Thursday, June 27, 2013

Canning Lamb

 Just after the Easter/Passover season I bought a nice-sized leg of lamb... regular price $60 plus... for $18! I brought it home and put in the freezer... it was probably 8-10 lbs. and there are only the two of us... thought I'd save it for company... or can it.

Now with this shower for my daughter coming up and berries coming in and needing the freezer space... I pulled it out the other day and thawed it...

I decided to cook it in our smoker... I salted and peppered it... added a variety of herbs (rosemary, mint, thyme, oregano, basil) to my smoker's water pan... set the temp to 250 and the time to 8 hours and let 'er smoke... adding chips (I used Jack Daniels whiskey barrel chips) every hour or two.

Due to our schedules and such, we weren't gonna get all that lamb eaten any time soon so I canned it...

First, I removed all the meat from the bone and cut it into stew sized chunks, taking care to remove any excess fat and gristly pieces.

Then I boiled my wide-mouth pint jars and put my lids on to simmer.

 I packed the jars pretty loosely with the chunks of lamb, leaving a good inch or more headspace.

I added a half teaspoon of canning salt to each pint jar (optional of course!)

Then I filled the jars with boiling water, leaving an inch headspace.

 I removed any air bubbles using a plastic chopstick and adjusted the liquid if necessary.

I wiped the jar rims with a damp cloth and tightened my lids on to fingertip tightness (no tighter or you can end up with buckling lids!)

I then processed the jars in my pressure canner at 10 lbs. pressure for 75 minutes (quarts would process for 90 minutes).

After the processing time, (I gotta be honest here!) it was time to leave for work so I turned the stove off and left the canner to cool naturally while I was gone for the day.

When I got back home, I removed the jars from the canner and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter... they'd already cooled AND PINGED!!! while I was gone so I missed the music! But they all sealed!

I ended up with 7 pints of lamb chunks... lamb stew this winter??? I think so!

And now I have this lovely meaty lamb bone left... I'm thinking I'll try making a little lamb broth outta that.

Canning Green Beans

I was recently offered a bushel of green beans by my friend Brenda... beyond excited, I jumped on them! I didn't get any green beans canned last year and was determined to can some this year no matter what. Brenda's husband grew these beans and they were gorgeous, practically blemish-free, and a joy to work with.

Green beans are the first things I learned how to pressure can... My Mama's goal every summer was to can at least 100 quarts of green beans... since I can remember, I've been a part of stringing, breaking, and canning green beans... at my Nanny's house under the apple tree... in my Mama's kitchen with the fan blowing on us (before air conditioning... yes I AM that old!)... green beans were a staple where I grew up.

I put a good movie on (Driving Miss Daisy!) and set to work breaking beans...

After I got them ready, I gave them a good wash.

 Then covered them with water in my big stock pot and blanched them (brought the water to a boil).

I filled my quart jars with beans (I had boiled my jars and had my lids simmering by this time), packing them down lightly and adding cooking water to cover, leaving about an inch headspace. I removed any air bubbles using a plastic chopstick.

I  added a teaspoon of salt to each quart jar (this is optional) then tightened on my hot lids to fingertip tightness.

I processed my green beans in my pressure canner at 10 lbs. pressure for 25 minutes (pints would process for 20 minutes).

After processing, I let the canner cool and the pressure drop to zero naturally... hurrying the cooling can result in jar breakage or lid buckling... gotta let it cool slowly.

Then I removed the jars from the canner and set them on a folded dish towel on the counter to cool... and to listen to the PING! of each successfully sealed jar.

From my bushel of Italian Roma Green Beans I got 18 quarts of canned
beans... and enough left over for supper... YUMMY!!! 

Friday, June 7, 2013

Friday Funny... Purple Underwear

I am not always canning... I do other stuff too! Sometimes I sit in our little kitchen at work and eat lunch with the other ladies I work with... and sometimes the conversations go in unexpected directions...


I thought I'd share an occasional "Friday Funny."

You may find it amusing... I know I did...

A woman I work with was talking about the color purple... which led to her telling us about an elderly lady she goes to church with who wears purple all the time... Purple dresses, purple skirts and blouses, down to purple shoes and purple handbags... she's never seen her in any other color...

She wondered aloud, "I wonder if she even wears purple underwear?"

Someone said... "Why don't you ask her"

Someone else said... "or lift up her skirt and look real quick..."

Someone else added... "or trip her and make her fall and then you can look..."

Yet another person mused... "or wear mirrors on top of your shoes..."

Then someone said... "you have ALL these options... there's no reason NOT to find out!"

By this time we were laughing hysterically, tears rolling down our cheeks...

Important things... discussed over turkey sandwiches and tuna salads...

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