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Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category
Tuesday, November 26th, 2013
My oldest son, Bill, shot a nice seven-point buck the first weekend of season this year. And he called to ask if he could come and spend some “quality time” with me and, of course, cut up the meat. He learned to can with a pressure canner last year and came to our seminar this summer. His mother-in-law had bought a used canner at a yard sale and had never used it. It is a Presto, 1970′s vintage with weights and no gauge. So I showed him how to use it. Simple, huh Bill? We canned up all of the stew meat in short order. He cut steaks from the best parts and we tossed all of the other meat into a grind bowl as he wanted to try sausage this year. We had fun and made short work of that buck.
I’d never made sausage with a sausage stuffer and Bill brought up seasonings and casing. As Will had bought me an electric meat grinder with sausage stuffing attachments, I learned along with Bill. And guess what? We made great summer sausage! I fried up a patty with the leftover meat in the grinder’s auger and it was real tasty. I’m sure we’ll both be making more sausage in the future. — Jackie
Thursday, November 14th, 2013
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
Friday, October 18th, 2013
We just had two nasty days of pouring rain. Yuck! So today, with the sun out, albeit 50 degrees, we’re back at work. Will’s up at the sawmill, cutting more boards for our porch roof and barn while I’m pulling the rest of the carrots and cooking down more tomato puree with the Mehu Liisa. For some reason this year our stored tomatoes we’d picked green tended to rot before ripening. So I have to pick through them carefully so I don’t get any rotten spots in the tomatoes I cook down for sauce. On the other hand, our onions, which have been plagued with neck rot for the last two years, turned out as solid as rocks. So I can’t complain and am very glad I canned tons of tomato products last year.
Spencer is very happy to have a sidekick around the homestead. Hondo shadows him inside and out and is quick to learn the ropes. (Look at mama chicken; don’t try to chase her chicks. She flies in your face and flaps her wings on your tender nose! Watch the goats; don’t try to bark at them. If you do, they chase you and stomp their feet on your butt.) Big dogs know stuff like that. Hondo is learning. And Spencer is so gentle with the little pup with the needle-sharp teeth who climbs on him and bites his ears. He just gets up and moves when the playing gets too rough. They’re already best buds. And Hondo already knows how to get into Will’s lap when he sits in his chair. He tried the flying leap but never got the timing right, so now he jumps then starts climbing up Will’s legs. Perfect!
We decided to go out of pig raising. We had been selling pork but after a couple of customers were unsatisfied with their country-smoked meat (which we had a local processor do), Will and I decided that it was too much stress on us because we really care about what folks say about food they buy from us. We had two litters of Red Wattle pigs, some of which we had planned on raising to sell for pork. Instead, we advertised weaner pigs and one fellow came and bought all of both litters! Now we have three sows to sell, one of which is bred to farrow next month. We’ll always raise a couple of pigs to butcher for ourselves and my son, Bill, and his wife. But we’re done selling pork. It’s really kind of sad for us. (We will still be selling beef as there’s no smoking involved!) Homesteading is full of ups and downs…just like all of life. — Jackie
Thursday, October 17th, 2013
I have an All American canner and we live at 1300 ft. I am new at canning. Should I use the 15 oz weight and adjust the fire at 11 lb? When I do this the canner never jiggles as the manual says it should? Just checking to make sure I’m o.k. with my thinking that it should be fine!
This is exactly what I do. The weight only jiggles when the pressure in the canner is at 15 pounds (on the 15 pound setting) or greater. — Jackie
This is a “what would Jackie do” question. I recently bought 8 whole chickens that were a good price and canned them. Now this brand of chicken is causing more than 200 people to get sick from salmonella. The chicken is not being recalled, and it is said that the people are getting sick from mishandling the chicken. I know you can not necessarily tell me what to do, but what would you do with the 22 jars of chicken and the 20 jars of chicken stock in the cupboard? I fully cooked the chicken before I canned it and then canned it according to the experts instructions. Would you be comfortable using this food?
