Grace Viall Gray.

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or packed in dry salt.

The pieces most commonly used for curing are the ham, shoulder and
bacon pieces from pork. From beef we use the cheaper, tougher cuts
such as the plate, shoulder and chuck ribs. Mutton is seldom cured and
preserved.

The ham should be cut off at the hock joint, the spare ribs taken out
of the bacon, and the ragged edges trimmed off smooth. If ragged edges
or scraggy ends are left these portions will become too dry in the
curing and will practically be wasted.

After all the animal heat is removed from the meat and it is properly
cut it is then ready for the curing. If salt is put on the meat before
the animal heat is all removed, it will have a tendency to shrink the
muscles and form a coating on the outside which will not allow the
generating gases to escape. Meat should never be in a frozen condition
when the salt is added as the frost will prevent the proper
penetration of the brine and uneven curing will be the result.


METHODS OF CURING MEAT

The two most common methods of curing meat are first the brine or
sugar cure process and second the dry-curing process. For general farm
use the brine cured process is the better. It requires less time, less
effort and not such an exacting place for the work. On most farms it
is impossible to secure a desirable place in which to do the
dry-curing as the meat is exposed to rats, cats, flies and other
insects. The dry-curing requires considerable time to rub and salt the
meat at different times while the only attention that is necessary for
brine-curing is to properly prepare and pack the meat in the vessel
and prepare the brine for it.


UTENSILS FOR CURING

If possible use a round container for the curing. It is easier to put
the meat in tightly, and the space can be used to better advantage. A
hardwood barrel of some kind is excellent. Sirup, molasses or lard
barrels which have been thoroughly cleaned are very satisfactory. If
you use a vinegar or an oil barrel it should be well burned on the
inside before using. Stone crocks or jars are sometimes used but they
are expensive and cumbersome to handle besides the constant danger of
loss of brine from breakage.


PRESERVATIVES

For curing the meat the farmer usually uses salt, salt peter, white or
brown sugar or molasses. These are the necessary preservatives. The
others such as boracic acid, borax and soda are often used for
sweetening the brine and to keep it from spoiling but are not
absolutely essential. The salt extracts moisture and acts as a
preservative. The sugar or molasses imparts a nice flavor and has a
tendency to keep the muscle tissue soft in contrast to the salt, which
has a tendency to make it hard and dry. So the salt and sugar have two
distinct functions to perform, the one to harden and preserve, the
other to soften and sweeten. If you have a favorite recipe that has
proved satisfactory and you want to use sorghum or molasses instead of
sugar add one pound more of the molasses. If you have been accustomed
to using 2 pounds of sugar then use 3 pounds of the other sweetening.

Salt peter is not absolutely necessary as far as the preserving is
concerned but it helps to hold the red color of the lean meat. If salt
peter is not used the lean meat will be gray in color. It may possibly
be a little tenderer if the salt peter is not used as the salt peter
tends to harden the meat. Chili salt peter can be substituted in place
of salt peter, if only four-fifths as much is used.


THE SUGAR BRINE CURE

All formulas for the sugar brine cure are practically the same varying
only a little in the proportions of sugar, salt and salt peter. If you
have a formula that you have tried for years and have found it to be
satisfactory there is no reason you should attempt a new one. But for
those who want to try a different formula or recipe I will give you
this reliable one that is widely used and indorsed by several
agricultural colleges.

The container should be scalded thoroughly. Sprinkle a layer of salt
over the bottom and over each layer of meat as it is packed in, skin
down. When full, cover meat with boards and weight down with a stone
so that all will be below the brine, which is made as follows:

Weigh out for each 100 pounds of meat, 8 pounds of salt, 2 pounds of
sugar (preferably brown) or 3 pounds of molasses, and 2 ounces of salt
peter. Dissolve all in 4 gallons of water. This should be boiled, and
when thoroughly cooled, cover the meat. Seven days after brine is put
on, meat should be repacked in another barrel in reverse order. The
pieces that were on top should be placed on the bottom. The brine is
poured over as before. This is repeated on the fourteenth and
twenty-first days, thus giving an even cure to all pieces. Bacon
should remain in the brine from four to six weeks, and hams six to
eight weeks, depending on the size of the pieces. When cured, each
piece should be scrubbed with tepid water and hung to drain several
days before smoking; no two pieces should come in contact. For all
curing always use dairy salt and _not table_ salt, as the latter
contains starch to keep it dry and this starch may cause the meat to
spoil. If you carefully follow these directions you will have
delicious sugar-cured hams and bacon.


