughts said...

Most canned items are supposed to be good for up to one year. Mostly because they begin to lose vitamin and mineral valve over time. But most canned goods will last for years if processed correctly and properly stored. (Store in a cool, dark location with minimal temperature fluctuation) And of course, there should be a rotation of jars. Use your own discretion and research it for what best suits you. Hope that helps.