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Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Canning Chicken (thinning the hen herd)

I've been busy canning a lot of stuff lately, it's just that time of the year for me.
I thin my chicken herd down before winter and can the meat and broth.

I clean the birds and soak them in ice water overnight.
Then place the cleaned birds in a big pot, cover with water and add onions, garlic, celery, thyme, basil, bay leaves, pepper corns and a bit of kosher salt.

When the meat is almost tender, I let it cool enough to handle and strain the broth...

I fill hot jars with the hot chicken meat, then top with the hot broth. Leaving 1" of headspace. Wipe the jars tops to remove any broth, then screw the hot lids on.

My canner calls for 3 quarts of water in the bottom.

The loaded canner... (I wish it held more jars at one time. lol )

Adjusting the pressure.

The chicken is canned at 12lbs of pressure for 90 minutes. This is different for everyone depending on your altitude.... you need to check for your area. :)

I have it figured out that the ratio of half chicken meat and half broth works out great for me. I can get at least two meals from each jar. I heat the chicken and broth, make a batch of noodles or rice to throw in. It's an easy winter meal for me. :)
From these 4 birds I should get at least 24 meals.

Leather Breeches

Absolutely the easiest way to store green beans for winter use..... String them up to dry.
Not sure why these are called leather breeches, maybe from using the needle and thread to string them up, or maybe the way they look after a week or two of air drying.

When needed, I slide a few off of the string and into a pot of hot water, add a smoked ham hock or hunk of bacon and let them simmer til tender. They will be tasty on a cold winter day. :)

Tuesday, September 29, 2009


I guess I'm jumpy this time of the year. lol The rattlesnakes are usually out during the day, warming themselves with the sun.

I happened upon this nice snake skin in my back pasture... it was over 4ft long, but looks like it belonged to a bull snake.

Not sure if you can see it, but there is a hole in the ground, right in front of the skin. Could be where he headed.

Made me jumpy for the rest of the day. lol

Monday, September 28, 2009

Georgia Brunswick Stew and Hot Flour Tortillas

The Brunswick stew recipe belongs to a very talented smoking friend named Saiko. He was kind enough to share his recipe with fellow smokers and I wanted to give it a try.
I loved it! :)

The original recipe calls for

2 lb. chopped BBQ meat (I used some smoked pork tenderloin)
2 TBSP of your favorite rub (I used HeadCountry)
2 28oz cans whole tomatoes, including the juice ( I used my home canned tomatoes)
2 11oz cans shoepeg corn (I used grilled sweet corn)
1 1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup cider vinegar
1/2 cup your favorite BBQ sauce (I used Billy Sim's Hot BBQ sauce)
2 cups water
1 tsp black pepper
2 tsp salt
1/2 to 1 tsp cayenne
1 tsp hot sauce ( I used cholula)
1 stick butter

I cut the recipe in half and made a small pot full...

While the stew simmered on the stove, I made a batch of flour tortillas to go along with it..

I mix 2 cups of flour

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking powder

Mix well then add

1 Tablespoon of lard (or shortening)

Mix well then add

1/2 cup to 3/4 cup of warm water

Mix and form into ball, let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes

Pinch off a piece of dough and roll or hand pat out flat ... into a 6 or 7 inch round....

Fry on a dry griddle a few minutes on each side.....

Store the tortillas in a baggie while cooking the rest. They will stay pliable and tender.....

I love hot tortillas slathered with butter!

Roll up and eat one... I did save some for the stew though. :)

The hot stew...

Saiko's Georgia Brunswick Stew... with a hot tortilla slathered in butter...

The stew was tasty! Had a nice kick to it from the cayenne, cholupa and hot BBQ sauce. Also had a nice smoked flavor from the pork. I loved it and will be making it again!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday Nite...part 2

After receiving a late night call that some of my calves could be out, I grabbed my spotlight and headed to the pasture to count cows.
They were all accounted for and were bedded down for the night ......but just to make sure they weren't mine, I decided to go back to the pasture at daylight to check for evidence....(calf prints where they shouldn't be).....

Shoot.....the whole road was covered with cattle tracks, horse tracks, dog name it.

Someone had moved their herd to winter pasture right at daybreak. lol

So much for my detective work. :)

The trail went on for 10 miles. lol

I did find out that the runaway calves belonged to a rancher about 7 miles north of me. :)

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Saturday Nite :)

Hope everyone is having a nice weekend!

Not sure where the week went, but it seems like I accomplished a few things. My chicken herd is a bit smaller.... but my winter provisions are growing. Several fresh veggies also found their way from the garden to the pantry.
I fired up the grill and enjoyed a ribeye and a few veggies for supper tonight.
While sitting under the shade tree by the cooker, I watched two white tail does wander through the sagebrush in the pasture. Heard some quail calling and the coyote pups yipping in the distance.
I love camping and fishing, but it kind of feels good to spend a Saturday night home alone....enjoying the quiet. :)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Spicy Dill Pickled Green Beans

This is one of the easiest ways to store large amounts of green beans from the garden. Turn them into spicy pickled beans. :)

I make a brine by mixing

2 cups of white vinegar (5% acidity)

2 cups of water

and 1/4 cup of pickling salt

I heat to boiling

In each pint jar I place

1 clove of garlic

1 heaping teaspoon of dill seed

and a cayenne pepper.

I used my dried cayennes from last year. I usually put 1 whole pepper in a quart jar but since I was using pints, I broke the peppers in half and just used half of a pepper in each jar.

The pickles aren't hot at all...a whole pepper would have been fine. lol

I filled the jars with the cleaned beans, garlic, cayenne and dill seed.....

Poured the hot brine liquid in each jar, leaving 1/2 inch headspace. Then I run a metal knife around the jar to remove any air bubbles. Add more brine if needed but make sure you still have the 1/2 inch headspace.....

I keep my lids in a pot of hot water...not boiling, just really hot. I wipe the tops of the jars with a clean damp cloth (paper towels work) then place a hot lid on the jar.

The filled jars, ready for the water bath canner...

I place the jars on the canning rack. Lower and make sure the jars are covered with water at least 1 inch over the tops. When the water starts boiling, I start my timer. They process for 10 minutes.

Then the processed jars cool on the counter until the seals pop. If a jar does not seal, you need to use it first and keep it in the refrigerator.

It's an easy way to put green beans up without using your pressure canner. :)

Fall is in the air...

The pasture grasses are turning brown.
The air is cooling down quickly in the evening.
The local dove have moved south for the winter.

The days are getting shorter.....

The red ants are hungry.... and angry....

especially when you stand on their hill while taking pictures.....

ouch! I didn't see them when I got out of the pickup to snap that last shot. :)