Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Canning Sausage

My friend and her husband will soon be having two hogs butchered and so she is trying to get her freezers cleared out.  Yesterday she gave me 13 pounds of bulk sausage.  She suggested I could can it, so that's exactly what I did!  I ended up with 8 pints of sausage patties and 11 pints of the meat, browned in our big skillet.

 Here is how it came.  I left it overnight in these Styrofoam coolers so it could thaw slowly.  It worked perfectly.  It was still partially frozen so that made it easy to slice the patties.

Here are 3 pounds browning...

This shows you how they were sliced:

Here the slices are browning:

I was able to fit 5 patties into each wide-mouth pint jar.

It took both canners to accommodate the 19 jars.

 The jars just came out of the canners:

After cooling for a while.  I did not put on any extra liquid before they were processed.

Canning meats is very easy... much easier than canning vegetables.  These pints had to be pressure canned for 75 minutes at 11 pounds pressure, after 10 minutes of "exhausting" the canners.  If you want to do this, and have not canned before, please be sure to consult a reliable canning guide like this one.

Canned meat will last for a long time in the jars without losing quality.  It is very convenient to have in the pantry for quick meals.

Monday, June 24, 2013

Egg Storage...

I have read about several different methods of storing fresh eggs on the internet.  I have tried a few of them and mostly, the results were less than stellar.  I have found a method that works very well for me.  This would be an excellent way to save some money on your grocery bill.  You can take advantage of good sales on eggs, and if you happen to have chickens, when they are laying more than you can use, you could save some of them!

On February 20th of this year, I bought some eggs at a very low price and here is what I did:

Dip each egg into mineral oil.  Place it back in the egg carton.  Set the carton(s) on a shelf in a cool room.  My storage room never gets above 70 degrees or below 40 degrees F.  Mark the date on your calendar, and each month, turn the egg cartons over.

It has been 4 months now.  The eggs are fine and taste delicious!

Here are two eggs that I cracked into a bowl this morning:

I heated my nice Griswold cast iron skillet until it was fairly hot, added a pat of butter, spread that around, sprinkled in salt and pepper and then carefully poured in the eggs:

When they were at least half done, I flipped them upside-down with a metal spatula:

When the top was done as I like it, they went onto a plate:

Very yummy.  I will keep checking them each month.  So far, so good, and this will really make it easy for me to save eggs.  It's very cheap to do, too.  Mineral oil can be purchased at any pharmacy.

Please let me know if you try this and what you think!

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Cleaning revelation!

When I had a dishwasher, years ago, my mother, who grew up during the Great Depression, told me, "I've never had a dishwasher, but I've had TWO stainless steel sinks!"  To her, that was such luxury!  She grew up with a porcelain sink, and no detergents or other modern cleaning products.  So, keeping their porcelain sink clean and nice was a big job.  Stainless steel sinks are wonderful!

See the picture up there?  That is my kitchen sink.  It is probably close to 40 years old now, and you can see it has some scratches, but otherwise is in very nice condition.

I discovered, just yesterday, that one of the easiest ways to clean my sink is to simply take a wash cloth, wet it, rub on bar soap and wash the sink... and then rinse it! It got me to thinking about all of the cleaning "products," either purchased in a store or made at home that we think we need.  We buy sprays and wipes and powders, etc.. and maybe all that is needed is some soap.  Since I make my own soap, that's even less expensive.  I do use just plain powdered borax on a cloth to scrub my shower/tub (which is fiberglass.) I also make a nice all-purpose spray by combining 90% cheap white vinegar and 10% rubbing alcohol.  To that, in a plastic spray bottle, I add 1 Tablespoon Borax.  It works very well.  For the windows and mirrors, I just wash them with soap and water first, in a bucket (to get off the big hunks), and then spray them with pure white vinegar and use crumbled newspapers or microfiber towels to dry them.

Years ago there were no spray bottles or microfiber towels...  And yet, they kept their houses clean.  I'm glad I discovered the soap and water.  ;)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Paper towel saving tip...

For most things, I don't use paper towels.  It seems wasteful.  I have plenty of cloths and rags to use instead.  However, when I fry bacon, I do drain it on paper towels.  I don't want to throw really greasy things into my laundry.  Today I fried up a 3# bag of bacon ends and pieces (which are about half the price of regular slices and taste just as good.) 

For that amount of bacon, it would take a number of paper towels for draining.  Instead, I put down a pad of newspapers and just ONE paper towel on top.  Works perfectly!

I bought four 3-pound packages today.  We read that there is a virus affecting hogs in many states, and that the death rate, when they are infected is 50%.  I just thought I'd stock up on bacon! 

I like to fry up these large amounts all at once, and then freeze them in meal-sized pieces.  It's very convenient to get breakfast together this way.

Monday, June 10, 2013

Linen Slip

I am in love...  I ordered a yard of the IL020 bleached 100% linen from, and made myself a simple half slip from an A-line skirt pattern with elastic in the waist.  It is so comfortable! This is their "handkerchief weight" linen.  It is amazingly easy to sew, a little crisp and yet very very soft at the same time. has very good prices on their linens and linen blends as well as regular sales.

I used Butterick B4803

Linen is so durable, I'll probably have to mention this article in my will.  ;)

Monday, June 3, 2013

Monday musings... sewing lessons and a new way to compost

This is a picture of my favorite neighbor.  Her name is Heather, and she is 9 years old.  I asked her grandma (with whom she lives) if it would be alright if I were to teach Heather to sew this summer.  Today was her first lesson.  She is a natural!  The first thing I had her do was use the sewing machine, without thread, to sew over lines I drew on paper.  She did very well, even on the curves.

Then, she made a pillowcase under my scrutiny and frequent suggestions.  I helped her a little with the ironing, because that's kind of scary, but she did most of it.  I just showed her what to do, and she did nearly all of it, and her pillowcase is very nice.

Last week, I helped her plant a small vegetable plot in our garden.  This is going to be a good and productive summer!

About the composting...  my efforts at "composting" amount to throwing kitchen scraps (not meat and things like that) into a bin outside and just letting it do it's thing.  I have no desire to do it in a faster way, that requires formulas and turning.  I've always just let it rot for a year and then used it.  It works just fine, but is slow.  I read about this other thing I am doing, somewhere, and finally decided to do it.  When my little bucket of scraps gets kind of full, I put some water in the electric blender, add the scraps and puree them.  Then, taking a hoe to the garden, I dig a small trench, pour in the gloop and cover it with soil.  I'm sure the earthworms will be pleased, and, in time, this should really help the garden! FYI, I have an extra blender container that I am using.  That's probably not important, but reduces the "ick" factor.  I always wash it well anyway.

What do you think about it?

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