Monday, June 23, 2014

Putting food by...

Today was the day I tried for the first time to process my own jars of beef stew and make beef jerky.  So far it seems that it was all a success!

For the beef jerky I used just some meat from the store that was thin cut for making Carne Asada. I'm not sure exactly what cut of meat it is but it saves me the work of cutting it thin myself and it was a really nice price. I did a marinade of tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, a tiny bit of tamari (or soy sauce), garlic granules (not garlic salt) and lots of black pepper. I put it in a ziploc bag and let it marinade in the fridge overnight. I dehydrated it at 160 degrees for about 7 hours but it was probably done at about 5 or 6 hours. Then I put it in another ziploc bag (one that has a little pump to suck the air out), labeled it with the date and stuck in the freezer. You don't have to put it in the freezer but they say that it will stay fresher longer if you do and then pull it out right before you go hiking or camping. My husband and I shared a piece and we really liked the flavor.  It was just as good as anything from the store and it didn't have a chemically, salty aftertaste that I find with the ones from the store.  I plan on making lots more for all our camping and hiking this summer!

I used my pressure canner for the first time and was a bit nervous.  I had thoughts of my kitchen exploding but really it was a piece of cake and there are safety gadgets in place to keep any explosions from happening.  :)  I cut up stew beef, carrots, onions and potatoes to about the same size.  I made a big pot of my favorite "Better than Boullion" beef base for the broth.  I sanitized the jars and lids.  I put the meat in the bottom of each jar and filled it up with the veggies.  I then filled the jars with the hot beef broth and left 1 inch room at the top.  I processed them in the pressure canner at 11 pounds of pressure for 75 minutes.  Now we'll see if any of us keel over from botulism.  ;)  I made 10 pint sized jars.  We will try a couple out in the next week or two and if they are good then we will take the rest with us on our camping trips this summer.  I also want to can a chicken soup as well.

I would say today was very productive!  The kitchen is now clean and all put back together.  Now to go feed my little guy dinner (daddy is at work, sissy is at the movies), put him to bed and have some lovely quiet time.  :)

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