Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Praying for Boston in the aftermath of the bombings

The thoughts, prayers and love of a nation go out to the people of Boston and the victims and their families of the bombings. May God hold you close and give you comfort in your hour of need. 

Even though we will never know who all the hero's were during this horrific event we has a nation thank you for all you did. If not for you many more may have lost their lives.

Terrorist are nothing more than cowards. They attack stealthily instead of being out in the open. They do not care how many innocent lives they destroy. They do not care how a parent feels to lose a child or a child feels to lose a parent. They do not care if a whole family is killed. They are not brave enough to stand up and fight with words instead of cowardly acts of terror. They may think they that they will bring America to its knees but they couldn't be further from the truth. We might fall but we always get back up, dust ourselves off and then get back to the business of making sure justice is served to those who try to or do harm to us.

This country was founded on the blood of brave men and women who fought for the freedoms we have. For  generations our brave men and women have fought and continue to fight to keep this country free. So terrorist around the world need to remember that even if you knock us down we will come up fighting and we won't stop until you have been brought to justice and pay for what you have done. 

The American spirit will never surrender and will never die! We will not go out quietly into the night but instead if we ever go out it will be with a loud roar. 

Long live the American Spirit. Long live the land of the brave.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

More on the ham

When I had the broth done and removed all the scraps of fat, skin and bones I had 10 quarts of stock. Since I already had 9 quarts on hand from other canning sessions I decided to make a ham & potato soup using some of the potatoes I still had from the 100 pounds I had bought. I used 5 quarts of the broth, the leftover cubed ham from my canning the meat and about 4 pounds of potatoes to make the soup with. I peeled and cut the potatoes into large cubes while the broth was heating up and the canner water was getting  hot. I then added the potatoes and ham to the broth, simmered it all for 10 minutes then filled the hot jars with the soup mixture and added a teaspoon of canning salt to each jar. I left a one inch head space to help keep the jars from boiling over. . Wipe the rims of the jars with a vinegar/water mixture, applied the two piece caps and processed at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes. I got 7 quarts of nice home made ham and potato soup which I will thicken a little when I heat it up. I may even add some frozen peas and carrots when I use it.

I still had 5 quarts and one pint of broth left so I canned them at 10 pounds pressure for 25 minutes. This gave me some nice rich broth that I can use to make soups or pots of beans, cook with rice or what ever else I can think of to do with it. Having a nice home made rich broth on hand is always a good start to a wonderful tasty meal. :)

I forgot to take a picture of the broth alone but here it is with the cold lard next to it and the ham & potato soup behind the lard.

Of the three hams the only parts that were thrown away after I got all the flavor I could get out of them was the fat and skin. My dogs got the bones which they are still enjoying.

I paid right around $27 for the three hams I used for canning and from them I got 19 pints of canned ham, 7 quarts of ham & potato soup, 5 quarts and 1 pint of ham broth plus the 3 - 12 oz jars of lard. Not a bad deal for $27. At least not in my book. :)

Happy Canning folks! It's well worth the effort and you will get a lot of pride and joy knowing that you are able provide you family good nutritious meals because you are in control of what goes into them.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Ham, Ham Broth and Lard

Last week Meijers had Cooks Choice bone in hams on sale for 87 cents a pound. I bought 4 of them. One I  bought for Easter Dinner and the other 3 I bought for canning. Nice looking hams aren't they?

As you can see by the price label I was not kidding when I said I got them for 87 cents a pound. :)

I trimmed as much of the skin and fat off of each of the whole hams and put is aside to make rich ham stock.

Then I cut all the meat off the bones as I could get and tossed the bones in with the skin and fat.

After all the meat was cut off the bones I trimmed all the meat that I got off the bones of excess fat and gristle, then cut the meat into one inch chunks. I decided to raw pack the ham and nit use any broth or water to can it with. I packed the jars as full as I could with the ham.

Wiped the jars rims with a mixture of white vinegar and water to make sure there was no grease on the rims to cause seal failure. Applied the two piece caps and processed for 75 minutes in a pressure canner at 10 pounds pressure. I used pints but if I had used quarts I would have processed for 90 minutes.

I got 19 pints of ham from the 3 hams. The meat came out looking more like browned beef then ham but I opened one the next day and it tastes like ham. :) I will be using this ham in baked beans, ham salad, ham and beans and scalloped potatoes. It could even be drained and put on top of a salad or home made pizza.

Even though I got 19 pints of ham I wasn't through there. I still had 3 pints of cubed ham that I didn't can because I ran out of pint jars plus all the fat and meat still on the bones. I decided to make ham broth out of the scraps and set the cubed ham aside.

I placed all the scraps in a big stock pot and covered with water, four carrots, 4 stalks of celery and two bay leaves. I brought it all to a simmer and simmered for 3 hours.

When the broth was done I strained it in to large bowls which I sat in the sinks which were full of ice water to let it chill down before placing it in the refrigerator overnight to let the fat rise to the top and harden. The next morning I took the broth out of the refrigerator and skimmed the fat off and placed it in a sauce pan. 

I heated the fat over low heat until all the water was boiled out then placed the heated lard in 12 jars, wipe the rims of the jars with a water/vinegar mix and added the two piece caps. I has no intentions of canning the lard so I just set the jars aside till they cooled enough to place in the refrigerator. Once the lard had hardened I place it in the freezer for long term storage. I will set in a jar in the refrigerator one at a time and use to make biscuits and corn bread. 

As you can see I did not get all the water boiled out but that is okay. I will be able to scrape that off when I use the lard since it will be congealed. :)

Tomorrow I will show you what I did with the broth and the extra cubed ham. For now let's just say that I got a lot more meals out of a ham then if I just baked it and served it for dinner. Then 87 cents a pound I paid for it went a long way in helping to make sure my family has plenty of good food to eat through the year.:)