Canning chicken properly will kill salmonella bacteria. The most common cause of people getting salmonella from chicken is that the chicken had the bacteria (often from fecal contamination during processing) and the meat was either undercooked or the folks handling it at home didn’t wash their hands after handling the meat while preparing it, then ingested the bacteria. A temperature of 165 degrees will kill salmonella and when you pressure can your meat, it reaches a temperature of 240 degrees for 75 minutes (pints) or 90 minutes (quarts), much higher than required to kill the organism. Your chicken should be fine. — Jackie
Monday, September 30th, 2013
Washing butchered meat
Can I wash home butchered goat meat with lemon water or vinegar water to clean it before I cut it and grind it? What can I wash it with?
Litchfield Park, Arizona
We just rinse our meat, if necessary, with cold water to rinse away any clinging debris. Using vinegar or lemon water will not do more and costs more, too. After cooling the carcass for at least 24 hours, I can easily pick off any clinging hairs, provided that I took care while skinning. If you haven’t had goat meat before, be sure you bone it and remove all fat for best taste. — Jackie
Evaporated milk “best by” date
I have 2 dozen cans of evaporated milk. Some have a “Best by” date of April 4th 2013. I didn’t notice, and have been using them with no problems. How long is store food generally Ok (Canned stuff) after the “Best By” date? I know home canned is good for a very long time so I was wondering if you know why things like canned milk have such a short sell/use by. It seems like a waste to throw it all out. I fully intend to use it. Have you ever used store-bought canned items past their date? Ever had a problem?
Amherst, New York
The “best by” date is purely a marketing ploy to encourage you to throw away perfectly good food and buy more “new” food. Yes, I’ve often used store-bought canned items way past their “expiration” date with no problems whatsoever. I’ve found that as long as you store your store-bought food in a dry spot away from excessive heat, they will remain good for years. — Jackie
Thursday, September 26th, 2013
Straw bale garden
Do you have any idea how well the straw bale gardens work? My garden is covered in bindweed. I am not physically able to keep up with hoeing and can’t bend or kneel enough to pull it. I’m hoping the straw bales will work so I can still have a garden. I’ve researched how they work and with lots of water they seem to do well. I’m thinking if I use two bales stacked on top of each other and surround them with pallets to hold them in place I could garden without bending. I would put weed cloth under the bales and cover the empty ground with heavy mulch or cardboard to block the bindweed. Spraying chemicals is not an option. Raised beds of lumber are beyond my budget. What do you think? Thanks for any ideas you have.
I’m not so much a fan of straw bale gardening. The gardens seem susceptible to hot weather, regardless of watering and the bales will start to degrade, often before you harvest the crop. You might better try container gardening — you’d be surprised what you can use for containers! Some suggestions are: used stock tanks that have small rust holes in the bottom, tires stacked up, firewood logs (not cut and split but cut to whatever length you wish), doubled plastic totes with holes cut in the bottom, 5-gallon plastic buckets (I get mine for $1 each at the bakery department of our grocery store), used untreated lumber salvaged from neighbors or the dump, and pallets lined with black plastic to hold in the dirt. You can get very creative: friends have even used old bathtubs, 55-gallon drums cut in half, and livestock mineral tubs after farmers discarded them.
We had very bad bindweed in our garden in New Mexico. By covering half the garden one year with black plastic, weighted down by straw bales each year, then watching for seedlings every spring, we finally got rid of it. It IS a nasty, nasty weed! — Jackie
Freezing peppers to use later
I have a recipe for chili sauce that calls for a lot of tomatoes and peppers. My problem is that the peppers are seldom ready when the tomatoes are prime. My thought was to freeze peppers this year to use next year in my chili sauce. Do you think this would affect the quality?
That’s a very good option for any recipes calling for peppers in a sauce. Good thinking! — Jackie
Dry canned chicken meat
I canned 20+ quarts of chicken breast meat (chunked) when it went on sale last fall, and we’re now just starting to use it. I raw packed some of it and hot packed the rest, but boy, both are REALLY DRY! I made chicken noodle soup with it and found myself eating everything BUT the chicken meat… THAT’S how dry it is! What a disappointment! Is this how canned breast meat comes out? Should I stick to dark meat, even though I’m not a big fan of it? Any ideas for recipes where I could mix the meat in with something else in order to hide it, I mean, to make it palatable?
