Archive for food storage

Making venison breakfast sausage

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Step One:
Lounge lazily in front of the Grizzly all morning while hubby disassembles the venison from the bones.

Step Two:
Disappear from the house for 3 hours while hubby first grinds the venison, then shops for spices.

Step Three:
Wear out all the children playing “Dog Pile of Love!” Game until all giggles are out of them. Put them all to bed.

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Step Four:
Begin measuring spices, mixing, bagging and labeling different sausage recipes. One by one, older children creep out of bed begging to “help” with sausage making. Conversation degrades into imitations of drunken, belligerent sweat shop owner and Dr. Who, leaving all of us laughing so loudly we threaten to waken FlyingBoy.

Step Five:
Fall into bed exhausted, swearing to each other that we won’t leave sausage making until the last day of hunting vacation ever again, knowing full well that it is one of our favorite family traditions.

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Magical Elixer: Elderberry

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After we gathered the elderberries, we popped them in the freezer right on the stalks inside plastic grocery bags. Once we had enough, we began by gently pulling the berries off the stems and picking out the tiny stems that occasionally fell in anyways. Then we covered the berries with water in a heavy bottomed pan and simmered them with healthy amounts of clove and cinnamon and stirred and mashed them for about 30 minutes. It’s important to cook elderberries as they contain a not nice ingredient. “Wicked Plants” by Amy Stewart, says the raw juice and seeds contain cyanide that can only be removed by heating. According to folklore, if you sleep under a blooming elderberry bush, you would have fantastical dreams filled with fairies and elves and all things magical. Since elderberries usually grow very near streams,bogs, fens and swampy areas, I will pass on camping under one.

Once your berries are well cooked and cooled enough to handle, stir in an equal amount of raw honey. It will not taste pleasant at all without the honey. A quality, raw honey will provide enzymes and added immune boost to your syrup. Now pour the whole mess into a tea towel lined strainer over top of a big bowl and squeeze every last bit of juice out.

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You now have a pile of mush to add to your compost.

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The syrup should be bottled in sterilized jars and stored in the refrigerator. Take at the first sign of a cold – 1/2-1 teaspoon for children, 1/2-1 tablespoon for adults every few hours. Great for soothing coughs and especially croup. You could also pour it over vanilla ice cream or add it to sparkling water for an impressive treat. Slainte!

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Making Elderberry Syrup

We began collecting elderberries over Labor Day weekend. We popped them into baskets, paper bags and grocery bags– anything I could get my hands on when I spotted an elderberry bush. We have two bushes in our back yard but they are young and only produced a few handfuls of berries. State land however, is teeming with elderberry bushes– if you know where to look. This was my first year wild crafting elderberries. I drove 2 miles an hour down every dirt road in a 20 mile radius around our house, scanning the vegetation for slender leaved bushes with dark umbrellas of luscious purple-black berries. When the birds have stripped all the berries off, the bushes are easier to spot because the stems range from black to bright pink. I think they look a little like Halloween trees.

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Every basketful was faithfully placed into plastic bags and stored in the freezer. My sweet friend Mickie, has guided me through this with some great advice! The frozen berries pop off the umbrels easier and with less mess. We confirmed this and learned to only take out a bag at a time as the defrosted berries quickly stained our fingers. She is a seasoned elderberry gatherer.

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This morning we made one last trip to a big bush that had some un-ripe berries over the weekend. The birds had decimated what remained. Elderberry collecting missions are officially terminated until next season.

SCORE!!!!

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$10.99 at Meijer. Vintage blue Mason jars are so pretty!!!