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Friday, June 22, 2012

More Canning

I had a busy day canning yesterday.  We processed chicken, beans, blackberry jelly, and blackberry jam. The jelly being made by special request.  My husband prefers no seeds to get stuck in his teeth.  After making the jelly I noticed that there was so much extra pulp left that I added a bit of spring water and made jam.  It tasted great and the family is enjoying it on PBJ sandwiches and toast.  The thing is I usually have a touch of jam or jelly left when I make it.  The last scrapings from the pot go into a bowl for immediate use.  You do know that the jars of jam that you just made cannot be opened for a few months, right?  Well, maybe that is just what I like to think.

I placed the whole chickens (plus some feet) in the pressure canner with some spring water, touch of salt, bay leaf, garlic, and some Italian seasoning.  Pressure cooked it for 30 minutes and pulled it off the bone.  I then strained the broth to take out any leftover chunks and placed the meat in sterilized wide mouth jars while the broth heated up to boiling.  The I finished filling the jars and processed them in the pressure cooker for 90  minutes at 15lbs of pressure.  Pat bought me a propane burner a few years ago so that I could do some of the canning outside.  Since it has been in the 90s and humid this burner came in real handy.  I had some broth left over so I just canned it along with the other jars.  I did use chicken feet in the initial process because I believe that they give the broth more nutrition and a richer taste.  The bones, skin, and other junk was taken out to the chickens and devoured in 15 minutes flat.

We decided to check the pickles to see if they were done and if they were crispy.  Yeah!! I made a crispy pickle after trying for 20 years.  It was sour, a little spicy from the red pepper flakes, and had good dill flavor.  I didn't want them to ferment anymore so we re-packed them from the crock into smaller jars to put in cold storage.  Washing up the crock brought back memories of my mom and grandma.  The crock I use came from my grandma.  She kept busy in the kitchen right up to the day she passed away in her 80's.  She was always trying new recipes out on us and kept notebooks with recipes, quotes, card, pictures, bible verses, and such in them.  After she passed away and we were going through some of her notebooks it was odd to find little notes that I had written to her when I was a child.

We made a sign to see if we could sell some of the extra produce to people driving by.  I can't label our food as organic because we will not go through the hoops of getting certified paying to maintain that certification.  Since we don't use chemicals and artificial fertilizer's, I figure I can label it naturally grown.  Our neighbor stopped by to chat and we were able to give him some veggie's as well as some friends that live up the road from us.

This is a picture of the cheese that I have been making this year.  It doesn't include the wheel of cheese that I took to a friends house or the wheel that is in the refrigerator soaking in blueberry wine.  It also doesn't include the 3 batches of feta and 4 batches of soft herbed cheese I have made so far.  I just poured 3 gallons of milk in the cheese pot this morning to make another Tomme today.  I sure hope all this cheese turns out yummy or I will have spent countless hours making it just for it to be chicken food.  That is the thing with hard cheeses, you have to wait (patiently) at least 3 months while they age before you can try them.  We will let you know when the time comes for the taste test.

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