Pack the jars as full as I can, then put in a cold canner with cold water and a little vinegar. Put the lid on, and bring it to the boil. Once the steam is shoosting out the top valve, time it for 10 minutes, then put the 10 lb weight on top of the valve. Once it’s jiggling nicely, turn the heat down, and start the timer for 90 minutes. Then turn the gas off and let the canners sit a little, then remove the valves. It will be noisy, and you can hear the liquid boiling inside the jars. Once it stops, twist the lids off and using the canning jar lifter, carefully take the jars out, and put them in a warm place and wrap with towels. Leave for at least 24 hours. You start hearing the lids popping as they seal, and then they unseal, and seal again. It’s kitchen music :). I have struggled to get the bands off 7 of the jars I did last night, although all the ones I did last week, 40 quarts, came off after putting them upside down in hot water. Didn’t work for these 7 :(. I’ll try again later. It’s not recommended to store them with the bands on, as if the seal fails, the band holds it in place and you don’t know the food is rotting until you smell it :(. Then hunting down the faulty one is difficult. Same reason you don’t stack the jars on top of each other. Temperature changes can even make the jars re-seal if the band is holding it tightly, then you can get sick eating it.
Then write the contents and date on the lids, and place them all carefully on the shelves. Pleased that none of the jars broke this time, I lost 4 the first go around. The meat was too cold and cracked their bottoms off in the canners. This time, I was careful about cold meat, cold canners and cold water. Takes a bit longer, but works out better.
Also have a gallon of yoghurt draining, and about 2 gallons of milk in the bucket where I added culture and rennet, maybe mozzarella ?
Tuesday, Daisy May goes to auction. Sad to see her go, but she’s down to 2 teats, and is no longer financially viable for the farm. I went and looked at a replacement cow last week, but she was smaller than JuneBug, and wasn’t polled. I’d specifically asked if she was polled (no horns) and the young girl said yes, and then when I looked at her, she said they had burned her little horns off. She also had bad ringworm around both eyes. I researched it as I’ve not had ringworm here before, and although they seemingly grow out of it, it’s very contagious to other calves - and I have 4 calves here. I just didn’t want to deal with another issue. So am waiting for JuneBug to calve. Not sure when she’s due, but she hasn’t been on heat for a few months, so here’s hoping. Then I still need to sell Ginger. She’s also ½ Scottish Highland ½ Jersey, but she’s an escape artist, so I’ll put her up for sale instead of growing her for butcher. Then we’ll be down to 1 milk cow, 1 pregnant heifer, 1 bull, and the 3 boy calves. Will also have to sell Gus, the pure Jersey boy as I can’t use him to breed-back his mothers’ niece, Eleanor, or his ½ sister, JuneBug.
Have taste-tested the first batch of biltong, not bad, but I added more salt to the spice mix for the 2nd lot which is curing now
as I like it a little saltier and should hang it tonight or tomorrow. The brown sugar was hard so I zooped it in the zoop zoop machine and I think it made it too fine which threw off the balance of curing spices. I didn’t have more coriander to add so just adjusted the salt. The tunnel is full of water and I worry about the moisture level in the basement for this next batch.
Just had to move the 7 quart jars from the one canner which wouldn’t hold a seal for this 2nd batch. It worked great for the 1st one, so put the Brazilian canner, a Rochedo by Maitre’s, to work. It has a different valve system, but is a nice canner. I couldn’t get it to hold a seal last week, but today it’s working well. I have 4 usable canners, 3 will hold 7 quart jars each, or 14 pint jars, while the 4th one is shorter, and will only take 7 pint jars. The quart jars are too tall to fit 7, can only fit 4, but as the stove can only hold 2 canners at a time, I don’t use that one if I’m processing quart jars.
First time I’ve done tallow. Got 2 hanks of leaf fat from around the kidneys of other beef that was processed. Rendered it in the oven at 250 degrees over 3 days. Gave the remnants to the dogs, cats and chickens. Only processed 1 of them, plan on grating some of the other one to make droëwors. Me likee a bit of fat in my droëwors. Have enough tallow to make soap as well as having grease for frying / baking / whatever.
So it’s been a productive time for me here on the farm. With the weather expected to rise to the high 30s this week, I’m thinking about my greenhouse and starting seedlings. But first, I need to do the bloody taxes :(.
Just checked, still 40 minutes of processing time to go.
Marmalade is sick again. She pee’d and pooped in the house this week, so she’s no longer allowed to stay inside. Cleaning up after beasties is not on my agenda !! I let her eat inside, as the other cats, and the dogs, steal her food, but then I turf her out. She still walks wonky, and I put her down carefully as she doesn’t land on her feet if I chuck her.