Thursday, March 17, 2011

Canning Soups and BACON

A head/sinus cold hit me three days ago and has been beating me down more and more each day. While writing this I have a melee of health aids next to me: decongestants, Mucinex, a book, nasal spray, tea, dark chocolate, and Kleenex. My head is stuffy and everything is draining out my nose or collecting in my chest. I. feel. miserable.

The previous night, when I was feeling a bit better, I whipped up several batches of soup, beans, apple butter, and ground bison to can. Everything took a touch longer than anticipated so instead of canning that night I decided to wake up early today and get the jars in the pressure canner. This morning, however, I woke up feeling like a semi hit me. Head stuffed, chest tight and congested, nose running, boy short panties exposing a cheek, face flushed,  hair unruly, eyes watering and tearing down my face. I am sure I would have been a prime candidate for the world's most un-sexy female award.

I couldn't imagine throwing all that food away (or freezing it) so I dragged my pathetic butt out of bed and into the bathroom. I stood staring blearily at the open cupboard while debating for a full five minutes whether or not to stuff tampons up my nose then reluctantly tucked a box of tissues under my arm, adjusted my undies, and plodded downstairs to meet Cowboy in the kitchen.

We love all things bacon-y here, so after reading this article we decided to give canned bacon a try.

mmmm....bacon.


We used thick cut bacon and laid it out on baking paper (no wax)


then rolled it up (make sure you put paper in between the fold)

  then slid into a quart jar. 


Canned Bacon
Canning it raw, you don't need any extra broth or liquid.



We also canned ground bison. We prefer the leaner, more flavorful bison (or elk) to ground beef when we have the choice.  You can raw pack this but for convenience of use I chose to saute it up first then used a tsp of beef Better Than Bullion dissolved in hot water for liquid to each pint, or pound, of meat. Next time I think I will try one jar raw packed and the other with hot water instead of broth. With the beef broth in these, I figured once opened and heated I would have the option of adding flour for some delicious gravy.


For soups I made Cowboy's One Pot Meal and a super simple Black Eyed Pea Soup with Sausage. The Black Eyed Pea soup is very healthy and full of flavor for as little ingredients that are in it.

One Pot Meal



and Black Eyed Pea Soup


Black Eyed Pea Soup with Sausage
**if you have a garden and the time you can use fresh greens, homemade stock, dried beans cooked, and fresh diced tomatoes.

4c. chicken broth
2 c. water
8 oz. frozen chopped collard greens
15.5 oz. can black eyed peas, rinsed and drained
14.5 oz. can diced tomatoes (I use San Marzano tomatoes- they make the very best sauce), undrained
optional add ins:
Beef Sausage or Kielbasa, sliced
gnocci
pasta

Combine broth through tomatoes (leave out the 2c. of water if you are putting it in a crock pot).  Bring to a boil then simmer for 1-2 hours. Add in sausage, season then simmer 10-15 minutes. Serve with gnocci (my favorite) or pasta.
* if you are going to can this, leave out the gnocci/pasta.

Cowboy's One Pot Meal

2 cans canned green beans, undrained
2 cans new potatoes, undrained
1 package sliced or chunked smoked sausage

Combine all, add a little chicken broth if canning, then bring to a boil then simmer a few hours.



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