Canning Ground Beef and Beef Brisket

 My darling surprised me on the way home from work by picking up this. About 60 lbs. of ground beef and beef brisket.  Both were just under $2.00 a lb., which in my book, is a good deal and a good time to take advantage of "putting up" some canned goods. 

 I got six quarts of this beef brisket ya'll.  I'm excited to be able to make corned beef and cabbage with this, Grab a head of cabbage, a few potatoes, onions and carrots from down in the garden, and we'll have dinner in a flash. 

 We also canned up the ground beef. I got 7 quarts, and 8 pints.  Perfect for taco's, meat gravy's, casseroles,  sauces, whatever I can dream up.  I used the dry canning method on the ground beef. I was totally impressed and prefer to use this method over the one where you add boiling water. The texture comes out perfect with the dry canning method.   A winner in my opinion! 

Well, a look into my tiny pantry of home canned food tonight.  
Fruit juice concentrates, jellies, jams, preserves, syrups, salsa, chili, pulled pork, bbq pork, ground turkey, kielbasa sausages, ground hamburger, beef brisket, zucchini pickles, cucumber pickles, pickled peppers, pickled onions, pickled cherries, applesauce, apple pie filling, peaches, peas and carrots, green beans.....

We are trying to replace as much as we are eating but it's hard!  Tonight I even pulled 2 quarts of the apple pie filling, and made apple crumble for dessert for Erick and Becca.   It's really nostalgic to open a can containing the apples from that beautiful  apple tree we lost this year. Thank heavens I canned the apples from last year's harvest. We'll at least be able to enjoy that bounty for a few more years! :) 

Looking forward to adding so much more once this years harvest gets fully underway! Happy canning.

Canning Ground Turkey and Kielbasa

 Today I canned ground turkey and kielbasa sausage.  I browned the ground turkey, not cooking all the way through, just barely browned. Packed it into pint jars, and loaded them up into the canner. I also cut some sausage up into large chunks, and placed them in pint jars as well.   Processed both in my pressure canner.

The result. Yum. 
I'm thinking this ground turkey will go great in a spaghetti sauce, or used as taco meat.  The sausages came out almost "grilled" like.  Nice and brown on the outside.  I bet they taste amazing. 

Canning Beef

Oh my heavens! Let me just say first, that this is probably the most delicious thing I have ever home canned. It may look a little odd, beef tips sitting in that little mason jar, but this is when looks can be deceiving.

The other day, my darling and I were at Cash n Carry and he spotted a HUGE, I mean HUGE hunk of beef.  His master plan was to bring it home, and butcher it into individual steaks himself, and saving a ton of money in the process.   While he was attacking this mini-cow in the kitchen, I thought we should try canning some of it.  So with the smaller steaks he had, we managed to get a few quarts of canned beef tips.   

The process was simple.  Remove as much fat as possible, (to help prevent lids not sealing correctly during the pressure canning), and cut into small cubes.   I sterilized my jars, and raw packed the beef chunks into the jars filling all the way up to where the rim is.  Tightly packed.  I wiped the jar opening with a towel, attached  the lids and rings, and then processed in my pressure canner at 10 lbs of pressure for 90 minutes.

The result? Mouthwatering, tender and juicy beef tips in a marinade of their own juices.  Absolutely the most amazing canned food I've ever prepared.   When I opened the first jar the other night, the meat was so tender it simply fell apart. It was cooked to perfection.  I heated up the chunks in a frying pan over the stove, and in another pan, emptied the drippings.  I added some butter and flour to the drippings, salt and pepper, and created the most divine beef gravy you'd ever tasted. Dinner was served in literally 3 minutes.  Spread the meat over some toast, and poured the gravy on top. A twist on a family favorite, gravy on toast. 
These beef tips would be amazing in shepherds pie, burrito's, whatever you could imagine.  The possibilities are endless and I'm looking forward to canning more beef tips this week.

Spiders, Shingles & Seeds

Alright, this is when the "inner girly girl" in me truly comes out. SPIDERS.  Look at this hot mess of them I found when I was watering the squash and cucumbers! 

It's true. I screamed like a little girl. Erick dropped his hammer and climbed down from the playhouse to see what the commotion was.  Spiders. That's all. A cluster of thousands, if not ka-zillions of little furry multiple legged gross things.  I did what any respectable gardener would do. I told Erick to torch them. (Okay, not really the most responsible or smart thing to do, but the thought of just ONE of these things surprising me in the house was enough to give me the chills and not hesitate when I demanded he grab the blow-torch. Which by the way, him being a boy, he really enjoyed it. )  

With the spider population control being handled, he returned to the playhouse.  Shingles are up and looking nice my darling.  Well done! 

The lettuces have all fully matured and we are enjoying a fresh salad, straight from the garden, at least once a day. So delicious. 

Cute little broccoli heads. 

We are going to have strawberries out of our ears this year. Especially with the new patch we added! 

And finally, the remaining seeds have arrived!  I spent a few minutes today organizing them out and labeling what will need to be planted when.  We really enjoy a continuous harvest of a lot of our crops so I tend to be very organized when it comes to rotating them. 

We have over 100 different crops growing on our property this year. Can you believe it!?

And today's planting. That is if this rain backs off for a few hours so I can get out there. ;) 

The Herbs are Out of Control

I've been cutting and hanging our abundance of in the window, fresh dill and cilantro. My kitchen smells heavenly... once dry, I will dry-can this for cooking later on. 

