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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
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Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning ground venison, storing apples, and homestead advice

Friday, January 11th, 2013

Canning ground venison

Some friends of ours gifted us a large amount of ground venison and venison “country” sausage. Since we have limited freezer space, we chose to can up the ground venison with some beef added. All the jars sealed, except one, so I am thinking it is sloppy Joe or taco bar tonight. The question I had is about the “country” sausage. I ended cutting the links into lengths that could fit into pint jars, browning those, and then roasting them until they were just done. I packed them into the jars and covered with beef broth. Processed them for 75 minutes and 11 pounds. All but one jar sealed. They look fine, but was wondering if that was ok. I know in your book you talk about sausage patties, but didn’t see anything on links. I tried initially to remove the casing and make into patties, but I think the links might have been “smoked”…the links were very dense. Please tell me that I don’t have to toss those jars.

St Paul, Minnesota

No, you don’t have to toss the sausage jars. They’ll be fine. The reason I don’t usually can links is that they often swell like a hot dog that has been over-boiled, making them look unappetizing. It has nothing to do with taste or safety. Enjoy your bounty. What a wonderful gift! — Jackie

Storing apples

I live in Maine. In the fall, I make a lot of apple sauce. Is there another way that I can store apples long term?

Allison Bradshaw
Ellsworth, Maine

Sure, Allison. You can can apple slices and apple pie filling, spiced apple rings and make mincemeat. Then you can dehydrate plenty of slices and dices. These are easy to store and last for years. Best of all, when they are rehydrated, they taste as good as fresh in baked goods such as pies and turnovers. We like to snack on them, too. — Jackie

Homestead advice

You’ve said that you have no resolutions for 2013, just to keep on keepin’ on. Is there any focus you feel is of specific importance in the coming year? My Beloved and I have no true homestead like yours; we are simply trying to survive on less income that we had in 2012. AND trying to figure out ways to supplement said income without jeopardizing what we do have coming in! So any further advice to those who are struggling?

Kathleen in Illinois

We, too, are very concerned about the economy and increasing lack of buying power. So we are trying very hard to get our “big ticket” expenses/projects done. For instance, the entire new forty acres is now fenced and the big barn is slowly getting under cover. We feel that we need to get set for the future the best we can and the fencing and barn gives us animal feed, storage for feed, and shelter for our livestock.

There are always ways to save money and saving is one of the best ways to earn extra cash. For instance, I very seldom buy anything that isn’t on sale. And I keep current with prices so I know when it really IS a sale. I buy no prepared meals for the oven or microwave (don’t have one). The more “prepared” a food is, the more it costs. Unless, of course, I have home canned it! If you don’t already can, start. It’s one of the best ways to save money and eat both more healthy and cheaply.

Everyone has talents they can market whether it is sewing, art, caring for children, yard maintenance, carpentry, growing food, writing, or elder care. Whatever you choose to help you supplement your income, be prepared to give 100% at what you do and you’ll succeed. May the New Year bring the best for you both. — Jackie

5 Responses to “Q and A: canning ground venison, storing apples, and homestead advice”

  1. Ruth Ann Martin Says:

    We are also concerned about our economy and other things that are happening in our country and I think it is a good idea to get prepared for some hard times. It is better to be prepared than not and wished you were. I also garden and can but not enough to be independent. I am expanding my garden this summer. I am in a “I don’t want to can mood” but I need to get out of it and get canning again. I’s rather knit this time of year. I have learned a lot from your book on canning and your blog. What is your recommendation about the reusable tatter lids – have you found them to work as well as the non reusable ones?

  2. zelda Says:

    Kathleen, you are for sure not alone in your concerns and struggles. My vehicle stays at home as much as possible – Jackie once wrote that every mile you drive brings you a mile closer to an expensive repair. If you are living in your own home, make it super energy efficient with insulation and caulk. I don’t have animals but I do have land to grow food. Where I live a tiny 8 to 10 ounce bag of frozen organic fruit or vegetables costs $4-5. My freezer has bags and bags of my home grown organic vegetables and fruit. If you have any land at all, grow food. Even in a tiny space you can harvest onions, potatoes, garlic, cabbage, lettuce, radishes, peppers and strawberries. Many crops can grow up if you don’t have enough ground space. If you have a lawn, dig it up and plant food. A rhubarb plant with leeks or onions around it in clumps is just as attractive in a landscape as an ornamental bush. If you are in an apartment find your local community garden and rent a space, or look for an elderly neighbor who can no longer garden but who would let you use their land for a share of the food. Your church might be a good place to start looking for someone like that. And your church might have land where gardens could be started, but no one ever thought of it. Make everything you can – a tiny loaf of good organic bread is over $5 where I live. Check out Artisan Bread in 10 Minutes a Day on the Internet and also all the homemade mixes that Backwoods Home has published. I use Linda Gabris’ biscuit mix for a lot more than biscuits. Beans and brown rice and vegetables with cheese melted on top make a really satisfying dinner or lunch, especially if you grew the vegetables. Find a used cookbook from the Depression days or from WWII when everything was rationed – there are so many ways to provide healthful satisfying meals that we’ve forgotten or never knew. Dorothy Ainsworth wrote an article for Backwoods Home on eating on a budget, and she pointed out that eggs are a super inexpensive source of protein. Backwoods Home has so much useful information for you! Jackie really nailed it when she said that saving is one of the best ways to earn extra cash. This is sure the time for extra thought about mindful living.

  3. jackie clay-atkinson Says:

    Ruth Ann,

    I use Tattler re-usable canning lids and they work every bit as well as do the Kerr and Ball two piece single-use lids. What a great idea!!!


  4. gen Says:

    I got a couple of seed catalogs in the mail last week. What really caught my eye, was the ability to grow nine stalks of corn in a 24 inch pot, on the porch. It may not be heirloom, but if you live in a condo or apartment, just think, nine stalks of corn, with 2 to 3 ears per stalk, if the magazine is correct. That’s 18 to 27 ears of corn in the smallest plot of land I can think of. I want to buy some, just for the conversation it will cause, as much as the idea of sweet summer corn coming my way.

  5. susan brinksma Says:

    hello from australia where its summer right now. i love your blog , im learning so much from you and i love to hear about your farm.
    cheers for now

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