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Ask Jackie headline

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Archive for the ‘Meat’ Category

Jackie Clay

I’m sure you’ve had “one of those days”

Tuesday, November 25th, 2014

Last Thursday was one for me. My adopted son, Javid, is still getting his ducks in a row after we moved him here from Montana. To get his Social Security Disability, he had to have a photo identification card. To get that he had to have a certified copy of his birth certificate, which the “helpful” Social Services in Helena had lost. So I tore off to Virginia (the city, not the state, thank God!) and got one for him. $27. Then we reserved a handicap bus to pick him up at the nursing home. That was $77 for a round trip of 10 miles. (OMG, how could they charge that much?) We were on the bus five minutes. We got to the driver’s license bureau and the bus left. Inside, we filled out the form and took it to the window, where the nice lady informed us that the computers in the whole state (motor vehicles/drivers license) were “down.” Couldn’t do a thing, sorry. So I called the bus back. It took half an hour to get it back, in which time the lady tried again to get the computer to work. No go.

So back to the nursing home we went. Of course there was no refund for the $77 for the bus. There was no way I was going to spend another $77 for another bus the next day, so, thank God, David didn’t have school Friday and he came back with me and lifted Javid into the car seat and back out again at the Driver’s License Bureau. (Yes, I did call them Friday morning to make sure the computers were back “up”!) We got that done and Javid will get his card in about 6 weeks.

Then David and I tore off to Hibbing, 23 miles west, so he could apply for a replacement Social Security card after losing his wallet this summer. Got that done for free with no glitches. By then I was more than ready to get HOME!

And back to homesteading. As we had great warmer temps, into the mid thirties, Will and I butchered six big fat meat chickens. With his handy-dandy Tornado Clucker Plucker, it went fast and easy. Today I’ll wrap and freeze the birds to can up after Thanksgiving. (They do need to chill for at least 12 hours in refrigeration before eating, freezing, or canning so they’ll be tender.)


Today Will finished hauling rotted goat manure out onto our garden and buried a bunch of old rotten stumps, logs, and branches, shoved into a dip, with more rotted manure. No, we’re not doing hugelkultur gardening, just getting rid of ugly wood and flattening out a big low spot. One more job well done! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

We just missed the big snow!

Tuesday, November 11th, 2014

We listened to the weather radio yesterday morning, cringing when they talked about significant snowfall for our area and south of us. Eek! Luckily, we only got a dusting but Duluth and parts south and east got hammered with 12 to 18 inches of snow.

We knew it was coming and Will and I have been working like mad to get things done ahead of winter. I pulled the last ears of our Glass Gem popcorn and was really happy with the ears (and colors!) we got. We didn’t get a full crop as it was quite late-maturing. Next year I’m planting it farther apart so the stalks get more sunlight. I discovered that the rows on the outside matured faster than those on the inner rows because it’s such a thick-growing corn. But the colors — Wow! Colors I’ve never seen in corn: light blue, pink, mauve, and pastels. We’ll definitely plant it again!


I wrapped up the last of the fruit trees and bushes yesterday. Will salvaged some heavy aluminum screening from an old TV dish so we could wrap the honeyberries and a couple of bush cherries that were too bushy for a regular screen to fit around. It worked great. We had quite a bit of vole damage to our trees last winter so we wanted to make sure the same wouldn’t happen this year. We have a friend whose big apple tree was killed because the voles had totally girdled the trunk. That’s depressing. Some of our orchard trees have grown so much that the white spiral plastic tree guards won’t fit. I used old aluminum window screen instead. We aren’t taking any chances!


I got a whole pork loin on sale at our local store for $1.99 a pound. I roasted it up for dinner, cut into two chunks to fit my roaster. Then the next day I warmed it up and canned what was left from dinner, using the pan drippings with water added for a broth. We got two meals plus three quarts and a pint to add to our pantry. And I also got busy and readied another batch of carrots to go in the canner after the pork came out. I’ve only got one more batch to go plus some rutabagas.

We aren’t hunting deer this fall because winter killed off about half of our local deer herd. Besides, we are butchering a steer and we already have half a pig left in my son’s, freezer. And canned venison down in our basement from last fall. And the meat chickens… We sure don’t need more meat and we feel sorry for the neighboring deer herd and decided to let them rest with plenty of feed (Will’s oats/clover patch!). There’s always next year if we need one. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: meat bones, weed killer with soap, worming goats, and re-canning corn

Friday, September 19th, 2014

Meat bones and weed killer with soap

First. If you take deer bones after cutting deer up, cut up bones and boil you will be surprised how much more meat from the bones that can be used and such good broth to can.

