A few months ago, I pulled out our frozen pepperoni and it had turned green while in the freezer! Yuck! I did not want to even try using the rest of that pepperoni so we tossed it out.
Last fall my mom shared with me that some of the people in her online preparedness group can fresh pepperoni and/or fresh salami at home to make it shelf stable. She had tried it and both she and my dad liked the result.
Of course I felt so overwhelmed with a new baby and my toddler that I didn't think much of it until after my pepperoni turned green in the freezer - something I never even considered would or could happen to me! It was then I decided I should try canning it so that if the power ever went out for an extended period of time, my meat wouldn't be among the first foods to go bad in my freezer!
I had some regular mouth tall pint bottles and also some regular wide-mouth pint bottles that I thought I would use - and I really like the fancy tall regular-mouth bottles since the pepperoni looks so pretty in it.
At my mext Costco trip I bought the pepperoni and brought it home, all 3 pounds of it! I then set to work sanitizing my bottles and lids and then filled them full with the pepperoni and placed the lids on each bottle (after softening the rubber in hot water first), screwed on the bands and placed them in my 23-quart Presto Pressure Canner. It is important to make sure your pressure canner gauge and rocker are working well and that everything is clear and functioning properly per the manufacturer's directions.
I poured in water up to the line and locked on the lid and made sure the canner was level on the stove burner and then turned the burner on high (setting 10).
The thing about canning meat is that the time is the same no matter where you live, the only difference is the pressure you need to can the meat at. Since I live at 4800 feet above sea level and I have a dial gauge pressure canner, I needed the dial to reach 13 pounds before I started my time - which is universally 1 hour 15 minutes for pints (what I canned my pepperoni in) or 1 hour 30 minutes for quarts (per Joy of Cooking, 2006 edition, page 902).
Pressure canning does require vigilance and 'babysitting' but I believe the results far outweigh the time investment. Canning fresh meat at home surpasses commercially canned meats - and I didn't believe that until this last year when I first started canning meats at home.
For a first-time meat canner, fresh pepperoni is definitely the easiest meat to can as it does not require any pre-cooking. Just make sure your hands and bottles are clean and begin filling the bottles with the pepperoni until you can't fit anymore slices in it (I thought I had filled mine, but as you can see the pepperoni compresses down during the canning process). I was able to get about 1/2 pound into each bottle. That means I only filled about 6 pint bottles with pepperoni and you need to can at least 7 quarts or 14 pint bottles at a time in order to make sure the heat in the canner is uniform throughout the canning process. I ended up canning ground beef in the other 8 bottles - which I'll talk about another time - but this was a good 2nd meat to can to make sure I had 14 pint bottles since it didn't require any pre-cooking like other meats do.
The other benefit to canning your pepperoni is that all of the grease squeezes out of the pepperoni during the processing so that when you open the bottle to use the pepperoni and you get down to the pepperoni below the solidified grease line, you can easily scrape off or wipe the grease off of the pepperoni - that makes your home made pepperoni pizza much less fatty for you!
Surprisingly, the pepperoni doesn't feel or taste like it's been 'cooked' during the canning process. The texture feels very much like it did before it became 'canned pepperoni'.