Posted in Canning & Preserving, The Hungry Hen, Uncategorized

Saving Broth

Thousands of you out there boil chicken before you toss it onto the BBQ. Thousands more throw a pan in the sink and wash all that brown flavor away after sautéing pork loin, chicken or beef.  All that rich, glorious flavor goes right down the drain. All that broth from simmering, marinating or boiling gets tossed over the fence. 
WHY? 
Our people would have NEVER wasted a drop. My Grandmother who grew up during the Depression, learned to make the most out of everything and anything. We waste so much now days– I catch myself doing it too– and all that money being tossed with our waste! 
Next time you marinade, simmer or boil meat, think about Canning the juice. Just strain it or let it cool to remove the fat– however you want it– but don’t waste it. If you don’t want to seal jars then put it in a Ball Jar , leaving a few inches from the top, and freeze it. Or, cool and pour it into a ziplock bag and freeze away. 
Don’t rinse the brown flavor down the drain after you cook pork or whatever else. Use a stainless steel pan, throw some water in after you’re done, put it back on the burner and then use a spatula to bring up what will easily come up. The water will turn dark with all that flavor. Cool, freeze or Can but DONT throw away. This is the heaven that makes awesom gravy or makes a broth scrumptiously rich! Need a kick for stuffing? Here ya go! 
Make the most out of everything. What you don’t need now, use for later.  

Posted in Canning & Preserving, From Scratch, Seasonings, Sauces, Dressings & Mixes

Homemade Mustard

  • 1/3 cup Mustard Seed
  • 3 TBSP Dry Mustard
  • 1/2 cup Cider Vinegar
  • 1/2 cup Dark Beer (If you are Gluten Free, use a Gluten Free Beer)
  • 2 minced Garlic Cloves
  • 1/4 cup packed Light Brown Sugar
  • 3/4 tsp. Salt
  • 1/2 tsp. Ground Ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. Ground Allspice
  • Turmeric (For bright color.) Amount varies on Color you want.
  1. Mix Mustard Seed, Dry Mustard and Cider Vinegar. Cover with Plastic and let sit room temperature for 3 hours.
  2. In saucepan, combine Beer, Garlic, Sugar, Salt. Ginger, Turmeric and Allspice. Stir in mustard mixture. Bring to boil and then simmer for 5 minutes, occasionally stirring.
  3. Spoon hot mixture into hot Canning Jars and seal tightly. Cool and store in cool, dark place. Refrigerate after opening.
Posted in Canning & Preserving, From Scratch, Seasonings, Sauces, Dressings & Mixes, The Hungry Hen

Homemade BBQ Sauce

You can “Can” this if you’d like. It will make up to 1 Quart (3 cups). Double. triple for whatever amount you need if you are Canning. Since there is plenty of acid in the sauce, you can use a Water Bath Canner. If you don’t can, I’d make a few days ahead from when you need it. This allows all of the spices to merge and create a better flavored sauce. If you cant make it ahead of time, no worries. It’s fine fresh, too.

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  • 1 & 1/2 cups of Ketchup
  • 1 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
  • 2/3 cup Peanut or Safflower Oil (You can substitute Canola or Vegetable Oil if you aren’t willing to use the other.)
  • 1/3 cup Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/3 cup Dark Brown Sugar, packed
  • 3 TBSP Spicy Mustard
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Black Pepper
  • 1 Lemon Juiced
  • Optional: 1-2 fresh Red Chili Peppers. Seeded. Minced. Use Gloves. They burn.

 

Mix everything in a pot and bring to a simmer. Cook until sugar has completely dissolved. Can or Store or Use that Night.

Posted in Back in the Day, Canning & Preserving, Depression Food, From Scratch, Seasonings, Sauces, Dressings & Mixes, The Hungry Hen

Sugar Cure From Scratch

farmhouse-pig-by-susan-winget

Here in the South, we are no strangers when it comes to raising hogs. While less and less people seem to do it now days, some of us know nothing else. In fact, if you ever tasted fresh sausage, you’d know exactly why we bother holding onto a tradition deeply rooted in our Past and Present.  And, since we live in an Age where so many of us are trying to make our own, anything, below is a recipe to make your own Sugar Cure.

My Uncle Eddie is the King of Raising Hogs and always will be in my eyes. Come butchering day, the family, or what’s left of us, all goes out to help. My husband helps cut the males when it’s time. He helps cull and hang them. He helps cut up the meat and we all, in some way, play a part because Uncle Eddie doesn’t send his Hogs off to Butcher. In the back of his house, he has a little building. Over the years, he has added equipment as he has found it to make the entire process easier. On one side, the men work up the meat and on our side, I help my Aunt T to wrap it up for the freezer.

They use everything they can of the Hog and even make their own Lard for the coming year. This recipe is dedicated to them because we all know how Uncle Eddie loves his Sugar Cure—and what he makes, he adds to my favorite Green Beans, which I will gladly fight over.

(Makes enough, roughly, for five hogs)

25 Ibs. Courses Salt

20 lbs. Brown Sugar

2 boxes Red Pepper

1/2 box Black Pepper

2 boxes Salt Peter

Mix everything together. If you want it more fine, toss it into a Food Processor. Rub into the Hog meat as needed or until all of it is gone.

Posted in Back in the Day, Canning & Preserving, Seasonings, Sauces, Dressings & Mixes

Back in the Day Sandwich Spread

Country Fried Chicken72This one is from my neck of the woods and unfortunately, I don’t see it around much anymore. People used to put this on sandwich’s, Burgers, Hotdogs….anything you can think of and may like it on. This is especially great if you have too many green tomatoes in the garden. Now you know what to do with them.