Saturday Snapshots!

 Pea pods are popping up on one section of trellis in the back. These are my daughter's FAVORITE!

The English Daisies I planted from seed in January are starting to blossom. :) 

All varieties of squash have sprouted & the cucumbers in the front yard have made an appearance as well... 

Peppers are starting to show up on some of the pepper plants in the greenhouse.  This is probably what excites me the most when I head down to the gardens... checking to see what kind of growth happened during the last day or so with my pepper plants.

 More peas! Yummy! We have peas planted in 7 area's around the property. Several different kinds! 

The carrot beds are looking mighty green....

 Lots of crops at all different stages of growth! So exciting! 

Every time I walk by the Kale I'm tempted to grab some for a juice... but I guess I can wait just a little longer!

Swiss Chard.... again, will be a wonderful addition to my green juices I make. 

 Beets are coming in nicely. I'll be canning pickled beets galore this summer! Just wait and see! 

Erick has been hard at work trying to complete most of the playhouse for Becca this week.   She is going to be so excited once it's finished!  

From Garden to Kitchen Table

This was a really busy week for me as far as harvesting and preserving.  I managed to somehow can cases of jellies and veggies and keep up with my daily chores, inside and out, here around our homestead.  I also made some pretty tasty food with items that are easy to grow in a home garden! If there are any jars "missing" in the photographs, it's simply because we ate them before I could include them in a photo! 

8 Pints of Peas and Carrots

 These little treats are so delicious. All you do is put a sugar snap pea, grape tomato and a cheese tortellini on a tooth pick.  I then picked some fresh dill from the garden, and made a mustard-dill vinaigrette to pour over them. Stuck them in the fridge for about 4 hours to marinate and pulled them out for a wonderful, light, summery treat.  

 A friend had gifted me one of her lemon balm plants and I was in for quite a lovely surprise.  TONS of lemon balm leaves, perfect for making jelly with! 

 4 Pints of Lemon Balm Jelly

 Do you have an abundance of strawberries or basil growing in your garden? How about these! I just slid some basil leaves, mozzarella and strawberries onto skewers and kept refrigerated until ready to serve. Simple, healthy and fresh. 

 4 Pints of Kiwi-Watermelon Jelly. (Which was quite the hit at our Mother's Day brunch served on crackers with cream cheese)...

 5 Quarts of Green Beans...

And finally, 8 Half Pints of Berry Explosion juice concentrate, and 3 Pints of Strawberry Lemonade concentrate. 

Holy Cow Bok Choy!

 Holy Cow! I miss ONE day of my daily walk-through of the garden and come back to find this! Our Bok Choy had exploded and was moments away from flowering!  

 Time to get these babies harvested ASAP before we lost them to bolting. 

 Took my nice kitchen knife back to the bed of bok choy and harvested all of the plants we had growing...

I'm using the "cut and re-grow" method on these. If you cut them like this, they will regrow bok choy plants off the old base. 

Look at these beautiful bok choy leaves.  Washed and ready to go for tonight's dinner! I'm thinking an Asian stir-fry with chicken.  Can't wait! 

Steam Juicing

I have yet another addiction. Somebody stop me.  
My mom bought me a lovely new steam juicer for Mother's Day and I'm hooked.  I've already made three wonderful canned items with it.  I made "Apple-Carrot Juice" for the baby, "Kiwi-Watermelon Jelly", and a "Berry Juice Concentrate" with strawberries, blueberries and raspberries.  The juice concentrate goes great in vodka, lemonade, or sprite.  Use it as a mixer to add some extra delicious flavor.   

What I love about the steam juicer, is I know EXACTLY what my family is eating.  No added sugar, and the juice is thick and potent. I always dilute it with water if I want to drink it by itself.   

We took some of the Jelly to our Mother's Day BBQ and it was a hit.  Served it on a cracker with a bit of cream cheese and it was ever-so-delicious.  Thanks mom for the wonderful gift.   Just another tool in my arsenal of "food preservation contraptions".  

All In a Days Work!

 I have to show you how great the kids playhouse is coming along.  It's going to be so adorable.  Becca and Noahh sure do have a dad that loves them! 

 Ah hah! Look what I spotted this morning as I walked into the greenhouse!   My pepper plants now have beautiful little flowers coming up! Grow baby grow! 

 The whole reason I walked down to the greenhouse to begin with was I wanted to get all the suckers off the tomato plants.  Suckers are branches that grow between the main stem and the side branches. If you snap these off, you'll end up with better fruit.  It can be hard snapping these things off, but trust me, it pays off in the end. 

And here they are. All of the suckers from my tomato plants. Some are larger than others as you can see...

I thinned out all the onions and carrots too!

 Look who rested so peacefully as I did my morning chores out around the garden.... Oh the life! 

 I managed to transplant all of the peppers this morning also. That was a workout. Not to mention my hands, arms and somehow face are all on fire now. Happens everytime! 

 While I was out in the greenhouse, I had to share it with a crazy amount of bees and butterflies. Glad they are loving the greenhouse... I guess the show I watched last night on killer bees probably wasn't the best idea....haha

And lastly, I spanked all the tomatoes. Spanked them. Yes.  Basically just shook them ever so slightly so these flowers that are open like this one is, can be pollinated.   

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