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Canning meats is easy to do and is a great way to preserve the meat. More importantly to me is that it makes it convenient to have meat in a minute from the jar so I don't have to spend the time cooking it at mealtime. The basic procedure is to pack raw meat into jars leaving an inch of headspace. You don't have to add anything else. Just put the lids and rings on and process for 75 mnutes (pints) or 90 minutes (quarts). If you choose you may add spices & salt but I like to can mine without them so I can have a more versitile product when finished.

I can boneless skinless chicken breast with no additional liquid, salt or spice.

I then use it directly from the can to make great chicken salad. Just pour off the broth (maybe save it for rice the next meal) and flake it apart (it's really tender) and add the mayo, relish and whatever else you want in your chicken salad.

I also use the canned chicken to make pizza, quasidillias, salads and even stir fri where I just add it at the last minute (since it's already cooked). I sometimes just stir it in with a little BBQ sause and make a BBQ chicken sandwich.

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I understant totally Sparky, and that's why I told Pat about no shame to have in buying at wallmart if you find yourself with no viable alternative.

We all compromise here, that's a fact. I do too, I'm not a champion in sustainability. But we have to keep in mind this site is first and foremost about home-growing, connecting with our land... At the comment section of the canning group, this issue was already touched with Harriet and Pat great discussion about the "chicks".

I reckon, Sparky, that you found yourself strugling with employment as a result of the financial crash (you seem to say your struggle began in 2008). If so, you certainly are a victim of the current recklessly greedy economy, all of it based on cheap-oil. Well cheap oil is behind us and we are left to our own devices to secure our food and while everywhere you hear about the economy stimulus, I don't know how this economy can be stimulated, it seems just a moribond. The climate change, result of the industrialisation, brings its tall of disasters too. Yes, you're totally right, it's a time where we need to turn to survival mode. Survival is an important skill to have.

But at the same time, we need, at least here at Homegrown, to put an emphisis on what Shannon Hayes coined as the "life serving economy" as opposed to the "extractive economy".

I think we all have a point and a purpose in this forum and (pardon me for repeating myself) your contributions are of high value. I thought about it while making supper tonight and this thinking led me straight to the computer after we ate. I got to work an hour ago, writting multi-part post about canning (meats or other foods), a 101 if you wish, with a big light directed at its role in shifting from cheap-oil and greedy economy to post-oil, local foods and "life serving economy".

This comes at a price, though... You'll have to endure my French-tainted English. :-))

I wanted to add something to this line of conversation but feel lacking in my understanding of my role in a sustainable living.   I had many questions on the discussion part of this forum that I feel led to this discussion group.  I am new at food preservation and I am a newly stay at home mom that left a well paying job to be more to my children.  I had questions because right now I have to shop for the budget (or low cost) in order to feed my family.  As a single family income now we are trying to go more sustainable with gardens, bees and chickens but I need more knowledge for the process of canning for my family.

So I apologize if I led us down the wrong path.  I still have many questions but maybe here is not where I need to ask them.

 

Christene:  I'm afraid I misunderstood the nature of the forum too.  I zipped right in and assumed the forum's focus was on canning and gardening and providing for our families, like the Self-Relliant Moms group.  I should have delved more into the backlog of the archives before posting.  If you're interested in that type of discussion, please come join us.

Well, now I feel bad... Could it be that I'm wrong? I could be the one who misunderstood.

I think the philosophy of the site should show through all its parts. But then again, it's impossible to avoid talking bulk buying at big-boxes in order to insure a minimum food security for our families. And if you have that much money, as my mother used to say, you simply cannot deliver more (as in delivering a baby after pregnancy).

So maybe we should understand the philosophy of this place as a trip rather than take it to the letter.

I'm sorry for the confusion I created.

Isn't Self-Relliant Moms group about preparedness for disasters and survival through them? If so, it's different from here but overlaps in the means (gardening, canning, etc.). SRM is all about surviving and self-reliance. Here is all about self-reliance for a better life,  through sustainability and community building. At least that's how I understand it.

