Homestead Update: Jam and Jerkey

Today marks the first day since tearing out the old kitchen that the room has been in a state conducive to canning.

Most of our strawberries were used for fresh eating this year. We harvested about 3 gallons of fresh berries. The rest were made into jam using Melissa K Norris’s recipe for low sugar, “no pectin” recipe. I still used 9 cups of sugar so I don’t know how “low” that is. And by no pectin, she simply means that the pectin comes from fruit sources, not an artificial packet or jar from the store. In any case, it’s the best strawberry jam I’ve ever tasted.

And, what’s more, I actually succeeded in getting it to gel!

Simultaneously, I had 2lbs of beef jerky going in the dehydrator. It was my first time making it, so I wasn’t really sure how to get it just right. After the recommended 4-5 hours, it was leathery, but it was also still a bit greasy, and so my troubleshooting guide recommended leaving it to dehydrate further. Well, we let it go overnight. And by that point, it was beyond flexible leather, and verging on well-done bacon crispy, but still greasy. Perhaps it was my marinade? Who knows. It tastes great,and we blotted the remaining grease before we bagged it. I think next time, I’ll only use dry cure and spices and a shorter dry time. Any jerky experts (talking to you all, Midwesterners!) are welcome to share your expertise in the comments below.

I also had a batch of yogurt going which needs strained and “flavored.” I had wisdom shared with me, so I’ll pass on that I usually reserve about a 1/4 C. to start my next batch and re-use that for the next 4 batches or so. That’s one way to stretch your store-bought starter. Eventually, it does get sorta weak and you have to start fresh.

That was our big set of weekend projects. We got a lot of rain, so we didn’t do much in the gardens. But the tomatoes should be coming ripe soon! That’s exciting.

Also, on an unrelated, yet exciting note, the following image is of 3 farm fresh eggs…sitting still….on a level counter top!!!!! Not a single egg rolled off and went splerkt on the floor!! Praise God, there are some simple pleasures in life.

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