Second. I have honey bees and all I read says soap of any kind will kill bees. The weed killer with soap may not be a good thing.
Macon, Georgia.

Thanks for the tips, PC. Some folks don’t like the broth made from deer bones but those who do can sure pack away a lot of tasty broth and use a lot more of the deer that way to stock their pantries! — Jackie

Worming goats

How do you give the Hoegger’s herbal worm remedy to your goats? Have read several comments that the goats don’t like it!

Mary Morgan
Semmes, Alabama

We feed a sweet feed with molasses. By mixing the worm remedy with it, the goats don’t even know they got it! If you only have a couple of goats, a dab of Vicks on their noses before feeding will quickly mask any taste but most goats don’t mind at all. — Jackie

Re-canning corn

Glad to hear you’re on the mend. Busy time to be having surgery. My question: I have several cases of corn bought from store. I noticed tops of a few cans pop when touched. Threw these out. Can I re-can other cans? Dates I know doesn’t mean a lot but these are only 2010-2011.

Robin Putman
Coolville, Ohio

Yes, you can re-can canned foods. But do remember to treat them as if they were fresh using the same times and pressure required for foods you just prepared from your garden.

It IS a busy time for having a surgery but I figured it’s preparedness as you never know when a gallbladder will blow up in the middle of a nasty storm, on Sunday night in the middle of nowhere. Better to do it when it’s calm and the weather’s fine. Done is done and I still will get a whole lot of garden canned up. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: using horseradish and wormy ham

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014


I started growing horseradish a few years ago, but had a hard time getting it to take off. Similar to the problem with my asparagus, but that’s another issue. I have found that turning this southern Ohio clay soil around has been a longer than expected process. The chicken manure and bedding each fall and kitchen compost have helped. My soil is starting to have some ‘color’ to it!
This year, wow, the horseradish is crazy-big and has spread. My question is: Other than grating it to use table side, or canning small jars (even for gifts), what way can I make this root an asset to our table? Suggestions or recipes?
Thanks for your dedicated blogging and wonderful articles in the magazine. I started as a magazine subscriber, and now a kindle subscriber and feel like I know you from your articles. For me as a part time homesteader/hobby farmer you are the inspiration I need to keep working for the lifestyle balance of work, home, and family that I need to be happy and healthy! It is worth it.

Jennifer Brown
Logan, Ohio

Thank you Jennifer. I really do enjoy helping people be more successful at homesteading.

Horseradish is useful in so many different ways. I use it as an ingredient in many dishes, adding it to sauce over baked fish and chicken, using it in sandwich spreads, making a cheese, mayo, sour cream, bacon, and horseradish chip and veggie dip, casseroles, and of course cocktail sauce (ketchup and horseradish mixed). You can also mix it with sour cream and top baked potatoes. There are dozens of recipes available online, too. — Jackie

Wormy ham

My daughter opened a jar of ham she canned this past winter, she dumped it along with the broth in the jar into her skillet and boiled it for 30 minutes, cooked off the broth and let it fry a little. Her family ate half of it, promptly put the remainder in the refrigerator and two days later when her husband went to warm it up, he noticed tiny little worms on it. He opened the ham strips and they were inside it too. When initially canned, the ham was pressure canned for 90 minutes. On top of that it was a precooked ham to begin with! How is it possible for anything to survive being browned, processed for 90 minutes, sealed, boiled for 30 minutes and fried again? Have you ever heard of this? I sure haven’t and I have been canning for 35 years. She didn’t add anything other ingredients to her ham when she cooked it for supper, so just the ham and broth. It was delicious though, but, ech, stomach turning upon the gruesome discovery.

Jo Riddle
Vienna, West Virginia

Nothing will live through pressure canning then boiling/frying. The worms were probably fruit fly or housefly maggots. Evidently flies laid eggs on some of the meat and the refrigerator wasn’t cold enough to prevent the eggs from hatching. The tiny worms would be just-hatched larvae. Tell your daughter that they didn’t eat wormy canned food. At least that’s something. This is very rare but I’ll bet they really check their food in the future! Ech! — Jackie

Jackie Clay

We finally got a Baltimore Oriole

Tuesday, May 20th, 2014


After weeks of waiting, we were finally rewarded by seeing a Baltimore Oriole in a birch tree off of our deck. He tried to drink from our hummingbird feeder with no results. He flew off a ways and I quickly took grape jelly out and spooned out some on the railing of our porch and moved one of the nectar feeders for orioles onto a shepherd’s hook near the hummingbird feeder.