 

In my limited knowledge, I think it is both.  But in order to sustain ones family you need the know of the processes.  Zoubida - don't feel bad - my eyes are open  and I am thinking -thank you .  Karen I may check out that site too.

 

ZA, preparedness goes much further than disasters.  Being able to feed and clothe your family through an extended illness, or long layoffs like the ones I have seen, is also preparedness.  Being able to grow sustainable food supplies, through organic gardening, seed saving, food preservation, and livestock is one part of preparedness.  I think we should come together where we agree, and sometimes maybe just agree to disagree.  I have wonderful friends, but I don't agree to the letter with everything they believe.  You might even be one of them... :)

Zoubida Ayyadi said:

Well, now I feel bad... Could it be that I'm wrong? I could be the one who misunderstood.

I think the philosophy of the site should show through all its parts. But then again, it's impossible to avoid talking bulk buying at big-boxes in order to insure a minimum food security for our families. And if you have that much money, as my mother used to say, you simply cannot deliver more (as in delivering a baby after pregnancy).

So maybe we should understand the philosophy of this place as a trip rather than take it to the letter.

I'm sorry for the confusion I created.

Isn't Self-Relliant Moms group about preparedness for disasters and survival through them? If so, it's different from here but overlaps in the means (gardening, canning, etc.). SRM is all about surviving and self-reliance. Here is all about self-reliance for a better life,  through sustainability and community building. At least that's how I understand it.

 

I love all of you. These kinds of conversations help us to get to know the team (all of us). We are all on the same team you know. If this were a tent revival I'd be the guy that gets em in the tent and folks like  Zoubida and Harriet would convert them once they got inside. It takes a team of folks with diverse talents to push the Homegrown cause. Some of us are more outgoing and willing to put ourselves out there even at the chance of being worng. This draws a lot of folks into the discussion. Some like Harriet who is generally very precise and right on target with the Homegrown agenda chime in and bring the message home. Others help us understanding the processes and history. Getting folks like Sparky and Chirstene involved shows allows us to see how others cope with the real world and gives us a resourse to draw on. Christene may be a novice but she's learning & communicating with her peers and showing what she's learning here at Homegrown. Sparky gives us a historical view on how things were done in the catering world and bulk canning. Harriet brings us precise and acurate information on particular processes. And the lovely Cornelia nudges us back in the right direction every once in a while. Personally I know I am not the best at much of anything but I sure can get em into the tent where others can reach the lost souls and convert them. In my working days (currently FunEmployed) I was the sales guy. My boss was a bit of an introvert and would often accompany me to conferences and meetings. He would hang back while I regurgitated anything and everything to get a converesation going and he would then pair up with others in the conversation and form friendships/partnerships that were long term and helpful to the business. He would have never been able to form these relationships without my help and I would have never been able to form the relationships alone. As a team we were a Dynamic Dou! And we're all part of the Homegrown community. Yes Zoubida, I think it is more about the trip/journey than the letter. Don't feel badly though. Some of you need to keep the rest of us a little coloser to the letter or we'll be on a journey with little purpose. We all have a place in this effort to get back to sustainability and canning Walmart chicken is a step towards learning to preserve foods. Preserving foods leads us to growing our own foods and maybe raising our own chickens. Once folks get on the path they refine their growing with trends towards better and better heath and sustainability. Maybe even going organic;-) I think the trick is simply getting people to think about what they are doing regardless of why. Once people become concious fo their choices the natural evolution will bring them closer and closer to the Homegrown ideals!

P.S. Zoubida, I plan to try some of your Morrocan Stuffed Rghaifs (sounds yummy).

Where there is a will, there is a way. Trying to secure healthy, ethical food for our owns proves to hold challenge for all of us (available income, access, lack of community ties, isolation, engrained habits, physical means, political circumstances, etc.)