Ingredients

  • 12 Green Tomatoes, chopped, seeded, skinned
  • 12 Red Peppers, chopped & seeded
  • 12 Green Peppers, chopped & seeded
  • 1 quart Vinegar
  • 1 quart Mustard
  • 1 quart Mayonnaise
    • Celery Seed (pinch or two)
    • Salt (pinch or two)

Directions

Seeding and skinning the tomatoes are optional. Some do it and some don’t. I prefer to do this. If you are like me, just boil some water and quickly blanch the tomatoes. The skins will peel right off. As for seeding, I quarter the tomatoes and then scrape the seeds out. It’s that easy.

After you have skinned, seeded, and chopped the Tomatoes and both, Red & Green Peppers, throw them in a food processor and grind until they are fine and smooth. Now, while some like theirs chunky, I like this to be smooth like a true, blue spread.

DRAIN WELL. This is a must. You don’t want wet, runny spread.

In a pot, add all the ingredients together and cook for five minutes. Place in Jars and seal with a Water Bath Canner or a Pressure Canner.

Feel free to share but PLEASE give credit. Thanks!

Posted in Canning & Preserving

Botulism — Lethal Food Poisoning

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Unfortunately, Botulism is the doom and gloom where Canning and Preserving Food are concerned. Now days, people are absolutely terrified of it. They no longer Can or Preserve food the way Momma and Grandma did—not exactly. Because of that, I thought it was important to write up a small “getting’ down to it” article on the subject. Something that might break it down for us all to understand without the complicated- bigger- than- life- definitions.

So what in the heck is it?

Botulism is…well, its a deadly type of food poisoning. It comes from a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum. There’s no secret conspiracy where Botulism is concerned. Meaning, it wasn’t born in a lab by some whacked out Scientist unless that Scientist goes by the name of “Nature”. See, it happens to live in the soil where all of our gardens grow. That means, it gets on your vegetables but not in any amount that can be considered harmful. To be honest, we have to do a little somethin’ somethin’ to make it that way.

 

So “when” does “what’s in the soil” become a problem?

It’s only a concern when food is Canned or Preserved wrong. Foods that undergo a vacuum effect (the sealing process) but do not have the acid levels needed for safe preserving, are said to be the breeding ground for bacterium to grow. That’s why “Grandma’s Way” — the Water Bath Canner way— shouldn’t be “Our Way” when it comes to certain types of Canning . . . or so the warnings go.

So how do we make it safe?

Basically, we need a Superhero or Superman for every Jar.

Acid is your Superman.

Sealing a Jar without a Superman (Acid) inside, means the villain (Botulism) gets to run amuck and spawn forth-deadly weapons. Put Superman (Acid) in there, and the villain (Botulism), doesn’t have a chance in hell.

If you don’t have a superhero (acid) to stick in the jar, then you have to rely on Heat. Heat is Superman’s side-kick. 

What do you mean, Heat?

Here begins a truly sensitive subject and debate . . . I bet there is one going on at a forum near you.

If foods are not highly acidic (like pickles, fruits and such), then the rules of our day say they should not be Canned or Sealed in a Water Bath Canner. You need something that will create high levels of heat, like a Pressure Canner. (Not to be confused with a Pressure Cooker.)

This is where things can get a bit sensitive — as far as the debate goes— because people like our Grandmothers, Great Grandmothers, used to Can Green Beans and Tomatoes, religiously, with a Water Bath Canner. All of which, never killed a soul sitting at their table. All of which, would laugh at our present day fears of the horrid ol’ Botulism!

People now days, wanting to avoid killing off the whole family, want to play it safe. They use a Pressure Canner to do things like Green Beans and such. They save the Water Bath Canner for things like fruit (Jams & Butters) or vinegar- based goodies. (You know, pickles, relish, and such!) Part of the argument is, a Water Bath Canner does not get the food in the center of the jar hot enough. The Pressure Canner promises to bring on the Heat.

Why wouldn’t tomatoes apply since they are high in Acid?

I say they don’t apply as the Green Beans do, but judging by the opinions of some on the internet, people claim they don’t have a Superman since we have so many new species of tomatoes now. Not all are highly acidic, they say.

So let’s recap — How do we avoid the big, bad Villain Botulism? Kill it? What do we do!!!????

In order to avoid Botulism, food lacking in acid, needs to become hot enough to kill off any and all molds, yeasts or bacteria present. 

What are low acid foods?

Any vegetable, meat, fish, seafood, soup, stew.

Anything that has vinegar is okay. Pickles, fruits, — anything pickled can Water Bath to its heart’s content.

If you are paranoid about the acid levels and whether or not what you’re Canning has enough, don’t freak out. You can easily test it by buying PH strips. If the reading is below 4.0, then you have enough Acid.

You may also be wandering, “How much heat do I need to kill the bacteria?”

240 degrees F.

Bacteria starts to die off between 165 degrees F and 240. It’s as good as dead at 240. A Pressure Canner can take you to 240 and beyond.

Have anymore questions, crow or cluck em below!

Posted in Canning & Preserving, The Hungry Hen

Fresh Strawberry Jam using Honey Instead of White Sugar

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Ingredients

 

  • 6 cups sliced Strawberries
  • 2 boxes powdered Pectin (1 ¾ ounces)
  • 1 ¾ cups mild Honey
  • 2 tablespoons of Fresh lemon Juice

 

 

Directions

 

  1. In a 5-quart saucepan, combine fruit and pectin, mashing strawberries to blend.
  2. Bring to a Boil. Boil Hard for 1 minute.
  3. Add Honey and Lemon Juice.
  4. Return to Boil and Boil for 5 minutes.
  5. Stir, Stir, Stir.
  6. Remove from heat and scoop away foam.
  7. Ladle into hot, sterilized Jars.
  8. Seal.
  9. Makes 8 ½ Pint jars.