Reward or Regret?
What do you do to reward yourself for a job well done? Alot of folks would answer with a meal out, a lottery ticket or buying something they've wanted. Not this girl. I wanted an entire day to spend canning; a marathon canning day. I planned for the Friday after Thanksgiving; Handsome was gonna work and I was needing a day in the kitchen. After all, I have all this new venison and turkey to work on and I've been wanting to make room in the freezer......
In preparation for this "reward" I had washed several dozen jars, cleaned the fridge top to bottom AND attempted to thaw a whole pile of deer, beef and turkey.
The turkey would not thaw. It had been in the fridge since I purchased it, not even a whisper of thawing. I could barely get the wrapper off the thing. The beef and deer thawed nicely.
6am Friday morning, I decided to clean out the refrigerator freezer because the food was falling out onto my feet. This yielded a few packages of hamburger patties, some grilled chicken, and a whole bunch of ground venison. All frozen solid, of course. How am I going to get all this product ready to can?
I sat the turkey in the sink and ran warm water over it to get the wrapper off. I sat the whole thing inside the pressure canner, frozen solid and added water to the maximum fill line. I tried it. I pressure cooked the bird and it turned out great! Deboned the bird, set the bones off to the side for broth. Product ready to can.
All this ground venison though.... Started the first couple packages on thaw in the microwave, worked well enough I could atleast get the wrappers off and into the skillet to brown it. Then...
The microwave died. Like died died. Dead.
Well now what do I do? Bring out the old trusty cold water in the sink trick. I placed all the still frozen packages into said sink and was able to get the wrappers off. It would take forever to try to brown all this frozen meat. Think.... what do I have instead of a microwave? An Instant Pot! I went ahead and pressure cooked the "Cooked Meat Mix" in the Instant Pot with a quart of water instead of browning the meat like normal. Drained it but saved back the broth and fat. Product ready to can.
Now what am I going to do with this sliced grilled chicken? I literally just packed it into jars and poured Bestie's chicken broth over it. Product ready to can.
Oh no, the hamburger patties. I've been wanting to try that.... Pan fried them to almost done, trimmed to fit the jars, sliced onion to go between them and BOOM, product ready to can.
The nice thing about canning meats is that it's always 90 minutes for quarts, 75 minutes for pints at 10 lbs of pressure for my elevation. It doesn't matter what's inside the jar. If it's a meat, that's the time. You can mix and match to fill the canner. It also doesn't matter whether the meat is previously cooked or not. The processing time is the same.
Since the fridge was totally cleaned out, I staged full jars in it. I started both canners and processed a few batches of the various meats. At the same time I was making more of the "Cooked Meat Mix" in one Instant Pot and making broth in the other. I kept both dishwashers running along with the clothes washer; trying to clean as I go. I was a whirlwind and I was having a blast! (The electric company enjoyed that day too.) I kept going til about 6pm and when that canner load was done, I shut it off and called it quits.
By the time I made it to bed that night, I could barely walk. It was more of a shuffle. The hip, lower back, ankles, neck; all were screaming. I knew the pain was coming. I know I did it to myself. I had soooo much fun though! There's still a fridge full of food needing put up....
Saturday morning dawns, I'm up at my usual 6am. Still hurting but I've got a fridge full of food to get finished. Got a round of product into both canners and started both Instant Pots back up. By the time those were finished about noon, I was done. I got cleaned up and we went for ice cream and visiting.
Now it's Sunday morning and here I am.... procrastinating and trying to talk my back into allowing me to keep going. Handsome drug out the spare microwave for me. The fridge is still full of food!