I think we must keep in mind we don't have much choice but to change the way we live, and that, by itself, is no kid's game. So without trying to be more catholic than the pope, we need to reinvent ourselves everyday in order to break-up with consumerism and its sneaky ways of enslaving, degrading and bribe us. And this, I believe, necessitates that we are true to ourselves and having the courage of our convictions.

Yes, times are challenging. Yes, feeding our families is top priority. But we also need, at the same time, to develop better ways to do so and brainstorm healthier ways, more ethical ways.

I dare to say we are not much different than being in war time. (But wait... We are actually at war) I grew up in France, and learned in history books about choices people had to make in order to survive during 1940-1944 German occupation. Either collaborate with the occupying forces or fight to reclaim freedom through the "grassroot" Resistance movement.

It's interesting to note the different significations the word "resistance" holds. I can find myself with no other alternative to buy industrial beef or eggs at one time or an other, but if I do it in the spirit of "well, after me the deluge" it's just collaborating with the enemy. If I do it and at the same time, show in my acts and initiatives determination and will to break from that forced buying act, I'm resisting and contributing to win, one battle at a time, the war of unsustainability and consumerism.

Off of my soapbox, I admit I didn't use the right forum to address my disapointment in seeing almost exclusively the use of industrial meat for home canning on a site like this one. We have a joke about being the "inspector of finished work", meaning one need to step in and lend a hand rather than just sit on the sidelines and vocalize disatisfaction with the work others are sweating on. So I went ahead and began writing a series of blog posts about canning, focusing on the challenges we are bound to meet in securing sustainable, clean, safe, nutrient dense ingredients as much as on the basic principles of homecaning. I hope, this way, while contributing meaningful informations, open a debate, facilitate brainstorming on how to preserve food sustainably.

Making the Corned beef was easy and it tasted great. I now do a batch annually and Debbie and I both love it. I have to say that it is not a lot different than the commercial stuff sold in the grocery stores with respect to taste and texture. However, I use London Broil as opposed to Brisket and consequently mine has less fat in it.

Christene said:
Pat I noticed in the back log of discussion you did corn beef - how did that work for you and would you do it again.

I could hug and kiss you all! This type of honest and courageous dialogue is what this site is about. Pat, I think you nailed it - wow. Really. Zoubida, thank you for your thoughtful eloquence. Sparky, your diplomacy and ability to clarify things is wonderful. Christene, as a person new to preservation (and this community of opinionated experts!) thank YOU for speaking up!

I am listening (and reading), and we in the back offices are trying to do some heavy thinking about the role that HOMEGROWN.org should play in the cultural landscape. The power should be with the people - how do we give fuel to that by sharing what we know? Our land, our farmers, our economy, our welfare as citizens are in peril and the activities and "lifestyle" that we celebrate on HOMEGROWN.org are a means to the remedy.

Harriet and I started down a promising road during our discussion at her breakfast table in Portland, and I am continuing it with her and others. I'm being a bit vague, as I don't have the first draft of a road map figured out yet, but I also know that I shouldn't figure this all out myself and that it's folks like YOU who are able to help.

Stay tuned for more...we're organizing the big Farm Aid show for the next 6 weeks, so I'm a bit distracted by that little project, too. :)

I feel there are good things to come Cornelia. Exciting too.

 

Pat, try the Rghaif and let me know if you liked them. I got to make a huge amount of them during my now 16 years stay in Canada, and my Canadians friends and family (my husband is Canadian) just love them. It's the first thing that people ask me to prepare for pot lucks and family reunions. Their favorites are meat and cheese filled.

Would you mind sending me the recipe my oldest son loves and begs for corn beef and cabbage.  He is a little finicky with his eating but his one he loves.

Pat Johnson said:
Making the Corned beef was easy and it tasted great. I now do a batch annually and Debbie and I both love it. I have to say that it is not a lot different than the commercial stuff sold in the grocery stores with respect to taste and texture. However, I use London Broil as opposed to Brisket and consequently mine has less fat in it.

Christene said:
Pat I noticed in the back log of discussion you did corn beef - how did that work for you and would you do it again.

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