Posts Tagged: MFP
Last night was our continuing education class for Master Food Preservers. It was well attended, informative and entertaining.
Master Food Preserver (MFP) Laura Simpson ran last night's show-she talked to us about Smoking Meats.This class included discussion about meat curing at home, with emphasis on curing BACON (a personal favorite of this author and MFP). Hot smoking of meats (the safe way to do it at home) sounded easy enough to do safely and deliciously. It was also great to hear that the home-smoker can make some cold smoked things like smoked mozzarella.
A rough-and-ready barrel smoker from the Library of Congress: http://www.loc.gov/pictures/resource/ppmsca.20732/
MFP Simpson also discussed types of smokers. Tips on smoking with these were given. You can smoke on a kettle-type grill, a water smoker, barrel barbecue or even a gas grill using the appropriate techniques. These barbecues and grills that are commonly found at home were illustrated.
Did you know that there is not much difference in the flavors of different woods' smoke? Wood chips don't need to be soaked, and smoke penetrates meats more easily when the surface is kept wet? With the info she gave, the good reference books and the handout provided, well I feel ready. I don't know about you other attendees, but I want go out and smoke some bacon myself, right now.
Maybe I will try that bacon recipe I have been thinking about. And mmm, smoked mozzarella, smoked provolone. It was a great class!
Interesting fruit, no? Our blood oranges were supposed to be Cara Cara Navels, but we got a dark, dark blood orange; it is mostly darker than the one pictured here. Ours definitely has a "red" taste to it, sorta like berries or raspberries, and are generally much darker than the orange at right--that pigment is what gives them that berry flavor.
Now is the time of year a lot of citrus comes ripe all over southern California. That's when the significant-other-hubby-type-person starts to gently urge (read "nag"here) me to do taste the blood oranges and do something with them. For a semi-dwarf tree, it sure bears well. And for some reason, the wildlife ignores the fruit, so we always have plenty.
He usually picks them a little too early. When I taste them they have flavor but are much too sour to eat right then. If I wait, they never seem to get so ripe that I really want to eat them out of hand, but they make a great jelly or marmalade. I think they would make a great syrup too.
Here is a recipe from the National Center For Home Food Preservation for some spiced orange jelly. I leave the spices out so the flavor of my blood oranges shines through.
Spiced Orange Jelly with powdered pectin (Omit items below and will have plain Orange Jelly)
Yield: About 4 half-pint jars
2 cups orange juice (about 5 medium oranges)
1/3 cup lemon juice (about 2 medium lemons)
2/3 cup water
1 package powdered pectin
2 tablespoons orange peel, finely chopped (omit for plain orange jelly)
1 teaspoon whole allspice (omit for plain orange jelly)
½ teaspoon whole cloves (omit for plain orange jelly)
4 sticks cinnamon, 2 inches long (omit for plain orange jelly)
3½ cups sugar
Procedure: Sterilize canning jars and prepare two-piece canning lids according to manufacturer's directions.
To make jelly. Mix orange juice, lemon juice, and water in a large saucepan. Stir in pectin. Place orange peel, allspice, cloves, and cinnamon sticks loosely in a clean white cloth; tie with a string and add to fruit mixture. Place on high heat and, stirring constantly, bring quickly to a full rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Add sugar, continue stirring, and heat again to a full rolling boil. Boil hard for 1 minute. Remove from heat. Remove spice bag and skim off foam quickly.
Pour hot jelly immediately into hot, sterile jars, leaving ¼ inch headspace. Wipe rims of jars with a dampened clean paper towel; adjust two-piece metal canning lids. Process in a Boiling Water Canner.
Process in a boiling water canner, for half pints or pints:
At 0 to 1000 ft. -- 5 minutes.
At 1001-6000 ft. -- 10 minutes.
Over 6000 ft. -- 15 minutes
Home-canned chicken is wonderful. And the broth/stock that forms in home-canned chicken is worth every penny you spent on the chicken, jars, pressure canner. . .
Oh, man-oh-man, do I love a sale BIG TIME! Caught a local market with fresh, name-brand chicken thighs, drums and split chicken breasts on sale for 67 cents a pound!. I had not seen any fresh chicken at that price for a very, very long time--so of course I bought my limit of thighs--they have so much more flavor than breasts. I rushed them home and they sat in the coldest part of my fridge for a day, waiting for me to pressure can them.
These thighs were fresh--Great! Wide mouth pint jars were dug out of storage, washed and made ready. Lids were rounded up and cleaned for sealing. National Center for Home Food Preservation (NCHFP)/USDA canning instructions checked for time and weight at my altitude. The chicken was rinsed, cleaned, skinned and de-fatted in preparation for loading into jars. However, I found that I had not considered the size of the thighs when I purchased them. I mean, how big could they be, right? After all they are chicken thighs, no?
. . .At the last minute I dug out wide mouth rings. . . I don't have too many of those, and some were of questionable roundness. . .
Surprise! These were monster chicken thighs. This is good, because big chickens equal larger thighs, and larger thighs have more connective tissue and more meat. The chicken juices would have plenty of gelatin, making for great flavor and smooth, rich feel in the mouth.
BUT -- the thighs were so large that I could only fit 1 full thigh and maybe a little more. So as I packed the thighs I cut chunks off of other thighs to fill each jar. Some jars had one thigh bone, some had two. It worked. The good stuff I wanted, all that good gelatin at either end of the thigh bones, was preserved.
Lids and rings were applied, the canner was loaded. I checked the canning directions again. The canner was sealed and vented appropriately, loaded, and brought up to weight-jiggle. The processing went great, the weight jiggled just right, all was well in my little kitchen. After cooling, jars were unloaded, merrily boiling.
But wait! THREE of those jars were not boiling. Remember those rings I mentioned? Alas, three no-seals and I think it was because of the "funky" rings--or maybe it was the old lids? Into the fridge they went--what a pain! Note to self: Buy a whole bunch of boath regular and wide-mouth lids WITH rings, regularly, like every year. The unsealed jars went into the fridge and my husband was very happy with his chicken stew with dumplings the following night.
(BONUS--My tip for today: When you find a deal on lids, DATE each box! AND inspect all of your rings regularly for rust and roundness.)
Any way, the thighs jellied up very nicely, so I am thinkin' about canning up a bunch of chicken foot broth. Chicken feet can be purchased at the local 99 Ranch store (chicken feet are called chicken "paws" there). They would look pretty funky up on a shelf--but they'd make GREAT stock to go with some great home-canned chicken!
Now hie thee to thy kitchen and give the following a try. It's easy-peasy, really!:
I know, some of you out there are wondering what to do with fresh, home-made sauerkraut. First thing I recommend is to taste it and if you like it, eat it. Try some on a little pile of fresh rice to check out your sauerkraut's flavor.
If you don't like it, keep trying and maybe it will grow on you?
If you DO like it, well, that opens up a lot of other options. You could try a classic sandwich, The Reuben--delicious! A likely looking suspect (of a recipe) is here: Reuben Sandwich at Simply Recipes .
How about a soup--the weather is kinda cool enough for soup right now! Simple sauerkraut soup at Czech Vegan
How about a drink before dinner? Sauerkraut Martini at The Kitchn
Dip for chips with that drink-- Sauerkraut Corned Beef Dip at The Food Network
A side dish perhaps? Very simple creamy sauerkraut with chives
And lastly, but not leastly, DESSERT! Sauerkraut Pie with Palatable Pastime
Did any of the above whet your appetite for sauerkraut?
Here it is, just in time for to use that stuff from the garden, farmer's market, next-door-neighbor. . . We hope to see you there.