Posts Tagged With: food storage

5 Reasons to Plant Silver Moon White Pumpkins in the Garden Next Year.

carved white pumpkins for Halloween

carved white pumpkins for Halloween

This year is the first time I have had any success growing pumpkins and just for the fun of it we chose to plant white ones just to add some fun to our Halloween display. It was a bumper crop and here are my five top reasons I will plant these pumpkins again next year. They met and surpassed all of my exceptions for home-grown pumpkins.

First they were very prolific. I planted only one hill of the Silver Moon Hybrid pumpkins, with only three seeds. I purchased the seeds from a Henry Field’s catalog 4 years ago. Sadly these seeds had been in storage for all those years. From those(to old to use) seeds I ended up with two healthy plants and ended up with 12 pumpkins.We were shocked and over joyed that most of the pumpkins were actually carving size ( 5 to 10 pounds) and I ended up with only two that were so small I could not even make them into pie filling.

white pumpkin on vine in garden

white pumpkin on vine in garden

The second and main reason I planted the pumpkins was how beautiful they are when carved. They range in color from snow-white to a pale green with white stripes. So for carving we chose to use the brightest white ones. As you can see from the above photo the pumpkins are white on the outside but have bright orange pulp with a wonderful green rind and when lit they are just so wonderful to look at indoors and out.

inside view of a Silver Moon Hybrid pumpkin

inside view of a Silver Moon Hybrid pumpkin

The next best reason to plant these pumpkins is, no matter their size, have very thick pulp. Making these very easy to turn into puree’ and pie filling. I only got to process 4 pumpkins before my foot that is still recovering from surgery said that I was standing to long. So With just 4 pumpkins I was able to get 10 quarts of pie filling that I will be using next week for Thanksgiving dinner.

10 jars of home made pumpkin pie filling

10 jars of home-made pumpkin pie filling

The fourth reason I like these pumpkins over the average orange ones is for storage value. They are a short squat pumpkin much more akin to a squash shape. So when storming them I could actually stack the pumpkins on top of each other on a shelf. That is never going to happen with a large round orange pumpkin.They also have less of an air space inside making them less prone to rot.

wagon full of white sliver moon pumpkins

wagon full of white sliver moon pumpkins

 

Then finally they have seeds, not for planting (being hybrids) but for eating. These pumpkins have a wonderful snow-white seed that are large for a 5 -6 pound pumpkin. They are thickly packed into the small cavity in the thick pulp. I was so surprised that we roasted several batches with salt and cinnamon sugar for a nice snack.

seeds hiding in the thick pulp of a small white pumkin

seeds hiding in the thick pulp of a small white pumpkin

It has been so much fun trying out new seeds in the garden and letting my sons enjoy every part of the activity. I can’t wait to serve a home-grown chemical free pumpkin pie to my family and friends this year at Thanks Giving. This is one seed that I will plant again and again, just to see the joy on Christopher’s face when Tom helps him carve his very own pumpkin.

Tom and Christopher with a home grown Jack-o-Lantern

Tom and Christopher with a home-grown Jack-o-Lantern

Categories: canning, food storage, Jack-O-Lanters, organic food, Pie, pumkin puree', pumpkin, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

Canning wild game, a non electric storage opption

 As  some of you already know my family lives as much as possible on the land that surrounds us and the bounty that God provides. This includes fall hunting for wild game and fishing as much as possible for our food. My problem has always been what to do with all the meat that the boys bring into me. Well of course we freeze a large portion of our meat and fish but three years ago we went with out electric for about 10 days and lost most of our families food. This brought up the conversation about going back to canning at least a portion of our meats so we would not  lose all of our food again.

 My husbands family has cold packed canned deer and pork for over 40 years mostly because the quality of meat when it comes out of the jars is OUT STANDING. The high pressure and moister combine and make the most tender juicey meat. The only way to explain it is to think pulled pork that all you have to do is open the jar and pour out. We can deer meat for BBQ sandwiches and I make a wonderful deer tips with gravy out of. The meat is safely stored for two years and is easy to transport to hunting camps and on summer camping trips. The meat is already cooked, warm the contents and eat.