CORNED BEEF

It is desirable to have an ample supply of corned beef on hand. For
this any part of the beef may be used but the parts usually selected
are the plate, rump, cross-ribs and brisket, which are the tougher
cuts of the meat. The brisket and plate are especially good because of
the character of the fat, which is somewhat like a tissue. Cut all
around the meat to about the same thickness, so that it will make an
even layer in the barrel. It is best to remove the bone, although this
is not necessary. Be sure to start the pickling or curing while the
meat is perfectly fresh, but well chilled. Do not wait like some
farmers do until they think the meat is beginning to spoil and then
salt it down just to save it. Allow ten pounds of dairy salt to each
100 pounds of meat. Sprinkle a layer of the salt in the bottom of the
crock, barrel, or whatever container is used. Have the salt about
one-fourth of an inch in depth. After the layer is in the bottom of
the container put the cuts of meat in as closely as possible, making
the layer five or six inches in thickness, then put on another layer
of salt, following that with another layer of meat. Repeat until the
meat and salt have all been packed in the barrel, care being taken to
reserve salt enough for a good layer on the top. Cover the meat with a
board and weight down with a stone and _not_ an _iron_ weight. Do not
allow any meat to project from the salt or mold will start and the
brine will spoil in a short time. Let the meat stand over-night.

Prepare a brine by boiling 7 pounds salt, 3 pounds brown sugar or 6
pounds molasses, 2 ounces baking soda, 2 ounces salt peter and 4
gallons water for every 100 pounds of meat. This quantity of brine
should be sufficient to cover that amount.

Remove any scum that rises to the surface and filter the hot brine
through muslin. Set the brine aside, best over-night, to become
perfectly cold before using. In the morning tip the container in which
the meat is packed so that all liquor which has separated from the
meat over night may drain off. Cover the meat with the cold brine. Put
the container in a cool place. The curing will be more satisfactory if
the meat is left at a temperature of about 38 degrees F. Never let the
temperature go above 50 degrees F. and there is some risk with even a
temperature of 40 degrees F. if it is continuous. The sugar or
molasses in the brine has a tendency to ferment in a warm place.

After about five days the meat should be overhauled and repacked,
putting the pieces which were previously on the bottom on top. Pour
back the same brine, and five days later repeat the overhauling. This
may seem like some trouble and possibly look like a useless waste of
time but it is well worth while as it insures a more rapid and uniform
curing of the meat.

When unpacking the meat watch the brine to see that it is not ropy or
moldy. If you find either condition existing remove the meat and rinse
each piece with cold water and after scalding the container pack the
meat as at first with a little salt. Scald and skim the brine and
after it is cold pour it on the meat as before. You can use corned
beef if necessary after a week in the cure, but it is not thoroughly
cured until it has been from 20 to 30 days in the brine. If kept for
sixty days it will be salty enough to need freshening before cooking.

If the meat has been corned during the winter, and is to be kept until
summer, watch the brine closely during the spring as it is more likely
to spoil then than at any other time.


PLAIN SALT PORK

Rub each piece of meat with dairy salt, and pack closely in a
container. Let stand over-night. The next day weigh out ten pounds of
salt and two ounces of salt peter for each 100 pounds of meat, and
dissolve in four gallons of boiling water. Pour this brine, when cold,
over the meat, cover, and weight the meat down to keep it under the
brine. The pork should be kept in the brine until used.


SMOKING CURED MEATS

Of course many farmers never attempt to smoke their cured meats but
use them directly from the brine but if possible it is more
satisfactory to smoke them before using for several reasons. First,
the process of smoking helps to preserve the meat. The creosote formed
by the combustion of the wood closes the pores of the meat to a great
extent thus excluding the air and helping it to keep and at the same
time makes the meat objectionable to insects. In the second place,
pickled or cured meats taste better and are more palatable if smoked.
Of course the smoking must be properly done and the right kind of fuel
must be used.

