We just butchered two steers and will be getting our meat back in a short time, so I’ve been working at cleaning out the freezer. Gee, what a job as it’s not been done for two years! But in doing so, I’ve been “using up” a lot of various older meat, which is still very good because of the double wrapping.

I canned up a whole lot and because I was writing an article on making jerky from ground meat for Backwoods Home (Kindle edition, now.) I thought I’d please the whole family and turn out a big batch of jerky from some of that meat. I did and today, we’re enjoying jerky. My first plate full, which I broke into chunks to make it last longer, is gone! So I just set out the next plate. But I am putting the rest into airtight canning jars to store in the cupboard for later on. Dried well, jerky will last for several weeks with no trouble; longer if it’s dried to nearly crisp, stick-like dryness. (You can check out the entire article in the March/April 2018 Backwoods Home, Kindle edition. The on sale date for this issue will be February 15, 2018)

Here’s the first plate of my homemade jerky from ground meat.

Our weather’s turned pleasantly warm so we’re getting some outside things done. Will has another log on the sawmill, ready to saw up and I’m plotting out our garden planting for next year. When saving only pure seed from our crops, it can be a challenge. But it’s one we’re glad to meet. Spring IS coming! — Jackie


  1. Jackie, yes Nebraska is warming up a bit as well. It’s hard not to start seeds growing but it’s just not quite time for my area yet. So to satisfy that desire I’m using the seed starting trays to test the viability of my seeds. I just have to get my hands in the dirt somehow.

    Have a great day canning & preserving.

    Nebraska Dave

    • It’s too early here, too. But in February, I start my earliest plants and I can’t wait. Tuberous begonias, petunias and some peppers take a long time to get big so they’ll go in in a couple of weeks and I can’t wait!!!

    • It tastes so good, too! We’re working on the second plate now… I’ve got to hide the rest or it’ll be gone!!! Hmm, maybe I’ll make another batch as I still have some of that older ground meat in the freezer.

    • It did turn out wonderful. I so much love the variety of foods we eat; you never get tired of something that way. Yep, it’s burger but when you make jerky, it’s totally different!

  2. Miss Jackie, I too pine for spring….It is coming. When Ground hogs day comes (and it is next week) I feel we are starting to get into late winter. I want to plant something. My bees took cleansing flights a couple days ago, some tulips I potted for indoor bloom are coming above the soil in a huge pot in an unheated part of the farmhouse, and though they are not starting to open, when I was watching the bees, I cut a couple stems of pussy willow to bring inside for forcing. I NEED something growing. It snowed about an inch last night. Love to all… P.S. How is Jess Hazzard faring this cold winter? I’ll Bet he has a frozen elk hanging up. Rick Riley

    • Yep, Jess says he’s making jerky too because spring is coming and he doesn’t want to waste any meat. The book’s making progress too; hang in there. I so miss my bees and we’re hoping Will is “outgrowing” his sensitivity to bee sting so in the future we can have bees again. We all love honey! When my grandparents were homesteading in Canada, grandpa would bring his hives into the house, hang up a white sheet and let the bees make their cleansing flights in the house! Hey, you’ve gotta do what you’ve gotta do… But I don’t think Grandma was too keen on that.

  3. Oh My, that jerky looks DELISH!!! I have GOT to try that with some of the deer & other game I have in the freezer!!! I recently made approx. 8 “2” gallon baggies full of paper-thin deer jerky that I dried until it was crisp. My husband and friends call it JERKY CHIPS and love it as a CHANGE from the normal jerky we all eat. I am not off grid “YET” so I use a vacuum sealer with a moisture absorber & an O2 absorber in the bags before I seal them. Then I put them in 5 gallon buckets with rubber ring lids with an additional moisture absorber/O2 absorber (much larger size) in it to keep the bucket dry. Then they are stored in my underground storm shelter which stays dark & cool year round here in the deep south. I rotate my storage to use the oldest first. Dates are written in permanent marker on the buckets of the date they were made & sealed. I will also use some of this super dried jerky to make PEMMICAN which is a survival food that will store almost indefinitely. I grind the jerky, dehydrated blueberries, rendered, strained beef fat and a little honey and when the right consistency is reached by adding the beef fat, I will either mash it out in a large cookie sheet to let it set then cut into bars or cubes. I also make balls you can just pop in your mouth. I vacuum seal this but you can just store it in a ziplock baggie (I’ve never done this, tho). This is what the Native Americans used to make to get them thru the long, cold winters when no game was available for meat. It has everything NUTRITIONAL to survive if that were all you had to eat.
    It’s been a super busy winter this year for me as I have harvested 3 deer, 2 coons, 12 squirrels and slaughtered 3 (250-300 lb) pot-bellied hogs. Also processed the meat into roasts, hams, chops, deer burger and LOTS of deer/hog link sausage that was smoked in my homemade smoker made from a large well water tank and a smaller one for the firebox. I froze all of the FAT already cubed to render in my crock pots into Lard. I never knew there was so much FAT on a pot-bellied hog. I think I will have enough lard to last the rest of my life! It was a challenge I HAD TO DO as I don’t like to waste ANYTHING when I slaughter or harvest an animal. I so wanted to save the heads to boil down to make hog head cheese but I had no room in my 3 freezers to store them til I could do so. I also raise New Zealand meat rabbits and will soon be having a slaughter as some of my females are getting older and I had great success getting enough DOES with my last breeding to replace the ones that are not producing but 2-3 kits per litter. This is the only slaughtering that I can not do as I get attached to my rabbits since I deal with them every single day. I just cannot kill them. But due to the cost of rabbit pellets, I can’t afford to feed them just to keep them. Got to make sacrifices sometimes when you homestead, tho, and after all I am raising them for meat. I will start breeding again as soon as the weather breaks here, hopefully in March. I am trying to go NATURAL in a lot of areas of my life so I dug up a big patch of wild onions and replanted them in my WILD “WEED” area of my woodline. I have stinging nettle (to eat the greens) and milk thistle for their medicinal purposes. I have ginger root growing in my kitchen window and will plant stevia to dehydrate their leaves for sweetener. This lifestyle is SOOO satisfying knowing that you CAN live off the land and know what you are eating and to KNOW THAT I DID THIS MYSELF! Can’t wait to get my hands in the dirt this spring to plant my garden. Yes, Jackie…spring isn’t far off for me. Maybe a month to 6 weeks so time to get my seeds started in the greenhouse. How do I get a seed catalog from you? I want to try some of your heirloom veggies. Blessings to you & yours & hope you have a wonderful new year.

    • So nice to hear everything you’re doing! It seems there’s really a lot of us out there, travelling the self-reliance path. That’s great.

    • If you’ve ordered last year, the catalog is (hopefully) near your mailbox. (How about it folks? Any of you get the new catalog yet?

      If you want a catalog, just e-mail me at seedtreasures@yahoo.com with your address and I’ll send one along.

Comments are closed.