Because of lots of public outcry, the NAIS, a government “wonderchild,” sponsored largely by large agribusiness type animal/poultry growers, apparently shriveled and came to a standstill last year. The NAIS is basically an animal/poultry identification system, wherein each and every homestead and individual that houses even one or two animals or chickens, will be required to register and identify each and every animal on their place. It gets even worse. What if you sell, show or give an animal away? You have to document each movement (at your expense, of course). And what if the animal dies (they do, you know!). It’s looking like they are wanting an autopsy at your expense to prove what the animal died from.
This Franken-bill is, in my opinion, only the start. The government has learned not to cause public outcry by taking giant steps. So it nibbles away at our freedoms in tiny bits that are “for our safety and own good.” They say things like “mad cow,” “bird flu” and people agree to anything.
Now they’re talking about tracking the vegetables farmers grow and sell (or give away) because of “bacterial contamination,” etc. For crying out loud!
For more information on this, check out: http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-875
Most of you readers know me pretty well and know I’m not highly political or radical. This stuff scares the crap out of me. First it’s your animals and vegetables and pretty soon it’ll be your children. We need to keep informed and active on this one or we’ll lose yet another freedom that will about kill self-reliant living! Gee…could that be what this is really all about?
Oh, by the way, we have our radiator fixed and a new, used fan on the way. Wow, it was hard to find parts!
I was wondering when you are going to publish your own cookbook? I know one person asked and you said sometime next year, just wondering when next year was. I can’t wait to get one of them!
New Freedom, Pennsylvania
I have just finished the new book and we’re working to put in photos, etc., along with all the finishing editing, etc. But it’s a book on growing and canning your own food, not a cookbook (although it does have a lot of recipes on how to use your home canned foods). It won’t be too long before it is available. — Jackie
Buying wheat from the feed store
Can a person buy their wheat that they are going to bake with and eat from the local feed store?
In a survival situation, that wheat would sure be okay. But it isn’t cleaned like wheat is that is destined for your table. It has more dust, small bits of chaff, bug parts, etc. If you want cleaner wheat, buy it from a bulk foods store or bread wheat outlet. — Jackie
After reading “Jackie’s Childhood” in the March/April 2009 “Ask Jackie” column, my mom and I wish you would write your autobiography pre-“Starting Over”. You are an interesting person and we enjoy your writing.
Me interesting? You should just ask my kids. They agree I’m pretty boring. I will mention this to Dave and see what he thinks. — Jackie
Canning pasta, shredded zucchini, and pickled squirrel
I recently received a free issue of BHM and was so impressed I ordered a 4 year subscription and all available back issues. I love the straight forwardness and the canning issues, I am learning a lot. Now my questions are: May a person can spaghetti, made with burger, noodles, and ingredients? And how would you can fresh shredded zucchini? And have you ever heard of a recipe for pickled squirrel? Myself and my wife love to can and when I come up with something useful I will send it in.
While you can home can pasta and rice recipes, such as chicken rice or chicken noodle soup, spaghetti, when canned, is a quite dense product, as you have much more pasta in it. So I wouldn’t recommend canning it. Can your seasoned sauce, complete with favorites, such as mushrooms, meat balls, sweet red peppers, or roasted tomatoes. Then just boil up your spaghetti pasta and you’re in business.
Shredded zucchini doesn’t can up very well; it gets mushy. It’s better frozen or dehydrated. Or best used fresh from the garden, of course.
I’ve never heard of pickled squirrel, but I’m sure someone, somewhere has done it. Any recipes out there? — Jackie
Growing grass for chickens
We would like to know what type of grasses chickens prefer to eat. We know chickens will eat anything, but we wanted to know if there was a type of grass or ground cover that chickens like better. We were thinking of clover, maybe vetch, or alfalfa. Also which would be the most nutritious?
Robert & Gloria Leustek
Gladstone, New Jersey
You’re right, thinking that legumes like clover, vetch, or alfalfa are both highly nutritious and loved by chickens. We are planning on turning our chickens out into our new orchard where it was planted in clover, along with the wheat and oats we harvested last fall. They will be “free ranging,” and also fenced in at the same time, being able to scratch, eat clover, bugs, and weeds at will. And they’ll stay out of my other gardens! — Jackie
I found where you told how to can meatloaf in Aug 14, ’07 blog. Can it be roasted or baked in a wide mouth glass jar or does it have to be cut up and put in a glass jar after it is baked?