The Smokehouse and the Smoke. It is not necessary to have a regular
smokehouse - although it is a delightful addition to any farm. Here
again a community meat ring is of great advantage. One smokehouse will
answer for many families. This is the ideal arrangement and it can
easily be managed if you are progressive and anxious enough to supply
your family with delicious meat the year around saving time and money.

If, however, you have to do your own smoking and smoke only a small
quantity at a time a barrel or box will answer. Overheating of the
meat must be guarded against.

Green hickory or any of the hardwoods or maple should be used for the
smoking. Pine or any other resinous woods should not be used as they
give a disagreeable flavor to the meat. If it is impossible to get
hardwood use corncobs rather than soft wood. The corncobs will leave a
dirty deposit on the meat, which is carbon. It is not objectionable
only from the standpoint of "looks." The meat which you are going to
smoke should be removed from the brine the day before the smoking. A
half hour soaking in cold water prevents a crust of salt from forming
on the outside. Do not hang the meat so that any two pieces touch as
this would prevent uniform smoking.

Always start with a slow fire so as to warm the meat up gradually.
Thirty-six to forty-eight hours of heat as near 120 degrees F. as
possible will be sufficient under most circumstances.

How to Store Smoked Meats. A dry, cool cellar or attic where there
is good circulation is a good place for storage. If the meat is to be
used soon the meat can hang without coverings but for long keeping you
will have to wrap it when cold in waxed paper and then in burlap,
muslin or canvas bags and then hang it, after it is tied very tightly
to prevent insects from getting in, in a room with a cool uniform
temperature.

Some farmers get satisfactory results by wrapping the meats in strong
bags and then burying them in oat bins.


SAUSAGE

Frequently when animals are butchered on the farm there are often
wholesome portions of the carcass that are not used. All trimmings,
cheeks, liver, tongue, breast and other pieces can be made into
bologna, headcheese or some other form of sausage. Sausage making is
an art worth acquiring. There is always a good demand for fresh and
smoked country sausage, so if you wish to sell some you will have no
trouble in finding a market for your product if it is a good one.

To make sausage you should have a meat grinder, which is an absolute
essential on every farm. If you do not have one already then buy a No.
22 or No. 32.

In addition to the grinder you will need a stuffer attachment which
costs very little. A knife, cord, string, a clean tube and casings or
muslin bags will complete your equipment. The muslin bags can be of
any size but the easiest to handle are 12 inches long and 2 inches in
diameter. If the sausage is stuffed into these bags they must be
paraffined for home use. If you do not want to bother with casings or
bags put the sausage in stone crocks or tin pans with a layer of lard
or paraffin on top.

The best sausage is made by using 3 parts of lean meat to one of fat.
When using the grinder, distribute the lean and fat meat as uniformly
as possible.

You are not necessarily limited to pork sausage, for there are many
other delicious varieties you can make. They vary in the different
kinds of meat used and in the different seasonings and spices.

Breakfast sausage has bread added to it; frankfurters are smoked pork
sausage in casings; liver sausage has pork and beef or veal and bread
in it; and blood sausage, as its name suggests, has blood (preferably
from a hog) added to it. Then there is tomato sausage which is made of
pulp from fresh tomatoes, pork sausage and crackers. Summer sausage is
made in the winter and kept for use during the summer. After being
dried and cured it will keep for months. Brain sausage is delicious.
To make it calves' brains are mixed with lean pork. Cambridge sausage
has rice added to it.

Headcheese is usually made from the hog's head but odds and ends also
can be used not only from pork but from beef and veal.

Scrapple usually means the head and feet of hogs but it can be made
from any hog meat. It is a good food as it uses cornmeal. It makes a
change from fried mush and most men working on a farm relish it.

Sausage can be made from mutton mixed with pork in much the same way
as beef is used for similar purposes. A general formula would be 2
parts of mutton to 3 parts pork with seasonings.

With a plentiful supply of good home-cured and home-smoked meats,
together with several varieties of sausages, you can feel you are well
equipped to feed your family with its share of meat. Everything will
have been utilized, nothing will have been wasted. You produced your
own meat, you slaughtered and cured and smoked it and put all
trimmings and other "left-overs" into appetizing food for your family
and you have saved money. You have utilized things at hand and
required no transportation facilities. And best of all, you have the
very finest in the land for your family and that gives one a perfectly
justifiable pride in the work accomplished.




