Thursday, January 20, 2011

20 January, 2011 Butchering and canning time.

Its's been a busy week.  We began the week with lots of snow piled up and ended it with rain and warm weather.  It looks more like late March than late January outside.  Lots of photos in this entry.

The snow slid off naturally on most of the outbuildings but I needed to scoop it off the two canoes, aluminum boat, trampoline and chicken house.

Tristan got the job of shoveling off the workshop/generator shed and the shack. 

Susan cooked up a big pan of rice.  We had Spanish Rice for dinner then she dried the leftover rice for later use.  When you dry cooked rice you have minute rice.  We keep some on hand for times when we're travelling or just in a hurry.

Aahhhh!  Dinner cooking on the wood stove.

We ran out of corn meal so I ground some more with our electric grinder one evening when the generator was running.  We buy organic corn then grind it ourselves to the consistency we desire.

Me working.  I sold two more articles this week.

We've gotten more done on the Uhaul now that the weather has warmed up.  I repoaced the door knob which was quite a job since I had to do some modifications to make it fit.  We use a home type door knob set and it wasn't designed to fit a camper door.  Susan took the screen frame out to replace the screen.

Finished!  She installed it yesterday and also put the last of the insulation in the back wall.

We had stew left over so she canned it for future use.

We had some sweet potatoes we hadn't got around to eating yet.  They were beginning to get old so Susan is peeling them to be canned.

Peeled and cubed ...

Stew on the left and sweet potatoes on the right.

Now she's getting ready to can butter.  She begins by scraping it into the jars.  We set the jars on the water kettle to provide a low, steady heat.

As the butter melts she keeps adding more until the jars are full.  The smaller jars are for summer use when we need to use it up faster.  Actually we have refrigeration now so it doesn't matter but before then it did.  We will probably take the small jars in the camper this spring.

Butter and cheese can be canned with a water bath canner (no pressure needed).  The rock is to take up space and raise the water level so we don't need as much water in the canner.  This is actually the water kettle we keep ont he stove most of the time.  It began life as a canner and we still put it to work that way at times.

Butter and cheese fresh out of the canner.  The butter separates in the canning process.

You have to shake the butter up periodically while it cools to mix it back up.  It will go back to it's semi-solid state when cool.  We open the can and use a knife to spread it when we use it.  When we use the cheese we dip the jar in hot water then the cheese comes out intact.  Then you just slice it or grate it as you would normally.  You can put it back in the jar if you don't use it all at one sitting.

Grinding venison outdoors.  The grinder has a clamp-on base and needs a stout table to hold  in place.  The picninc table is our best option so I grind the hamburger outside.  I've had this grinder for at least thirty years.  We have three meat grinders.  One is a small clamp on type and the other is for indoor use with a suction base.  We bought it at a yard sale.  It wouldn't hold up to heavy duty grinding but it has some good grating attachments for cheese, etc.

Susan cans hamburger patties in wide-mouth jars.  They have to fit inside so she uses a can lid to sixe them.  She's also canned sausage tties the same way.  We try to remove ALL the fat from our venison prior to grinding so there is very little shrinkage.

Once the patties are made she browns them in the skillet.  Note the canner in use to the left.

These small (pint) wide mouth jars are perfect for the times it's just Susan and I eating.  The small jars are used mostly when we go camping.  The meat will be eaten right away so we don't have to worry about refrigerating leftovers.

First batch of jars washed and waiting for their turn in the canner.   We had to get more out of storage before we were done for the week.

Some of the food canned this week.

The last two canner loads.  Yeah!  We have four pressure canners.  When we need to heat more than two at once we get out our "outfitter's" propane stove.  It's can do two more canners.

Home canned venison burgers and cheese with home made buns.  The burgers are moist and taste great.  You just need to heat them up.  We also have home grown onions to go with them and a we have few tomatoes left that are ripe now (we picked them green when we closed down the garden for the year).

We set some buckets under the eves to catch water while it was raining.  We left a couple out overnight and they froze.  Thankfully they didnt freeze solid and break the buckets.

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