Dallas City, Illinois
I used to just pack the meatloaf mixture into wide mouth quart jars, raw and process it that way. But now canning experts don’t recommend raw packing a dense product like meatloaf. So, instead, I make mini-loaves, just a little larger than my jars to allow for shrinkage during baking, then put them in a roasting pan, side by side and bake them just long enough to thoroughly heat them inside and shrink them down. I pack them hot, into hot jars and make a broth from the pan drippings and tomato sauce and pour over the meatloaf, leaving 1″ of headspace. These are processed (qts) at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes. If you live at an altitude over 1,000 feet, consult a canning book for directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude, if necessary. — Jackie
Canning cream soups
I was wondering if you could tell me the recipe AND how to pressure can cream of chicken (or mushroom, or whatever) soup? I’m convinced that what I can make at home will be much healthier than what I buy in the store. And I use it a lot as a base for recipes.
Unfortunately, this doesn’t work at home. If you make a condensed version like store bought soup, it’s too dense to home can (the center of the jar doesn’t always heat enough to kill bad bacteria), and if you use a homemade cream of whatever soup, with milk, it tends to curdle and look yucky. What I do is to can up small jars of chicken bits in broth or diced mushrooms in water, then when I want cream of… soup, I make a simple white sauce (2 Tbsp margarine, 2 Tbsp flour heated together, milk added to make a thicker soup and add the chicken or mushrooms.) It takes only a couple minutes and is much better, and more healthy than store soup. — Jackie
Growing enough to can
My question is concerning how to figure out how much of each vegetable to can and to eat fresh. Our garden was too small last year to do what I wanted. I know you wrote about this but can’t remember where to find it. I have your first CD and have been subscribing for 2 or 3 years.
Also, I feel like such a dork! I made a comment to you on line that you should write a book on dairy goats. I’d ordered the little book Starting With Dairy Goats and WOW you wrote it. I feel fairly confident with our upcoming kidding the first week of April. Now if I can just get the girls comfortable on the milk stand all is well.
Good luck with that radiator problem. My husband has a portable mill. When big equipment goes down it can be an economical killer to get it up and running smooth again.
Dinah Jo Brosius
Battle Ground, Washington
What we do is to eat all we want fresh and can the extra. Very soon you discover what you really need to grow more of in your garden so you have enough to do both. I used to alternate some foods so I had more room. Herbs, especially, I grew on alternate years, saving the room for more carrots or beans that we ALWAYS ran out of by the next summer. Of course, I expanded the garden every year until I had enough room for everything I needed and even a little room to try “exotics” we weren’t used to having in the garden.
We finally found a local radiator guy to fix the radiator; we couldn’t find a used or even after market NEW one anywhere in the country; I spent 3 days on the internet and phone. And just yesterday, we found a fan for it. (When the fan bites a chunk out of the bottom tank of the radiator, it really, really damages it!) So in a few days, Will should have the dozer back working again. Thank GOD! — Jackie
Turning jars upside down after processing
Are you suppose to turn processed jars upside down for 15 minutes or so after removing from the canner to insure them sealing?
I’ve been canning for years and have never heard much less done this. I’ve not had a problem with jars not sealing either. My friend tells me that it must be done that way.
No, don’t turn your jars upside down to seal them. In fact, this can cause jars NOT to seal. Check all your canning books and manuals. None say to turn them upside down. Old recipes for jams, jellies and preserves that weren’t water bath processed used to say that and I suppose it did help them seal because the whole contents of the jar remained hot that way. But it’s much better to be sure your jars seal by water bathing them instead of inverting them. — Jackie
I tried canning butter for the first time. I noticed on the bottom of the jars the butter is liquid, the body of the jar is solid looking and the lid is sealed tight. Is it normal for the butter to be liquid on the bottom and the rest solid? Is it safe?
Yes, that is normal. Mine has it in the pantry, right now. To prevent this, you can heat your butter while melting it, stirring as you do, to drive off the excess moisture in the butter. Some folks shake it as it cools to mix in the liquid so it doesn’t settle. I don’t. As canning butter is “experimental”, I can’t tell you that it is safe. I can tell you that I’ve used it for years with no problems, as have many, many other people. — Jackie