Soaking deer meat
I was reading in your first gardening and canning book last night and saw something I have to ask you about. When we are preparing to freeze our deer meat, we always soak it for a couple of days, changing out the water and ice often. Without doing that the meat tastes somewhat “gamey” to me and I really don’t like eating it. But when we soak it, it tastes great to me. In the book you said not to soak the meat before canning it. Can you please explain a little more about that? Does it have anything to do with canning it?
If you prefer to soak it, just be sure that it remains below 40 degrees. Sometimes meat that is soaked in warmer water can have bacteria begin to grow in it, which can affect the taste and safety of the meat. I’ve never soaked my venison, and never found it “gamey” tasting; as I don’t like that taste either! We just skin it while it is still warm, then cool it very quickly, quarter, and store in a refrigerator until I can it. No, soaking won’t affect canning it. — Jackie
I have been working for a few years now trying to get a good supply of food storage and have done quite well. Though all experts say you should do water first, I only recently purchased some 55 gallon barrels. We were wanting to hook them up to our gutters. The only problem is all recommendations said that you needed to drain over the winter. Any suggestions on how you could keep water in them all winter. I do live in North Alabama, but we still have some freezing weather.
If you don’t have ice on ponds and other still water over much of the winter, you can just leave the water in the barrels. The problem with leaving water in barrels in climates that have freezing weather is that they will expand and burst, leaving cracks in them. Then in the spring, they won’t hold water. — Jackie
… From your new cookbook I made the recipe for baked eggplant and it was very good but was wondering if the dark skin is edible. I have never eaten it because I didn’t know whether to or not. Also how do I preserve eggplant?
New Carlisle, Indiana
The skin is edible, but some folks choose not to eat it because of appearance or possible toughness if the eggplant was a little mature. You can home can eggplant. Here are the directions from my book, Growing and Canning Your Own Food: choose young, tender, non-bitter eggplant fruits. Rinse and peel, then slice, or cube, as you wish. You may salt slightly bitter eggplant by layering it in a colander and sprinkling on salt, more eggplant, more salt, etc. Let it stand for an hour, then press the eggplant to squeeze out the juice the salt has drawn, then rinse and drain well. Boil in fresh water for 5 minutes to heat thoroughly. Drain, reserving the liquid. Pack hot into hot jars, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Ladle hot liquid over eggplant, leaving 1 inch of headspace. Remove air bubbles. Process pints for 30 minutes and quarts for 40 minutes at 10 pounds pressure, in a pressure canner. (If you live at an altitude above 1,000 feet, consult your canning book for directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude, if necessary.) Tip: You can use tomato juice instead of water to boil your eggplant in, then pour it over the eggplant in the jars. This makes a very good recipe base and masks any bitterness of the eggplant. — Jackie