It was only a few minutes later when he came back and immediately hopped to the jelly and started eating. Then, later, he was at the oriole feeder in the back yard and ate grape jelly from that one, too. We’re hoping that he’ll bring a lady friend back to nest nearby.

One thing that was interesting is that chickadees were drinking/eating the grape jelly and rose breasted grosbeaks were eating the oranges we put out for the orioles! Strange, but what the heck.

It’s been real busy around here now that the “rainy season” seems to have let off some. Will finally got Old Yeller back together. It seemed like for the last week or so it was, “oops, one more part to order. Oops, another one!” Then, yesterday, Bill and our grandson, Mason, brought his tractor and 3-point rototiller up and tilled not only our garden but a few isolated spots for squash and corn AND most of the pig pasture. The tiller digs quite a bit deeper than does our Troy-Bilt Horse tiller. We’re butchering our two pigs soon so Will plans on planting the sweet corn he’s breeding back from hybrid to open pollinated in the old pig pasture. This is the third generation and last year’s corn was very nice and we’re hoping to be able to save some seed to sell this fall.


As Bill was coming with the tiller, I had to move one of our big rhubarb plants. After digging it up, I ended up with a dozen big roots. I gave two to my friend, Carolyn and two to Bill, then transplanted the rest into various new spots around the homestead. Some of those roots were huge. In fact, Bill saw the remaining old roots and thought it was a tree stump!

Because the goats had eaten bark from the small popple trees in their pasture and the trees died, Will pushed them over a week ago and has been working at tossing them over the fence in a pile. We’ll saw them up for kitchen wood with the table saw he calls his “mini-cordwood” saw with its Briggs engine. With the dead trees gone it looks much nicer and the grass and clover will grow a lot better.

Will staked out the spots for our two larger, better hoop houses and this afternoon I’ll be out planting onion sets past the east hoop house spot. This time of the year, it’s run, run, run! So much to do. And our June seminar is only three weeks away! (If anyone is interested, we still do have some spots for you, if you’d like to come.) — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: canning bone broth, goats treated with penicillin, and canning fish

Wednesday, April 30th, 2014

Canning bone broth

I have a question about canning bone broth. After making a pot of it I have 6 qts. and was wondering if I have to pressure can it or can I water bath it? And if so for how long for either?

Jan DeBrie

You MUST pressure can any meat or poultry product and all vegetables that are not pickled to be safe from deadly bacteria. To can it, you’ll be processing your quarts for 25 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. If you live at an altitude of 1,000 feet or more, consult your canning book for directions on increasing your pressure to suit your altitude.– Jackie

Goats treated with penicillin

How long milk withdrawal do you recommend for goats treated with penicillin every other day for one week? By the way, the seeds we got from you all sprouted wonderfully. Looking forward to some new type tomatoes and finally to be able to taste your Hopi squash.

Glen Heck
Natchitoches, Louisiana

It’s great to hear your seeds are off to a good start. I hope you have good gardening weather this year!

The usual recommended withholding time for milk from goats injected with penicillin is five days. — Jackie

Canning fish

I want to try canning fish but it appears (but I could be wrong) that only freshly caught fish can be canned? My question is can fish purchased at a supermarket or fish market be pressure canned if USDA recommended times and pressures are followed?

Michelle Neal
Buffalo, New York

Of course freshly-caught fish will be best but if you can eat store-bought fish, you can certainly can it. As you indicated, you’ll be using approved methods and times so you’ll be fine. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: storing peanuts, canning ham, and jars still bubbling after canning

Tuesday, April 22nd, 2014

Storing peanuts

I would like to store peanuts for long term use. Should I open the jars and oven can them? If so, using what procedure?
I also had vacuum sealed raisins and prunes that I got on “buy 1, get 1″ sale last year. Would it be better to leave them in the store containers? Someone mentioned that these do NOT store for very long.

