Tag Archive: how to make


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Jerky…a staple of those who hunt, camp, hike or just enjoy being able to eat a high protein snack without cooking. I have been making jerky for about 20 some odd years now and want to share a few ‘secrets’ to making it. You can make jerky out of ANY type of meat, including fish, deer, beef and chicken.

I personally got started making jerky when I was blessed with A LOT of venison/deer meat and had no idea how to cook it. After several not so good attempts at making normal meals out of the venison my hunter friend mentioned how much he liked jerky and asked if I could make that for him. And that is how I got into the jerky making business. It’s fun, easy and tasty and it doesn’t matter much what you are trying to use. For purposes of this article I will be speaking about making chicken and beef jerky.

First things first, people almost always ‘question’ homemade jerky and freak out about the safety of eating it (after all its NOT cooked) and how long you can keep it safely. If you do it right neither of these two things will matter. I have eaten my own personal jerky that was over 3 years old…no problems!!! But it usually doesn’t last that long. So, without further ado let’s get making jerky!

What you will need:
Your protein source (meat..fish, beef, chicken, deer, whatever!)
Salt (or high sodium content marinating sauce)
Seasonings of choice (if making your own)
Dehydrator

For simplicity’s sake I typically use BBQ sauce, or salad dressing or Worchester sauce…almost ANYTHING that you could use for marinating your protein.
The REAL trick is to have a high sodium content in your marinating sauce. This ‘cures’ the meat so that no nasty critters/germmies can grow. You want at least 40% of your ‘daily’ sodium allowance to be in your marinating sauce. Not hard to do really especially if you use soy sauce (which I did for this particular batch).

I used a honey mustard salad dressing (one bottle) and then ½ of one bottle of soy sauce. Just stirred together…use your imagination here. I have been known to just add table salt to increase the sodium content. Typically 1 tablespoon to 1 cup marinating sauce. I have been known to make my own ‘salad dressing’ and just add the extra salt. Don’t be afraid to have fun here to make new and interesting tastes! As a note: if you happen to decide to use venison I typically soak the slices in butter milk and salt to get the ‘game/blood’ out of the meat for about 2 days in the refrigerator. Doing it this way means needing to use less salt for the ‘marinating’ part.
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Next, slice your protein into strips no more than ½ inch thick. If you have a lot of fat, trim it off. The thicker the slice, the longer it will take to dry and the longer you will have to marinate. If using chicken, the chicken breast is best for making jerky.
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After slicing into thin strip simply put your meat into a ziplock baggie and put in your marinating sauce. Allow to sit for 20 minutes at a minimum in the refrigerator (or counter top). Some of my best jerky has been allowed to sit in its marinating sauce for 2 or 3 days in the refrigerator, especially if I am making large amounts.
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Next lay the strips out on your dehydrator trays.
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Set the heat level (if you have one) to 155 and leave alone for the next 5 hours.
After 5 hours come back and check for doneness. It should be ‘dry’ but flexible but ‘hard’ too. I have found that chicken and fish dry much faster than denser types of meat such as beef. If not done yet, check back about once an hour until it passes the flexible, dry and hard test.
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Once you have the jerky ‘made’ let it sit to cool off for several hours. This is important to avoid moisture being trapped into the bag that you will place your finished jerky in.

Now there are 2 schools of thought on how to store homemade jerky. If you are going to eat it quickly, say within a couple of months, simply putting the jerky into a zip lock baggie will work and you can keep in a coolish dark place. However, if you are planning on long term storage you will want to vacuum seal it. Personally I vacuum seal a personal sized serving of the jerky and then place into 5 gallon buckets (yes, I make that MUCH!!!). One note on both methods, be sure that no pin prick holes are made in the storage bag, this allows moisture and air to get into the bag. Whenever I vacuum seal I will generally allow the sealed bags to sit over night and then reseal (double bag) any bags that have air in them, not doing so will shorten the shelf life. Or, you can just use that unsealed bag first.

Have fun! It takes just a little bit of work to make your own jerky but it tastes awesome and people will beg you for it!

Stay safe and be prepared
survivingshtfmom

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beautyberry1Got up way too early this morning to go deer hunting after spending quite a bit of time getting ready to hunt the night before…and well, rain, drizzle, nothing was moving not even a squirrel and then my new neighbor got in on the act around 11 am with his AR-15…enough said, maybe I will head back out towards dusk just to see what’s up, but YAWNNN…

So…what to do? What to do? No fun being damp, standing around waiting for the mythical deer to appear at this point, even they have enough sense to stay put on this dreary day. Back home looking at the laundry and wondering what to eat and lo and behold, there is the bag of Beautyberries that have been collected over the past couple of weeks. My person, had originally collected a bit while I was taking my hunter safety course couple weekends ago and my mother and I collected another 2 lbs when I went out to collect the trail cam.