To start with I suggest that anyone wanting to learn more about the safety and processes of home canning get a good canning book like this one.

Ball blue book of canning copy right 1970

Ball blue book of canning copy right 1970

Processing of meats MUST MUST MUST be done under presser so this process is not for those who use the boiling water bath method. Meat is very easy to process but the time involved is a little lengthy. The average time is 1:30 of cooking time so I plan about 4 to 5 hours from boneing out the deer to the end of the canning process. One nice size white tail deer will make about 7 quarts of cold packed stew meat. In this case I made 6 Jars and had about 11/2 lbs left over I wanted to use in another way.

First, as always wash and sterilise your jars rings and lids, and look for chips or cracks in the jars.This defect will prevent the jars from sealing properly and spoil the meat or make a huge mess in the canner. I use quart jars and this will make about 4 portions of meat per jar. You can use pints and adjust the cooking time accordingly ( pints process for 1 hour 15 mintues).

I start my canning preparations with washing everything down with a little bleach water that includes my cutting boards and knives and even the table where I am cutting the meat. We cover everything with butcher paper and get the meat ready to debone.

white tail deer meat ready to be deboned

white tail deer meat ready to be deboned

 We do not can the tenderloin pictured above left. They are tender enough on their own but the remaining steaks and roasts get processed.  The only requirement is that the pieces of meat are about bite size and fit in the mouth of your jars easily. We try to remove any excess fat or connective tissues. Cold packing jars saves time but the meat can be cooked and packed hot with a broth in jars also.

bite size pieces of deer steak

bite size pieces of deer steak

 These pieces get packed into warm sanitized jars and with a wooded spoon. I push firmly to pack meat into the jars this removes excess air gaps and fills the jars full. You need a one inch head space in the jar to prevent the natural juices from leaking out of the jars as it boils in the canner.

deer meat ready to be packed in jars

deer meat ready  for jars

The fuller the jars the better it is, the nature broth will not cover loosely packed meat and this can lead to discolored meat after storage.

using a funnel keeps jars cleaner when packing

using a funnel keeps jars cleaner when packing

At this point you have the option of adding salt to your meat, we add 1 teaspoon per quart of meat. It is not a necessary item but does make the broth and meat more flavorful so we choice to use it.

adding salt to canning jars of meat

adding salt to canning jars of meat

 The next step is to clean the lip of the jar and make sure no salt or meat residue remains on jar to prevent the lids from sealing. Then add the lids and seal to jars and place them in the canning with enough water to cover the jars by at least one inch of water.

canning jars in pressure canner with water

canning jars in pressure canner with water

  Then cover the canner and start a high fire. Venison is canned at 10 lbs of pressure for 1 hour and 30 minutes making it take around 2 hours total. The first 30 minutes is for the heat to raise into the canner to reach 10 lbs pressure. I usually let my canner cool over night so the cooling process doesn’t interfere with use of my stove. In the morning the jars and water are still hot to the touch but ready to remove from the canner.

  At this point the jars are cooling and I check to make sure all the seals are tight and each jar is clean. I usually risen them before adding the name of the contents and date.  I usually process at least two deer every year this way and this gives us security that even if the power goes out we will have fresh safe meat to eat.

canned deer meat and my hard working canner

canned deer meat and my hard-working canner

 Don’t be surprise that after you jars have cooled even further that a small amount of fat appears in the jars. It is not seen when the jars are warm and slowly forms on the top of the broth. It is totally safe and not going to spoil. The fatter the meat the more fat will form in the top of the jar. In this case venison is very lean and usually less than a teaspoon of fat collects in the jar after canning.

This process is the same useing beef or pork. The only changes that are made are for cooked meats and stews or soups. That is when you really love having your “Ball Canning Guide” so that every thing is safe and healthy.

My

Categories: canning, country cooking, deer, deer hunting, Hunting, Venison | Tags: , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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