Tag Archive: preserving


20150611_217Soungs crazy right? They SAY you can’t do it ‘safely’. But I am hear to say that YES YOU CAN can hard boiled eggs and pickled eggs….Let me dispell the epic myth about canning eggs. The USDA has only this to say: it has not been proven safe to do so. All that really means is that they haven’t taken the time to test it!!! But in FACT people have been doing this for generations and I have yet to find a single case of samonella or botulism related to home canned hard boiled eggs!!!

Anyway, on with the good news:

Hmmm…yes YOU CAN can hard boiled eggs! It is rather simple too as long as you have water bath canning supplies!
Note: this method is best used only for quarts and use the regular mouth size (this aids in keeping the eggs in the brine solution.

As always, be sure to follow proper canning instructions to get your jars and lids ready. Remember! The Ball canning lids only need to be washed now. DONOT and I repeat, DONOT bring to a simmer anymore, otherwise you might experience lids seal failure.

Now for the fun part.

Hard Boiled Eggs:

Get you jars going along with your water bath canner.

Get your eggs together and bring to a ‘soft’ hard boiled status.
Personally I like to use FRESH eggs that I pick up at the local Farmers Market
Peel them, rinse well, set aside.
You will only want to use eggs that are intact, no cracked eggs! Tiny nicks are okay.

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I get about 10 regular eggs into one quart jar.

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Your liquid will be a simple brine solution:

I use a 25% salt (either canning or non-iodized salt) solution with about 50% sugar. So your ratio will be 1 cup salt, 2 cups sugar to 4 cups water. This amount will be enough to do about 3 quarts. Bring to a boil enough to dissolve the salt and sugar. You will want to keep an eye on this so you don’t burn the solution. Stir as needed.

Once the liquid brine solution is ready get your hot jars out of the oven (this is how I keep my jars hot, 250 degree oven on a cookie sheet) and place about 10 soft boiled eggs in each jar. You do not want to have the eggs go above the first ring on the neck.

After getting all eggs into the jars ladle your brine solution into each jar. You will want to leave about a ½ inch head space.

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Wipe the rim with a rag to remove any salt/sugar solution.
Place lids on and then the rings tightening to finger tight.
Place your jars into the water bath canner and bring back to a boil.
Place lid of water bath canner on.

Now WAIT!

Processing time is as follows:
For those living under 1,000 feet in elevation process for 25 minutes.
For those living between 1,000 and 2,000 feet in elevation process for 30 minutes
Once you have processed them then take them out and cover as you would normally any other home canned fare.

These eggs will turn a slight tan color but that is OKAY!

The night before using I recommend taking them out of the jar and soaking in cold water to dry the salt out. But its not really necessary. Just remember that anything you add these eggs to (they can be used in any dish requiring cooked eggs or eaten just like they are if you are brave!) you won’t need to add SALT to!
Pickled eggs you will do the same steps, but instead of salt you will/can use your favorite pickled egg solution!

Enjoy!

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20141007_6Green beans…these are so easy to grow and are often prolific producers. So how can you preserve them? Canning and freezing are our favorite ways.

Canning fresh green beans is easy…but VaCreepinOutdoors and myself, we love to can them like our grandmothers did. With BACON! Yes, you can safely can green beans with bacon. My grandmother died when I was 8 years old. One legacy she left was a TON of canned fruits and veggies. My family got some of them and some were pressure canned green beans with bacon. Sadly, I opened and ate the last remaining jar of these about 8 years ago. I am now 42 🙂 and they were still delicious!!! VaCreepin remembers his mom’s and grandmothers canned beans too..so this article is in their memory and we hope you will give this a try and make it a tradition in your family too!

What you will need:

1 quart mason jar (or 2 pints) per pound of green beans.
Green Beans
Diced Onions (I like to add raw onions for flavor, 1 medium sized one per 3 lbs)
Minced Garlic (again, for flavor, add to taste)
Bacon (I use 1lb per 3 lbs of green beans, use as little or as much as you wish)
Pressure Cooker
Colander and Large Pot or Bowl.
A little bit of vinegar and a small rag.

Getting your canning supplies ready to go as usual. With the new lids available now, all you need to do is wash them. No boiling necessary to get the gummy going (in fact, keeping them simmering will degrade the gummy part causing lid failure). Often I will just put the lids and rings into a pot of water, bring to a boil for just a minute or two and then turn down to barely warm just to keep the water warm enough that I can put a finger into the water without hurting myself.
A trick I learned with the jars…heat the oven to 250 degrees to keep them ‘hot/warm’. Put the jars onto a cookie sheet and put into the oven while prepping the beans and bacon mixture.
Get the pressure cooker water going too. I put 3 inches in and bring to a boil while prepping the beans and bacon mix.

Next, we prep the beans and bacon/onions/garlic.

Typically VaCreepinOutdoors will cut the beans up as I fry up the bacon/onion/garlic mixture. The beans should be cut into about 1 inch lengths. Then rinse.
We DO NOT parboil them because that causes the beans to become mushy after canning. Raw packing is the best method for green beans so they don’t overcook. Remember, you are cooking them when you pressure cook them and then cooking again after opening. No mushy beans here!
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Place the beans into a large bowl or stock pot.

For the bacon, I cut the strips into 1 inch or so pieces, put into a frying pan, add diced onions and the garlic and fry the bacon until its just done/cooked. Drain the fat and then add to the beans that are already in the pot.
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Mix the beans and bacon mixture WELL.
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Get your preheated jars out and STUFF THOSE JARS FULL of the bean/bacon mix. If you don’t pack them in tightly you will wind up with more water than beans. I use a pestle or something else to pack the beans/bacon down into the jars. Pack leaving ½ inch head space.
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Now for the best part: no hot water needed…I just take the packed jar over to the sink and fill with water up to the ½ inch mark.

Because we have used bacon in this canning recipe, you will need to put a small amount of vinegar onto the rag. Wipe the rim and where the ring screws down onto. Vinegar cuts the potential grease and cleans the rim very well.

Place the lids and rings on the jars as usual. Finger tight!
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Place into your pressure canner and follow the manufactures instructions from there.

You will can quartz at 10 lbs for 25 mintues and pints at 10 lbs for 15.

Yum! These are huge hit and a blast from the past that everyone loves!

Of course you could use ham or something else if you wish, add your own seasonings, whatever…I have canned green beans just using the regular seasonings I would use in cooking too.

Have fun and enjoy!
Survivingshtfmom and VaCreepinOutdoors

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