CHAPTER XVII

PRESERVED OR "CANNED" EGGS


As one-half of the yearly egg crop is produced in March, April, May
and June consumers would do well to store enough at that time to use
when production is light. Fifty dozen eggs should be stored for a
family of five to use during the months of October, November, December
and January, at which time the market price of eggs is at the highest.

When canning them _the eggs must be fresh_, preferably not more than
two or three days old. This is the reason why it is much more
satisfactory to put away eggs produced in one's own chicken yard or
one's neighbor's.

Infertile eggs are best if they can be obtained - so, after the
hatching exclude the roosters from the flock and kill them for table
use as needed.

_The shells must be clean._ Washing an egg with a soiled shell lessens
its keeping quality. The protective gelatinous covering over the shell
is removed by water and when this is gone the egg spoils more rapidly.
Use the soiled eggs for immediate use and the clean ones for storage.

_The shells also must be free from even the tiniest crack._ One
cracked egg will spoil a large number of sound eggs when packed in
water glass.

Earthenware crocks are good containers. _The crocks must be clean and
sound._ Scald them and let them cool completely before use. A crock
holding six gallons will accommodate eighteen dozen eggs and about
twenty-two pints of solution. Too large crocks are not desirable,
since they increase the liability of breaking some of the eggs, and
spoiling the entire batch.

It must be remembered that the eggs on the bottom crack first and that
those in the bottom of the crock are the last to be removed for use.
Eggs can be put up in smaller crocks and the eggs put in the crock
first should be used first in the household.


METHOD OF STORING

There are many satisfactory methods of storing eggs. The commercial
method is that of cold storage and if it were not for this method
winter eggs would be beyond the average purse.

The fact that eggs have been held in cold storage does not necessarily
mean that they are of low quality. Carefully handled cold-storage eggs
often are of better quality than fresh local eggs that have been
improperly cared for.

In the home they may be packed by several methods: Salt, oats or bran;
covering them with vaseline, butter, lard, paraffin or prepared
ointments; immersion in brine, salicylic acid, water glass (sodium
silicate) or limewater.

Any of these methods will keep the eggs for short periods if stored in
a cool place. The salt, oats and bran are very satisfactory. The
ointments also are satisfactory. The water glass and limewater will
keep eggs without loss for a year. However, it is not wise to put down
more eggs than is necessary to tide over the period of high price.


WATER GLASS METHOD

"Water glass" is known to the chemist as sodium silicate. It can be
purchased by the quart from druggists or poultry supply men. It is a
pale yellow, odorless, sirupy liquid. It is diluted in the proportion
of one part of silicate to nine parts of distilled water, rain water,
or other water. _In any case, the water should be boiled and then
allowed to cool._ Half fill the vessel with this solution and place
the eggs in it, being careful not to crack them. The eggs can be added
a few at a time until the container is filled. Be sure to keep about
two inches of water glass above the eggs. Cover the crock to prevent
evaporation and place it in the coolest place available from which the
crock will not have to be moved. Wax paper covered over and tied
around the top of the crock can be used. Inspect the crock from time
to time and replace any water that has evaporated with cool boiled
water.


LIMEWATER METHOD

Limewater is also satisfactory for preserving eggs and is slightly
less expensive than water glass. A solution is made by placing two or
three pounds of unslaked lime in five gallons of water, which has been
boiled and allowed to cool, and allowing the mixture to stand until
the lime settles and the liquid is clear. The eggs should be placed in
a clean earthenware jar or other suitable vessel and covered to a
depth of two inches with the liquid. Remove the eggs as desired, rinse
in clean, cold water and use immediately.

If using the limewater method add a little of the lime sediment to
insure a constantly saturated solution. If a thin white crust appears
on the limewater solution it is due to the formation of calcium
carbonate coming in contact with the air and consequently does no
harm.


CANDLING EGGS AT HOME

If you purchase the eggs that are to be stored it is safer to candle
them. Examining eggs to determine their quality is called "candling."
Every one knows that some eggs are better than others, but the ease
with which the good ones can be picked out is not generally
understood. The better the quality of eggs, the surer the housewife
can be that they will keep satisfactorily.