When it comes down to it, if its FREE its for me 🙂

These purple beauty berries have been hanging out just waiting on me to get around to making jam with them and so, with little else that I really want to do (funny how rainy days make you feel that way!) I set out to make American Purple Beautyberry Jelly. Not difficult at all really unless of course your syrup pot full of sugar boils over (lesson learned…always use a pot twice the size you think you will need when making any jam!).

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Purple Beautyberry Jelly
What you will need:

LOTS of Beautyberries!!
Sugar
Liquid Pectin (this is important, the dry pectin doesn’t produce a good finished product)
Pint Mason Jars
Towels
Pots, Water Bath Canner
Measuring cup
Wooden spoons
Strainer

To begin with, make sure you wash/sterilize your mason jars (I just use the dish water on a light wash, high heat/dry cycle, takes about 1 hr to complete). Also, at the same time get your Water Bath Canner full of water and get it boiling…this too will take about an hour. Then get your mason jar lids and rings into a separate pot and start them on a slow heat up process. You will need to do all of this at LEAST an hour before you start making your jelly…very important!

I borrowed and adapted this recipe from the Eat The Weeds website and it makes approximately 5 pints of Jelly. The website has a lot of good information on how to identify the correct Beautyberry and some other interesting information on this natural DEET plant (crushed up leaves rubbed on your skin is just as effective as DEET apparently for mosquitoes, ticks and fire ants).

American Beautyberry Jelly

1 ½ qts. of American Beautyberries (about 1 lb)
washed and free from stems, leaves and other debris.
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2 qts water in large pan/pot
Combine and bring to a roiling boil for 20 minutes.
Strain to make an infusion…after boiling and straining it will look like this…
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I just put the used berries into the compost pile.

Next, using 3 cups of the infusion (the purple looking liquid/juice), bring to a boil and add 1 envelope of liquid pectin, stir and then add 4 ½ cups of sugar stirring well to make sure all sugar is dissolved. At this time turn up the heat on your lids and rings to get them to a slow roiling boil.

Bring mixture to a second boil for 2 minutes only…this is where it gets fun…boiling sugar likes to really BOIL and I spent about ½ hour cleaning up a nice sugary mess on the stove and floor as I didn’t move fast enough to get it off the heat.

Best practice is as soon as it starts to boil remove from heat…that will give you 2 minutes of boiling without it boiling over. Allow this to cool until a thin foamy cover is formed (wonderful pinkish/purple foam that you will scrape off and best part, you can eat that right away).

While this is mixture is cooling set up your jars on a large towel, turn the heat up on your water bath to get it almost to a boil.

Next, after scraping off the foam (and eating it, after all the work you deserve the sugar!) pour your liquid jelly into your glass mason jars. I like to leave ¼ inch head space when making jams and jellys. (By the way, Ball now makes a WONDERFUL funnel that not only helps to the lip of the jar clean but has ‘head space’ markings…found it at Walmart).
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I personally fill 2 or 3 jars, being careful to wipe the lip of the jar with a hot rag before placing the hot lid and then hand tightening the ring down. The new funnel REALLY made a huge difference in how much ‘clean’ up I had to do on the jars, almost NONE.

Having filled all jars and capping them, carefully place all jars into the canning bath basket (if you have one, if not, be sure you have placed something on the bottom of the large pot to keep the glass jar bottoms from touching the metal). Get back to a roiling boil, place lid on top and boil for 5 minutes. Take the water canner/pot off the heat and then take off the lid. Allow to sit for 10 minutes before carefully removing the mason jars. As you remove the mason jars, place on a doubled over towel in an out of the way place, being sure they are not touching and then cover with another towel to allow them to slowly cool for the next 24 hrs. You will hear pinging and such as they seal themselves, this is normal.

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After 24 hrs come back and make sure they have sealed. You do this simply by pushing down on the lid and as long as you have no give, you now have a shelf stable jelly ready to eat whenever ever you want!

Good luck, happy hunting and good, sweet eating!


Green Deane’s “Itemized” Plant Profile

IDENTIFICATION: A small, deciduous shrubs 1 to 2 m in height, leaves opposite, elliptical to ovate, large, with saw-toothed edges. Flowers cluster around stem, funnel-shaped with four clefs. Fruit magenta 2 to 4 seeds, White fruited ones are an escaped cultivar and edibility is unknown.
TIME OF YEAR: Spring and fall in Florida, late summer to fall in northern climes
ENVIRONMENT: Dry,open woods, moist woods, thickets and hammocks, adapted to climates with hot, humid summers and moderate winters
METHOD OF PREPARATION: A few berries can be eaten raw, depending upon your agreeing with the flavor, otherwise makes a great jelly. The berries can be used to make a tea with antioxidants.
HERB BLURB
Native American Indians used the roots and leaves to make a tea to treat fever, dysentery, malaria and rheumatism
The above is also taken from Eattheweeds.com