Canning Meat: A Tutorial

Canning meat, beef, venison, or elk with a pressure canner

Not gonna lie…

I was a bit leery of the whole canned meat thing when I first started homesteading.

I suspect it stems from my irrational fear of potted meat food product. Ever since I was a little kid, I have thought that sounded like the worst possible thing you could put into your mouth… (My apologies to any meat product fans out there)

Thankfully, canning meat at home is a whole different ballgame, and a skill you’ll definitely want to add to your homestead repertoire. Plus it’s really not any more difficult than canning veggies. Honest!

Why Canning Meat is a Skill You Need to Have:

1. It’s totally convenient. Grab a jar from your pantry, pop it open, and you have wonderfully tender meat all ready to add to your recipes

2. It saves on freezer space. We have two freezers out in our barn, but they are ALWAYS too full, no matter what I do. Anytime I can store food at room temperature, it’s a huge plus for me.

3. It’s a smart preparedness measure. Lest you be stuck eating dry cereal and crackers if your power goes out…

4. It tastes darn good. Really! Home canned meat is tender, juicy, and can be seasoned however you like.

A Super-Duper Very Important Warning

You must, must, must use a pressure canner if you plan on canning meat– no exceptions. Since meat is a low-acid food, a regular boiling-water canner will not be able to heat it at a high enough temp to make it safe for storage. I know pressure canners may seem intimidating at first, but they are actually simpler than you think. I have a full pressure canning tutorial here. It’ll walk you through the process, and teach you how to pressure can without blowing up your house (always a good thing).… [Continue Reading]

Best French Onion Soup Recipe

an elegant, yet simple, french onion soup recipe

Is it possible to be addicted to soup?

Cause I think I am.

It’s pretty much all I want to eat right now, and I’m blazing through my stash of home canned broth as I ravenously feed my addiction.

I can’t help it.

My first attempts making french onion soup were pretty dismal; it tasted like limp onions floating in wallpaper paste. My husband was soooo impressed, as you can imagine.

But my unquenchable soup addiction has propelled me forward, and I’ve happened upon just the right blend of flavors that makes this french onion soup recipe quite possible one of the best things I’ve ever put into my mouth.

an elegant, yet simple, french onion soup recipe

I like to use a mixture of yellow onions and purple onions, although if yellow is all you have, they’ll totally work too. I have to quell a bit of an unforgiving spirit every time I reach into my pantry for my store-bought onions, since our lovely turkey demolished our entire homegrown crop this year… Forgiveness is hard.

Oh! You will NEED some crusty bread to go with your french onion soup, so plan on making my French bread recipe or grabbing a baguette from the local bakery or farmer’s market.

best french onion soup recipe

Best French Onion Soup Recipe

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 4-5 medium to large onions (I prefer using several varieties for the best flavor)
  • 1 teaspoon dry thyme (or two sprigs fresh thyme)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 3/4 cup red wine
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 2 cups beef stock (how to make your own beef stock)
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • Salt/pepper to taste
  • Cheese for garnish (see note below)
  • Crusty bread

Thinly slice the onions. I recommend using the slicing blade of a food processor for this. Otherwise, you’ll be crying your eyes out.

Melt the butter in a large stock pot, and add the onions, thyme, bay leaves, and garlic.… [Continue Reading]

Homemade Bagels Recipe

how to make bagels

Today I’m welcoming Maria from Ten At The Table as she shares her homemade bagel recipe. 

Homemade bagels are one of my favorite fall breakfasts and snacks.

They are absolutely delicious, and keep you full til lunch, which I like because it means that certain little kids wont be asking for more food an hour after breakfast. :)

Making bagels does take a bit more time and effort than buying them at the store, but they are also so much more flavorful and satisfying. All the work is worth it!

Plan to knead the dough for a good ten minutes to get the unique bagel texture we all know and love. (I recommend recruiting family members to take turns kneading).  Then when those yummy smelling bagels finally come out of the oven, cut them open and slather them in fresh butter or homemade cream cheese.

homemade bagels recipe

Homemade Bagels Recipe

Yield: 8 bagels

 Dough:

  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (or flour of your choice)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon sucanat (where to buy) or brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water

Water Bath:

  • 2 quarts water
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon unbleached pure cane sugar

Instructions:

how to make bagels at home

Combine all the dough ingredients in a mixing bowl and knead vigorously by hand for 10 minutes. (You can also use a stand mixer.)

homemade bagel recipe

The dough will be stiff. Place the dough in a greased bowl and cover it with a kitchen towel. Let rest for 1 1/2 hours. This is more to relax the gluten, than to let it rise. It will rise some, but not as much as other yeast doughs.

how to make bagels

Transfer the dough to a work surface and divide it into eight pieces. Roll each piece into a smooth, round ball. Cover with a dish towel and let rest for 30 minutes.… [Continue Reading]

Snow Ice Cream Recipe

old-fashioned snow ice cream recipe make with maple syrup

Lately, my Facebook feed has been filled with people bemoaning the fact it’s winter…

The cold… the wind… having to bundle up before going outside… people just aren’t happy.

But can I tell you a secret?

I actually love winter. The longer I homestead, the more I appreciate the cycles of nature, and savor the shifts. Welcoming new life in the spring, working hard in the summer, harvesting in the fall, and hibernating in the winter… I crave the rhythm and honestly appreciate the quieter, colder months when I can spend more time resting, rejuvenating, and consuming good books by the light of the wood stove.

old-fashioned snow ice cream recipe make with maple syrup

And I just found a new reason to love winter: snow ice cream. Because when you’re buried under several feet of snow drifts, why not put it to good use?

One caveat: If you’re looking for a perfectly smooth gourmet ice cream recipe, this isn’t it. (But you probably will enjoy my simple raw vanilla ice cream instead!). However, snow ice cream is a fun way to make memories, and the kids (or grandkids) will get a huge kick out of it.

Oh! And make sure you’re using local, organic, GMO-free snow… Of course….

(This post contains affiliate links)

old-fashioned snow ice cream recipe make with maple syrup

Snow Ice Cream Recipe

Yield: Approximately four servings

old-fashioned snow ice cream recipe make with maple syrup

In a small bowl, whisk together the cream, maple syrup, vanilla, and salt.

old-fashioned snow ice cream recipe make with maple syrup

Quickly pour this mixture over the snow, and mix thoroughly.

Eat immediately, as snow ice cream melts fast. It also doesn’t refreeze well, so you’ll want to eat the entire batch in one sitting.

Kitchen Notes:

  • If you don’t have maple syrup, you can substitute 1/2 cup of granulated sugar instead.
[Continue Reading]