Sunday, April 7, 2019

Spring has sprung

  It's always in the very beginning of spring, April, that pineapple comes on sale. It hasn't hit the rock bottom price yet, but I did get it for $1.29 each.  That's not a bad price at all.  I have [so far] dehydrated 15 pineapples and made pineapple teriyaki sauce to can with 2 more.  If/When the price comes down,  I'll be canning it too. I still have a couple of jars from last year in the pantry, but that's it.  

  Today (Sunday) I thought I would get some pork steaks out of the freezer and make them for supper. I hit a couple of really good meat sales this week and bought a  butt load of stuff. There's a market not far from here that holds a giant sale every year. Sometimes I go, sometimes I don't. The prices are frankly not that much better than the sales I generally hit, but the quality of their meat is consistently good and local, and I like that.  This week between 2 markets I got arm roasts, pork loins, corned beef and bacon. I spent Friday canning the pork and beef and corned beef. About 26 quarts all in all canned.  I cut up most of one of the pork loins into boneless thick chops and 1 small roast, and they went in the freezer. Today I wiped down all the jars and put them in the pantry and realized I still had 2 pineapples sitting there on the island that needed to be used. So I thought I would make a pineapple teriyaki sauce for the pork today and make a big batch and can it. So I did.  I set aside a pint (more or less) to use for supper and beyond. The remaining stuff was 10 half pints (jelly jars). I water bath canned that stuff.  I wanted to get in here and write the recipe down before I forget.

    Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce/Marinade  (Approximately 6 pints)

     2 very ripe pineapples (you could use cans of canned crushed pineapple) 
     2-3 cups brown sugar
     1 cup of low sodium soy sauce
     1/2 cup rice vinegar (or apple cider)
     1 tbsp ground ginger
     1/2 tbsp  each  onion powder and garlic powder
     1/2 tbsp  black pepper

 Cut the ends off the pineapple and pare the outer peel off. Be sure to get all the eyes. Then cut the pineapple into fourths and cut out the core. (NOTE**  I am the proud owner of a VitaMix blender.  That baby will puree plywood.  I used the cores after I cut them out because I hate to waste anything. After pureeing the pineapple and pouring it into my stainless steel dutch oven, I pureed the cores by themselves to see how they would be. It was great, so I pureed them all and poured it into the pan. I don't know if a regular blender can do this, but it would be worth trying.  Maybe. )   I then mixed all the ingredients in the pan and stirred well and brought to a simmer over low heat. At this point taste it. If it needs more sugar, add it. If it needs more soy sauce, add it.  You know I'm not good at measuring things when I cook so...don't trust me !!  lol  This makes the 6 pints.  I water bath canned it for 15 minutes. Everything has sealed, so it should be okay.  I figured between the rice vinegar and the pineapple, there's plenty of acidity, making it ok to water bath. Pressure can it, if you want to.  I considered it, because I have a new Carey Canner (electric and wonderful. lol).  I looked in several places online for instructions, and it seems to be the general consensus that water bath canning is good. There you have it. (If you're just a normal person and you don't want to can this sauce, you could  divide everything into 4ths and make a one or two use batch. I think.)

  If you aren't impressed yet, here are the meats I canned:

  For the amount of money I spent, I have roughly 40 meals at a cost of about 3.50 per entree.

  Sometimes it seems like I spend a lot of money on our meals, but honestly, I am very thrifty.  I was down to one jar of corned beef, 3 jars of pork loin and a few jars of chicken from the past 2 years. And I think there may have been one jar of roast beef left.  These canned meats taste great, they are convenient and good for quick meals and a variety of dishes. Almost all of the meals I make have enough leftovers for himself to take in his lunch at least one day and sometimes more. And sometimes for a second meal, in the matter of soups and such. So... in the long run, it makes sense.

  My friend Jen came over and we cleared up some of the mess in the gardens. She moved to a place (apt) where she can't have a garden or chickens, so we're going to share crop this year and see how that works. We took measurements on the chicken coop to decide about repairs and I will be buying chicks this week.  I went one whole season with no garden and no chickens. Enough is enough. lol  My life has no meaning when I can't produce some of my own food.  (While it was a bit of a relief for a minute to not have to tromp out in the frigid snow every morning to tend chickens, I missed it. I missed the giant eggs [compared to grocery store, my regular eggs make their jumbo eggs look like small ones]  they taste better and they might cost less.  And it's a spiritual event, caring for animals. So... this year I will be back at it.  

  That's about it from the Dragon Woman's kitchen for today. I am really going to make more of an effort to post here and try to get myself back on track. I have been writing this blog for quite a few years now, neglecting it  lately, but hopefully that will change. 

  Here's to a year where we all try to be better than we were last year. One thing at a time.

  Bon Apetit !


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