Friday, January 31, 2014

Winter : A great time to can meats , hearty soups and stews.

It's too cold outside to do much more than feed and water the animals.The manure is like immobile cast iron frozen to the ground. No barn cleaning these days.So I wander about my house looking for something indoors to do. Ahhhh!!!  A few empty canning jars in the cellar gathering dust. I snatch them up, scavenge about in the freezer and find hotsy totsy Italiano sausages just begging to be delivered from their icy cave.Sausage cans up beautifully . I also thaw out bags of frozen tomatoes and bell peppers I stored up from a bumper crop this past summer.Red and yellow peppers add pretty color .
 I sliced up a large onion and, after browning the sausage with diced garlic cloves in olive oil ( in my cast iron pot), stirred it quickly into the sausage.A quick toss of the bell peppers into the pot,stir, then add just enough tomatoes to coat the sausages. Not too much.  Add oregano, fresh or frozen chopped basil leaves , a little salt and pepper and WHALLAH!!  Fill the jars and can away (10 lbs pressure for 90 min for quarts.)

The kitchen is now toasty warm despite frigid temps outside.
Sausages also make yummy soup with vegetables . I use my little red potatoes I dug up in the fall and keep in the cellar refrigerator.Don't bother to peel them.Just cut them up into bite size pieces.Add frozen mixed vegetables ,onion ,garlic,pepper and salt and another frozen bag of tomatoes (thawed in the microwave) and mix it all together in a big pot. Add a few TBS. of cornstarch mixed in a little water to thicken the broth.I also add beef boullion cubes,around 3 cubes per QT of water added.

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