Getting a steer ready to butcher

We are raising our first grass-fed steer. It is a White Face Hereford. We fed it pasture all last summer and hay thru the winter months since there is just snow here. It is about 20 months old. We are thinking of letting it graze on pasture this spring maybe thru end of June and sending to butcher. Do you think this will be too long? We are afraid of getting tough meat. Also, do you give it any corn or grain at all in the end for marbling? Someone told us they put theirs in a stall the last month to tender the meat… Not sure what is best…

Jackie Schillinger
Pleasantville, Pennsylvania

No, this won’t be too long. Some folks like to feed grain for 60 days prior to butchering as it does put more fat into the meat (called “marbling”). We’ve done that as well as just butchering a steer right off of the pasture. I really couldn’t tell any difference regarding tenderness. The straight grass-fed steer’s meat was leaner. And the flavor of a strictly grass-fed steer is more “beefier” than one who finishes on grain/grass. It’s up to you and there really is no “right” answer, in my opinion. — Jackie

Storing ketchup

I just received cases of Heinz ketchup in the large squeeze bottles. They are just at or past the expiration date on the bottles. Is there any benefit in recanning this stuff in jars? I am not sure if they would store longer/better in canning jars than in the plastic squeeze bottles. If I do re-can I assume I heat the ketchup in a pot and then water bath can it for 10 minutes?

Kevin Sakuta
Jesup, Georgia

I wouldn’t go to the extra work of re-canning the ketchup. The expiration date is simply a marketing ploy. Ketchup doesn’t “go bad” after the expiration date. Period. I’ve stored ketchup for years past the expiration date and the only difference is a slight darkening of the color.

If you do chose to re-can it, you simply heat it up then process in a boiling water bath canner for 10 minutes as you would with “fresh” ketchup. — Jackie

Hulless seeds

I have grown those little hull less pumpkins. Can I pressure can the hull less seeds without drying them?

Pat Rizzi
Swanton, Ohio

You treat the hulless seeds as if they were nutmeats; toast them on a cookie sheet on low heat (you can sprinkle with salt first if you wish) until thoroughly toasted, then pack in hot jars and process dry for 10 minutes at 5 pounds pressure. They stay nice that way for years. — Jackie