Chicken breast isn’t usually dry when canned. I’m assuming you canned in a broth? Often when folks raw pack, broth is not recommended and included, which can result in dry meat. Also, when you hot pack chicken breast, only minimally cook it, don’t cook it completely as this can result in dry meat.
I’d use the dry breast in such things as pulled/barbecue chicken sandwiches (the barbecue and shredding will help the dryness). Simmer the shredded chicken in the barbecue sauce for quite a while. Or use it mashed or pulled and make chicken and dumplings or chicken and biscuits with plenty of good gravy. Or make up a stir fry and add pulled chicken, simmering it in sauce first. Or use it shredded in chicken enchiladas. I’m sure you can figure out good uses for your dry canned meat and hopefully next time it’ll come out more moist! — Jackie
Wednesday, September 25th, 2013
Room for goats
We live on two acres, this includes the area for the house, buildings, and etc. Would we be able to keep two goats on this small area? It is open with no woods or browsing. Can butter and cheese be made from goats milk? We have never had goats milk before, is the taste a lot different from cows milk?
Franklin, West Virginia
Yes, you can definitely have two goats on your homestead! Goats can be happily housed in a large pen and shed to protect them from cold and rain. You even have room to build a nice pasture for them which will help cut down feed costs. You can make butter from goat milk but you really need a separator as the cream does not rise to the top as it does with cow milk. But you can make the best cheeses from goat milk, not to mention cottage cheese, yogurt, and even ice milk-like ice cream. While some people say they don’t like goat milk’s flavor, I say they’ve never had good goat milk! You can’t tell our goat milk from our cow milk. Even folks who say “I HATE goat milk. It tastes goaty” have enjoyed a glass of our goat milk. (But, of course I didn’t tell them until they’d finished a glass or two!) I’d suggest picking up a copy of BHM’s handbook on goats for a lot of condensed information on goat ownership — Jackie
Canning chicken broth
I was canning chicken broth with the meat that was left over on the carcass. I noted that your directions stated to process pints for 20 minutes and quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. I was wondering if this was accurate because I know that jars of canned chicken and chicken soup need to be processed 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts?
This is accurate. When you can chicken or turkey broth you are using the carcass after most of the meat has already been taken off so what you have left over is tiny bits and pieces of meat — not the meat you’d put in chicken soup but tiny pieces. When these are added, you have mostly broth with a minimal amount of meat. When you are canning chicken soup, with much more diced chicken, you do need to process for 75 minutes for pints and 90 minutes for quarts. — Jackie
Canning ground meat without liquid
I want to know if it is safe to can precooked ground meat w/o liquid in pint jars? I browned the meat (beef) and put about 1 lb./ hot sterilized pint jar, sealed and put this jar in hot water to keep until I had all meat cooked and in jars to fill my pressure canner. Then I moved them all to the pressure canner and processed 10 lbs. for 75 minutes. I find several of your articles in canning meat and not adding water (bacon, fish etc.) but not specifically ground meat.- I have canned ground precooked beef before WITH liquid but did not like the dog food smell and it being mushy. Love your books, My husband said he is getting me a bracelet WWJD- What Would Jackie Do.
Stotts City, Missouri
I can a lot of our ground meat without liquid and it turns out very good. Just use lean ground meat and keep it hot while you’re filling your jars. I’m glad you like my books and hope they’re a help to your homesteading! — Jackie
Sunday, September 15th, 2013
We have an abundance of corn this year. Would it be OK to feed our goats the green corn stalks and then the dry ones? Also, could we feed our extra Hopi Squash that has been peeled and cut into small pieces to them during the Winter?
Rhona & Brad Barrie
Goats LOVE both green and dry corn stalks. We feed ours all our spent stalks, green if we can and dry after that. Yep, you can feed your goats leftover squash. You don’t have to peel and cut it for them; they’ll munch it down with you only cutting it in half…or even not that in most cases. You are going to save the seeds, aren’t you? It also cans up very well in cubes for pies later on. — Jackie
We are looking to buy some Boer goats. Will we see the typical Boer stocky/meaty build on the young ones or does that take more time to develop? The ones we have seen so far are pretty spindly looking.
Priest River, Idaho
You should see a stocky young goat. Good Boers shouldn’t ever look spindly. Even our half Boer kids show a definite tendency toward a stocky build from a very young age. — Jackie