Canning chicken in half-pints
In your segment on canning chicken in Self Reliance you mention that you have canned half pint jars of chicken. I would like to do that, but you never mention how long to can. Also, you seldom give an estimate of how many pints or quarts of canned product your recipes make.
You can put up nearly anything in half-pints. I find that they are very handy and that way you don’t have leftovers to deal with or that may possibly spoil in the back of the refrigerator. I hate waste! You process half-pints for the same time and same pressure as you do pints. The reason I don’t give estimates of how many jars of end product you will end up with is because there are such huge variables such as how big is that chicken? Three pounds … or ten. How big are those carrots, how much juice is in that peach, etc. I just eyeball the food to be canned and ready a larger number of jars than I think I’ll be needing. If I don’t need them, fine; they’re back on the shelf. And if I do, they’re all ready to fill. — Jackie
Rubber gaskets on canners, fat for soap, and saving carrot seeds
Is there anything that can be done to keep canner rubbers lasting longer? Years ago I know they were made out of real rubber. The new rubbers just do not last for me. They seem to shrink and do not make a good seal. In the past I have tried putting on vegetable oil or Vaseline. That helped the old rubbers from sticking on.
Can all the fat on a pig be put into soap? I wanted to save my leaf lard for cooking and I wanted to put the fat on the back into soap? Do you have anything for recipes for making soap with goat’s milk, pig fat of some kind and/or tallow and lye?
I saved carrot seeds 5 years ago and I have planted them for the last 4 years. There was Queen Ann’s lace growing in the field near by. The first year I had a few off white carrots, the next year I had more. This year most of the carrots are off white, crooked, and very tough. The rabbits love them. Out of 30-40 carrots there may be one orange one. Have you ever heard of this? This was the same seed being planted all 4 years.
The best way to keep canner seals in good shape is right after you can up a bunch of food, remove the seal and wash it in hot soapy water, rinse, and air dry it. Then put it back on the washed, dry canner. Be sparing of oiling or putting petroleum jelly on seals unless needed; that can cause them to crack prematurely.
Yes, any pig fat can be used to make soap. Here’s a recipe by Mary Jane Toth from Goats Produce Too! (available in the BHM bookstore) that I have used with success:
Distilled water, 3 cups
Milk, 2 cups
Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) 1¼ cups (12 oz.)
Lard, 10 cups
Coconut oil, 2 cups
Fragrance oil 4 oz.
Note: If you want a plain soap you can leave the fragrance oil out of the milk soap recipe.
1. Have prepared molds ready before you begin.
2. Place the water into a large stainless bowl or pot. Carefully stir the lye into the water. Be careful, it will get very hot. Hold your face away from bowl and do not breathe the fumes. If you can do this part outside it would be best. If doing inside your house make sure to do it in a well-ventilated area. Keep white vinegar on hand in case you splash any on your skin. Vinegar will deactivate lye.
3. Allow the water/lye mixture to cool to 85 degrees. This can take an hour or more. When the mixture is cool add the cold milk, stir. It will heat up a little again, but not as hot. Let cool again to 80 degrees. While its cooling, prepare the fat and oil.
4. Warm the lard and coconut oil together to 90 degrees. Be careful if doing on a stove; it can heat up very quickly. Placing the pot into a sink of hot water can help you maintain the right temperature until used. You can add cool or hot water as needed
5. When the lye mixture is 80 degrees and the fats are 90 degrees you will mix them together.
6. Slowly pour the warm fat/oil mixture into the lye mixture, stirring all the while. It is important to pour the fat in a small steady stream while stirring constantly.
7. Stir until the mixture reaches the consistency of honey. This can take 25-45 minutes. Add the fragrance, slowly stirring in until mixed thoroughly just before pouring into the mold/molds.
8. Pour the soap mixture into prepared molds, cover with a layer of plastic wrap. Then lay some newspapers and a blanket on top to hold in the heat. The soap will get warm and harden. It is important for the soap to hold the heat for a while. After 24-48 hours the soap can be removed from the mold.
9. Remove the soap from the molds, cut into bars and lay the bars or stack them in such a way that air can circulate around them. Place them in an out-of-the-way place to age for 4-6 weeks. Turn them a couple of times during the aging process so that they dry evenly.
10. After 4-6 weeks the soap is ready to use and can be packed into storage containers.
As for your wild carrot seed, my best guess is that your nearby Queen Anne’s Lace crossed with your carrots, as they often will. Then, as the carrot seed got older, it became less viable where your seed with a higher percentage of Queen Anne’s Lace remained good. Thus, as time went on, more and more Queen Anne’s Lace characteristics became more prominent. — Jackie