Continuing on from our 9 home canned convenience foods from the garden for any self-reliant homestead part 1 we published previously, here are a few more options for you.
Soup stock and Broth
Nothing you buy from the store compares to homemade soup stock. If you raise your own meat and do your own butchering you will be generating a mountain of bones regardless of whether you’re processing poultry, a beef critter, a hog or sheep. All bones are the makings of delicious broth.
When slaughtering poultry, all bones including the necks, wings, backs and any bones left from making boneless cuts such as breasts or thighs, go into a large stock pot along with giblets, (the liver, heart and gizzard). I usually throw in some fresh thyme, rosemary and savory from the herb garden, add some salt and cover everything with water. Sometimes I add some carrots and onion for added flavor. We bring the kettle to a boil and simmer at least 1 hour.
Then we separate the bones from the broth by pouring the kettle contents through a huge colander using a very large bowl to catch the liquid. Next we skim the fat off the broth by first chilling it so the fat layer rises to the top, solidifies and is easily removed.
Meanwhile, once the bones are cool enough to handle, we pick off any bits of meat that are clinging to the bones and add them back to the stock. You’d be surprised at how much meat you can pick off no matter how good a job you did at trimming the bones.
Beef and other Meat Stock
For beef, pork or other meat stock, we just fill the kettle with bones as we generate them during the butchering process, add water to cover along with some salt, bring to boil and simmer 3 to 4 hours. Again we strain off the bones, skim the fat off the broth using the method as stated above and pick off any remnant bits of meat adding them back to the liquid.
Canning Meat Stock
To can any type of meat stock, heat it to boiling and ladle into hot jars (I use quarts as that’s just the right size for the 2 of us for a pot of soup) leaving 1” headroom. Process at 11 pounds pressure (adjust for your altitude) for 25 minutes.
We’ve been known to can as many as 28 quarts of chicken stock from broilers we butchered and as many a 60 quarts of beef stock from a side of beef.
While any vegetable can be added to the stock pot, be aware the finished product will have the flavor of whatever it’s made with so I would avoid adding any strongly flavored vegetable or its trimmings such as Brussels sprouts. By the same token almost any stock whether vegetable based or animal based usually contains carrots, celery and onions and this recipe is no exception. It goes without saying that any vegetable you use should be in good shape without any mold or bad spots. Seasonings can also be varied according to taste. Below is the stock I make to have on hand whenever I make a dish calling for vegetable stock. This can also be added to a pot of vegetable beef soup or used to make any soup calling for vegetable stock.
1 pound carrots in 1” chunks
6 stalks celery in 1” pieces
3 large onions quartered
2 leeks in 1” chunks
2 large tomatoes diced
1 large parsnip in 1” chunks
3 bay leaves
1 Tbsp thyme
1 Tbsp canning salt
1 stalk rosemary
7 quarts water
Combine everything in a large kettle and bring to boil. Simmer covered 2 hours then simmer 2 hours uncovered. Strain and discard vegetable and seasonings. Reheat to boiling and ladle into hot jars leaving 1” headroom. Process at 11 pounds pressure (adjust for your altitude) 30 minutes for pints and 35 minutes for quarts.
The only fruits I’ve ever had in abundance are apples and blueberries so these are the only ones I’ve ever canned for pie filling. If you have access to cherries for pie filling, well lucky you.
The starches home cooks typically use for pie fillings, flour or cornstarch, aren’t stable and breakdown during the canning process resulting in a runny sauce. Modern canning recipes call for a starch called Clear Jel which is a modified cornstarch that holds up to the heat of the canning process as well as that of baking. The only problem is availability. It’s hard to find. I’ve found it in a small community grocery store but it’s also available on the Internet. My “Putting Food By” book has a home canned recipe for apple pie filling that uses quick cooking tapioca as the thickener. I tried it and it worked reasonably well in case you can’t find Clear Jel.
4 ½ cups sugar
1 cup quick cooking tapioca
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1 teaspoon nutmeg
10 cups water
3 tablespoons lemon juice
6 quarts peeled, cored and sliced apples (you may want to treat these to prevent darkening while you are getting them ready)
1. In large kettle mix first 4 ingredients. Add the water and cook on medium high heat until thickened and bubbly. Cook for 2 minutes more.
2. Add lemon juice. Add prepared apples. Stirring constantly, bring the mixture to a rolling boil. Cook 1 minute. Immediately ladle into hot quart jars leaving ½” headroom. Process in boiling water bath for 25 minutes. (Adjust time for your altitude)
The biggest drawback to this convenience food is of course preparing all the apples. But if you have the nifty gizmo that peels, cores and slices all in one shot (see post “9 Non Electric Small Appliances for the Off-Grid Homestead Kitchen”) the prep work isn’t so daunting. Regardless, once a batch of this is done, you have the filling for pies, tarts, turnovers, cobblers and crisps as well as a dessert topping. So all in all, the time spent peeling, coring and slicing the apples yields a very versatile product. A quart jar makes a 8” or 9” pie. If you want a deep dish pie, use 2 quart jars.
While not as versatile as some other home canned convenience foods, mincemeat pie is a traditional holiday dessert. We always make a batch when we butcher a side of beef. To put up 5 pint jars of mincemeat you’ll need to do the following: This particular recipe comes from “Putting Food By”.
1 pound boiled lean beef cubes
½ pound beef suet (fat)
2½ cups raisins
3 cups coarsely chopped apples
2 cups dried currants
2¼ cups brown sugar
3 tablespoons molasses
2 cups sweet apple cider
¾ teaspoon cinnamon
¾ teaspoon mace
¾ teaspoon cloves
¼ teaspoon nutmeg
¼ teaspoon allspice
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup brandy
1. Put beef, suet, raisins and apples through a grinder using a coarse blade.
2. Put in a large kettle with a thick heavy bottom and add the rest of the ingredients EXCEPT for the brandy. Bring to boil stirring constantly and simmer about 1 hour stirring often so it doesn’t stick and scorch.
3. Stir in brandy and immediately ladle into hot pint jars leaving ½” headroom. Process at 11 pounds pressure (adjust for your altitude) for 75 minutes or quarts for 90 minutes.
A pint jar makes a small pie, but I usually use 2 pints or 1 quart jar at a time for a 9” pie. It can also be used in turnovers, tarts or any filled cookie recipe calling for mincemeat.
Home canned convenience foods from the garden will not only add variety to your meals but will make cooking a breeze especially when life gets hectic, time is short and the family is hungry. Hopefully these home canned convenience foods will add variety to your pantry stores and provide you with many tasty but quick meals through the coming winter.
Until next time, keep the dream alive! We wish you a great day!
Ron and Johanna
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