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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
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Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning turkey and chicken stock, rhubarb from seed, and grass-fed steer

Sunday, January 20th, 2013

Canning turkey and chicken stock

I’m a newbie to pressure canning, and you are right Jackie, it is addictive! I have a question about my first canning adventure which was turkey and chicken stock. The quart jars of turkey stock have almost an inch of white foam at the top, unchanged since canning. Chicken stock does not. They sealed well. This first time canning I did it outside on a propane burner in November. It was in the low 40’s. (I have since discovered that my flat top stove handles canning beautifully). Now that I’ve canned for a bit, the only difference that day was the canner came down to zero much faster than it does indoors and I left it in the canner for 10 minutes or so after. The jars were not boiling when I took them out. Obviously I’ll smell and boil the stock when I open it, but at this point I’m not sure I should use them at all. I should probably mention I did not de-fat the stock very well, just spooned some fat from the top.

Rebecca Vose
Prospect, Oregon

I’m real glad you are enjoying canning. It REALLY is so much fun! I wouldn’t worry too much about the foam on the top of the turkey stock. It’s probably fat/debris from the meat. It’s always essential to look, smell, and boil all pressure canned food, just to be safe. You’re now an official canning sister! — Jackie

Rhubarb from seed

Have you ever grown rhubarb from seed? If you have, I’d be happy to hear any tips you might have. Most people get their plants by division, but I wanted to try growing them from seed. I planted 36 seeds a few days ago. Today I already have a few seedlings poking their heads up.

I’ve read both online and in a book that rhubarb seed will not breed true. I assume that’s not correct.

I was just reading your article in the Jan/Feb 2010 (Issue # 121) issue on rhubarb this morning. I was amazed that there were over 60 varieties! What varieties do you grow?

We grow old-fashioned Victoria and newer, redder Canada Red. I can’t see any difference in taste but the Canada Red is, of course, redder than the red/green Victoria. The Victoria has larger stalks, by far, though.

Yes, you can grow rhubarb from seed. The newer hybrid varieties may not breed true from seed but you’ll still get edible rhubarb to use. The main reason folks don’t grow from seed is that it takes three years before you can pull stalks to use and those are small. Even then, you should only harvest stalks for a week so the plant can put vigor into roots and build a stronger plant.

We love growing things from seed, even things you aren’t “supposed” to grow from seed. It’s a fun way to go. — Jackie

Grass-fed steer

Do you know what breed of cattle would be best for a grass-fed steer to butcher. I seem to have extra hay this year as well as some pasture. We are as concerned as most people now days about our food safety and try to raise a lot ourselves.

Jim Bruce
Petersburg, Michigan
Although many different heritage breeds of cattle are supposed to be “best” for grass-fed beef, nearly any decent steer, well cared for, will make lots of tender and tasty grass-fed beef for us homesteaders. I’ve eaten many different breeds from Jerseys and Holsteins to Herefords, Angus, and others. And they were all pretty darned good. Especially when compared to store bought meat. Which, by the way, will probably skyrocket next year due to the drought in much of the country. Farmers and ranchers have sold thousands of cattle to get by. Hauling in feed is just too expensive and they couldn’t do it. — Jackie

One Response to “Q and A: canning turkey and chicken stock, rhubarb from seed, and grass-fed steer”

  1. pat rizzi Says:

    Many years ago I grew rhubarb from seed. I bought the seed at a local feed store. I planted ALL the seed and ALL of the seed came up, I had enough ruhbard to supply most of northwest Ohio! That rhubard grew for many years and tasted great, but it was green not red.

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