HOMEMADE CANDLER

The equipment for candling usually consists of either a wooden, a
metal, or a cardboard box and a kerosene lamp or an electric light. A
very inexpensive egg candler for home use can be made from a large
shoe-box or similar cardboard box. Remove the ends of the box, and cut
a hole about the size of a half-dollar in one side. Slip the box over
the lamp or electric bulb, darken the room, hold the egg, with the
large end up, before the opening in the box and its quality can easily
be judged.


SIGNS OF A GOOD EGG

When held before the opening of the candle, good eggs will look clear
and firm. The air cell (the white spot at the large end of the eggs)
should be small, not larger than a dime, and the yolk may be dimly
seen in the center of the egg. A large air cell and a dark, freely
moving yolk indicate that the egg is stale.

If the shell contents appear black or very dark, the egg is
absolutely unfit for food. If you are in doubt about the quality of
any eggs you are candling break a few of them into a dish and examine
them. This is an excellent way to learn to know how good and bad eggs
look when they are being candled.

Discard all eggs that have shrunken, loose contents, a watery
appearance, cracked and thin shells. Eggs of this description will not
keep and are apt to spoil the eggs close around them. Any egg that
floats in the solution should be discarded.

When packing eggs whether in salt, oats, or in solution place them
with small end down. When packing them in salt, oats, etc., do not
allow any two eggs to touch.


PACKING THE EGGS

One gallon of water glass as purchased will make enough preservative
to preserve from 75 to 100 dozen eggs.

Three gallons of either water glass solution or limewater solution
will preserve from 200 to 240 dozen eggs according to the size of the
eggs and the shape of the container.

The cost of preserving eggs by the water glass method is about one
cent per dozen eggs, not considering the cost of the container. The
lime water method is still cheaper.

The following gives the sizes of jars with approximate capacity for
eggs and the amount of water glass solution required to cover the
eggs:

1 gallon jar - 40 eggs, 3½ pints of solution or 1¾ qt.

2 gallon jar - 80 eggs, 8 pints of solution or 2 quarts.

3 gallon jar - 120 eggs, 11 pints of solution or 5½ quarts.

4 gallon jar - 160 eggs, 14½ pints of solution or 7¼ quarts.

5 gallon jar - 200 eggs, 18 pints of solution or 9 quarts.

6 gallon jar - 216 eggs, 22 pints of solution or 11 quarts.

10 gallon jar - 400 eggs, 36 pints of solution or 18 quarts.


HOW TO USE PRESERVED EGGS

When the eggs are to be used, remove them as desired, rinse in clean,
cold water, and use immediately.

Eggs preserved in water glass can be used for soft boiling or poaching
up to November. Before boiling such eggs prick a tiny hole in the
large end of the shell with a needle to keep them from cracking, as
the preservative seals the pores of the shell and prevents the escape
of gases, which is possible in the strictly fresh egg.

They are satisfactory for frying until about December. From that time
until the end of the usual storage period - that is until March - they
can be used for omelettes, scrambled eggs, custards, cakes and general
cookery. As the eggs age, the white becomes thinner and is harder to
beat. The yolk membrane becomes more delicate and it is
correspondingly difficult to separate the whites from the yolks.
Sometimes the white of the egg is tinged pink after very long keeping
in water glass. This is due, probably, to a little iron which is in
the sodium silicate, but which apparently does not injure the eggs for
food purposes.




CHAPTER XVIII

HOME STORAGE OF VEGETABLES


Towards the end of the canning season most housewives have used every
available glass jar and tin can and hesitate about purchasing a new
supply. They have dried and brined many products and yet they feel,
and rightly so, that they would like still more vegetables for winter
use. There still remains another method that they may employ to
provide themselves with a plentiful supply of vegetables and these
vegetables can be in the fresh state too. Neither canned, dried,
pickled or salted but fresh.

Canning, drying, pickling and salting are essential and necessary but
they can not take the place of storage. To keep vegetables in their
natural state is the easiest and simplest form of food preservation.
Of course, you must take proper precautions against freezing and


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Online LibraryGrace Viall GrayEvery Step in Canning → online text (page 14 of 17)