Judith Almand
Brandon, Florida

If the peanuts are already in vacuum-packed jars just store them as they are. Otherwise can the peanuts just as you do all nuts. Shell them and lay out on a cookie sheet in a single layer. Toast in the oven until hot, stirring so they don’t scorch a couple of times on your lowest oven setting. Pack into hot, dry jars, place hot, previously simmered lids on jars. I wipe mine off with a clean dish towel to eliminate any moisture, then turn the rings firmly tight. Process at 5 pounds pressure for 10 minutes. I gave up water bathing my nuts because they float and you have to weight down the jars which is a big pain in the you-know-what.

I have stored both raisins and prunes for several years leaving them in the store bags and packing them in an airtight container in my pantry. — Jackie

Canning ham

I got a couple of Easter hams on sale and canned them. In the past when I canned ham it turned out looking just like pinkish ham. This time they look a dark brown with a brownish liquid. I canned them the same way as in the past. Could you tell me why they are looking so dark and not like ham at all?

Shirley Toney
Liberty, Mississippi

I think it’s the brine the hams were soaked in before smoking. Some have more brown sugar/maple or smoked flavoring, both of which kind of dye the meat. I’ve had this happen too and the meat’s just fine. — Jackie

Jars still bubbling after canning

I just finished washing the jars after canning ham. All 12 pints initially sealed and they were fairly cool to touch. After removing the lids and washing them, I noticed that 4 jars looked like they were boiling/ had air bubbles coming up to the top of the jar. Are they coming unsealed? I had at least 1 inch or more headspace in all the jars and the hams were very lean.

I now have the bones broken in half in quart jars, plus 3 more smaller jars for beans started in the canner. Not too bad after feeding 4 people plus leftovers for the week for both households on $24. I am fairly certain my husband will be making a pot of beans either this week or next too.

Julia C.
Gardnerville, Nevada

I don’t wash my jars until they are cool to the touch. But the boiling is very normal for broth and meat canned in broth. It doesn’t mean the jars are coming unsealed, just that the liquid is still plenty hot.

I’m canning ham, too. I got two hams for .88 a pound and another that we had for Easter dinner. So I’m canning ham dices and chunks then tomorrow I’ll be canning bean soup and baked beans with ham flavoring. Even though we raise pigs to butcher, I’m a sucker for those on-sale hams and we sure get a lot of meals out of one ham, just like you do. — Jackie

Jackie Clay

Q and A: making cheese, introducing new chickens to the flock, and canning sausage

Saturday, April 12th, 2014

Making cheese

Upon moving to the country and starting up our farmstead, I went ahead and purchased some cheese making equipment and a book. Problem is, the book is a big manual, and it gets very technical. I finally have goat milk, but I am too intimidated by the manual, and many of the recipes call for many gallons of milk. Can you recommend a good book for me that has simple recipes to follow for making cheeses with goats’ milk (small quantities – 1-2 gallons at most, easy to follow, not too many fancy utensils)?

Carrie Timlin
Scott Township, Pennsylvania

Cheese making is very easy and fun to learn. Two very beginner-friendly books I’ve used for years are Ricki Carroll’s book, Home Cheesemaking, which is available through Backwoods Home Magazine and Goats Produce Too by Mary Jane Toth which is also available through Backwoods Home Magazine). I have both and use them often. — Jackie

Introducing new chicken to the flock

I sprayed my fruit trees with Surround today and hope it helps. Thank you for your advice. I intend to spray again after flowering.

I have another question regarding my chickens. I have 4 one-year-old hens and 26 two-week-old chicks. How and when do I introduce the 26 chicks to the hens? Right now the four hens are in the 10 x 14 coop and the chicks are in the basement. There is a 16 x16 fenced-in area adjacent to the coop that the four hens use during the day.

Deborah Motylinski
Cadiz, Ohio

I’d shut the hens in their run during the day and pen the chicks in a smaller portable run next to them all day so they get used to each other. Then in the evening, bring the hens in and then introduce the chicks in the coop with them. There should be a little squawking and pecking but nothing serious. Monitor them for awhile, just to be sure. Usually, come morning, everything is fine. — Jackie

Canning sausage

Would I be able to can the small pre-cooked breakfast sausages from the store? They are my husband’s favorites.

Judith Almand
Brandon, Florida

Yes, you can. But I’d advise doing a small batch then trying them to see if you and your husband like the result. That’s a good idea with any new recipe you try to can. Some folks love them; others not so much. — Jackie



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