- Author: L. Watts
Do you have a freezer? Have you checked it lately? You KNOW you are supposed to be keeping track of what goes in and out of it, right?
Oh, woe to those of us that have freezers but do not and have not taken care of them. Who knows what lies in yon chilly depths of my freezer. I have dug around in the baby freezer on our back patio and have discovered many things. Some are things I know about—the two smaller turkeys I purchased during last year's holiday. Some things I should have never placed in the freezer in the first place—like the family pack of rib steaks from unknown years ago, received after a freezer transfer. Other things I am using steadily: the chicken breasts that I got, boneless and skinless for an unbelievable price. More things I am not using steadily: Rhubarb cleaned, sliced, and frozen on a whim. Other stuff like organic strawberries (that I got at a really low price and have yet to use), hog jowl bacon (sounds weird, but is delicious!) and bones from dinners past. . .
The turkeys I will be cooking this summer. I like to smoke them slow on the barbeque and save the juices to make one mean, smoky gravy. And don't forget the sandwiches after! Gee, I could can up some smokey, cooked, turkey breast for sandwiches too.
The dogs will get a treat with the rib steaks. They are long gone to freezer burn, but, I betcha, cooked up in the pressure cooker they will make a dandy dog delicacy to be devoured by dancing, delighted doggies, no?(sorry, I am attracted and addicted to alliteration—Whoops, sorry again!)
We've been working on the chicken breasts. They are so huge that just one or two will serve several people; I put them in soup, sandwiches or grill them, slice them up and there's dinner. Found a recipe for chicken breast cooked like porchetta (Italian stuffed pork roast) I can try too.
Rhubarb. Strawberries. Hmmm, I'ma thinkin jam. Also thinking rhubarb sauce or maybe a rhubarb chutney. PIE—I forgot PIE!!! And Rhubarb Cream Cheese Pie. Dang. . . Curse you, my appetite—I am on a diet. Maybe can jam and chutney for this winter, though pie is calling my name wistfully. . .
Hog jowl bacon. I love bacon. This stuff was found at our local WinCo store. My sister and I were impressed with it being half the price of regular belly bacon, so we had to try it—we love bacon. We did try and the verdict is: TASTY and recommended. It has a very meaty flavor and a firmer texture and lots of pork-a-licious goodness. I love bacon and like the hog jowl stuff because I have to slice it and, for some reason, the fact that I must slice keeps me in control while cooking it. Normally with regular sliced bacon, I buy ONLY the number of slices we will need to cook for a meal; I love bacon (did I mention this before?) and if I buy a whole pound, I will cook the whole pound and I will eat most of that pound. So hog jowl bacon is good! So, with the number of tomatoes I planted this year, it looks to be a summer of BLTs and BLATs (a BLAT is a BLT with avocado!).
Then we come to dem bones from din-dins past. Bones from raw chicken, from raw pork. Bones from pork roasts and whole chicken carcasses. Usually a bone or two from a ham; maybe a few from some quick roasted spareribs. Stock made from all of these bone types together makes wonderful home-canned meaty goodness in a jar. I use stock in red spaghetti sauce, gravy, hot and sour soup, all sorts of things. When it is in jars, it is handy and it doesn't require electricity. I can make it as strong or reduced as I like, I can add salt or not as I please.
This year, my first canning-from-the-freezer job will be to make stock so will have more room in my freezer. This won't be such a chore as long as I can time it for cooler weather. The next canning-from-freeze job should be making something from that rhubarb and those strawberries because I need more room for more stuff I like to cook and room for MORE bones for stock.
The following is from the National Center for Home Food Preservation: http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/stock_broth.html
Meat Stock (Broth)
Beef: Saw or crack fresh trimmed beef bones (with meat removed) to enhance extraction of flavor. Rinse bones and place in a large stockpot, cover bones with water. Place cover on pot and simmer 3 to 4 hours. Remove bones and cool broth; skim off excess fat and discard. If desired, remove any tiny amount of meat tidbits still clinging to bones and add back to the broth. Reheat broth to boiling and fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel.
Chicken or turkey: Place large carcass bones (with meat removed) in a large stockpot. Add enough water to cover bones. Cover pot and simmer 30 to 45 minutes or until any remaining tidbits of meat on bones easily fall off. Remove bones, cool broth and discard excess fat. If desired, remove any tiny amount of meat trimmings still clinging to bones and add back to the broth. Reheat broth to boiling and fill jars, leaving 1-inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel.
|Table 2. Recommended process time for Meat Stock in a weighted-gauge pressure canner.|
|Canner Pressure (PSI) at Altitudes of|
|Style of Pack||Jar Size||Process Time||0 - 1,000 ft||Above 1,000 ft|
|Hot||Pints||20 min||10 lb||15 lb|
This document was adapted from the "Complete Guide to Home Canning," Agriculture Information Bulletin No. 539, USDA, revised 2009.
Reviewed July 2014. < http://nchfp.uga.edu/how/can_05/stock_broth.html >