Thursday, September 29, 2011

Rendering Lard

We picked up our hogs from Country Quality Meats today. I got Ingrid and Nestor (the owners) to grind the fat and set it aside for me so I could try rendering my own lard.
Kevin Kossowan (blog link right -->) has a couple of posts on his adventures of rendering lard, and it looked beautiful!
I have 5 bags, some bigger than others, and did one of the larger ones tonight. I melted it down on the stovetop and then poured it through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth.
I let it settle then poured it into a 9x13 pan, being careful not to pour the dark bits at the bottom into the pan.
It's currently cooling, hopefully it will be nice and white, though there is the chance I over heated it and it may be a bit brown... time will tell.

I am taking pictures along the way, though I am terrible at getting them posted.
(i still have chicken butchering pics to post as well as pics of all the preserves I made with my mom a couple wknds ago)

Friday, September 16, 2011

Farm Meats, Charcuterie, Cold Storage, Hunting

I placed an order for pig this wk, just in time for the fall rush to get GOOD QUALITY meat in the freezer.
We ordered from Country Quality Meats, a shop just by Bon Accord that my farmer, Nelson of Rose Ridge Land and Cattle, does all his beef through (the BEST all beef pepperoni! I slice it real thin and put it on top of pizza to crisp up. YUM!)
The service there is great and since I've already tasted their work through Nelson's products I know what I'm getting.

The bags and bags and BAGS of rescued apples that currently fill my freezer are being turned into applesauce this wknd. With the crabs being used for crabapple jelly and rose hip jelly (still need apple to set the jelly, naturally anyways)

Meaning, rm in my freezer! Unfortuately, it won't last long. I still have farm chickens that we butchered this summer in my mom's freezer and my sister is taking the cow to butcher this wknd, meaning Octoberish I'll need to make more rm. Plus, my 2/3 of a hog.

Eep! I need another freezer...

Anyways, I'm currently devouring "Charcuterie" by Ruhlman and Polcyn (got my order from Chapters in the mail today!). I really really REALLY want to make homemade kielbasa for a family holiday this yr!
Maybe if I really get my act together I can do some for Thanksgiving... But a more realistic goal would be Christmas.
Especially since my mother's coldrm should be reaching a good temp now... I want to try my hand at aged cheese. I have succeeded in doing fresh cheese, but to be able to serve my own cheddar with homemade sausage and preserves and home-dried local fruits... wouldn't that just be amazing?
Well, I think so!

And it's decided that we're going to rearrange our rental townhouse basement --
(yes, they really don't care what we do to the place as long as it's in one piece and adds to the "value" of the house. they've stopped putting money into them because in 10-15-20yrs they'll be torn down to make way for an LRT line)
-- so Zac's tools and workbench will be where my photography studio (portable studio) is and then we're going to put in a modest coldrm with an even more modest "curing closet" on the side.
I need just enough space to hold potatoes, jars of preserves, etc in the coldroom. And then a closet big enough to hang a rack of charcuterie and a shelf for cheeses. With room for a coldair humidifier, temp and humidty gauges, cuz i'm a big novice and super nervous about messing something up O_o *eep!*

I'm so excited for everything it's hard to keep it all in! :D

I renewed my WIN card today too. Online. It was sweet!
I've been nagging my man (that would be the elusive Zac) to get his firearms licesense and go out with the guys or my sister hunting, and he took the firearms course, and then didn't do his paperwork. That was 2 summers ago.
So, I made the decision that I would start hunting. I'm already willing to clean and butcher it all myself (even though the biggest thing I've ever cleaned and butchered is a chicken), why not hunt it myself too?
Alberta Hunter Education offers a course online (you'd have to take the test in person... somewhere. probably a library. that's where I'll have to take my FoodSafety Course final, when I'm finished the online modules that is), so I would probably do that and then phone up one of the 1/2dz firearms instructors in my hometown area and do that one day/wknd.

So, next fall. I'm hoping to be ready for next fall. *fingers crossed*

Thursday, September 15, 2011

when preserving...

this is a very important site...
check it!

CSA Salmon

I joined twitter a short while ago. I was holding out on joining, thinking, "I'm on facebook, that's good enough."
well, it wasn't.

being on twitter has got me far more involved in the local food scene and in touch with likeminded edmonton foodies :)

And that's where I found this link...

I will definitely be joining next yr!

It's just one more way to support our "local" economy. supporting our OceanWise fisheries!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Apple Picking and Backyard Gardening

Today Zac, Londyn and I went out to a BEAUTIFUL acreage to pick a whack of different apples :)
We went with Operation Fruit Rescue Edmonton, a wonderful non-profit organization that goes out and collects all the over following fruits from around Edmonton (with the owners permission of course) and then the bounty is shared among the owners, pickers, food bank and the organization. OFRE then makes goods to sell at the Alberta Ave Farmers Market to raise funds to pay for equipment and kitchen rentals (among other things).
Tomorrow, with the apples picked today and throughout the wk, cider will be made! :D

I took home some little red crab apples (i forget the name....) that apparently make THEE BEST! crabapple jelly. So, i will clean and cut and freeze until the weather cools off enough to can.
And I have a collection of larger apples (some from Vala and some from today that need cleaning still) and other fruits in the freezer waiting to be made into an assortment of delicious apple sauces for my little Londyn to enjoy.
She is an Applesauce Monster! :)

This afternoon I finally gave up on my little backyard garden. I picked my green tomatoes, dug up my dz tiny little potatoes (mostly purple), and fluffed up the dirt and DUMPED my entire compost bin on it! and then layered in the now done potato tops and tomato plants.
There was actually quite a good layer of wonderful black humus at the bottom that I'm sure will add lots of good stuff to my soil for next spring :)

The leaves of the trees in our yard will eventually end up on the plot as well, and then i'll cover it all with a tarp while there's still some sunshine to help cook it.

OH! but the most excited thing about my compost (besides all the slugs on the underside of the bin :P) is there was some avocado seeds that had split open and sprouted!
I saved one. I want to see how big I can get it :)

I did take a pic, but it hasn't even made it off the camera yet.

Until next time!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Rosehip Jelly

Here's a link to make Rose Hip Jelly.
Now, my parents acreage always has lots of rose hips so this will be something excellent to try :)

Seeds for Next Spring!

Kevin Kossowan directed me to this marvelous place that operates out of Salt Spring Islands in BC.
A seed catalogue that has SO much to offer I couldn't possibly list them all here.

You gotta check'em out!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Day at the Acreage

Today, being the day after Londyn's FIRST BIRTHDAY!, we went out to Grannie and Papa's at the last minute to do some gardening and food-stuffs.

We picked blueberries at Kathy's farm (my mom's friend. my mom being Grannie :) ). My sister Kristy and her son and our Aunt and Baba and Gido (Grandma and Grandpa for non-ukrainian types) came too for the last haul of the season.
Kristy brought up a couple BIG bags of corn from her trip to southern alberta earlier this wknd and Grannie and I made MY FAVORITE! corn relish and then frozen the rest of the blanched kernals.
From the apples Zac's grandma gave us and the sweet yellow plums from our friend Vala we made apple-plum sauce. Canned that for my little Londyn. She LOVES! applesauce :D

Now we're going through the process of doing a pig order for the fall through Country Quality Meats (Bon Accord). My good friend Nelson of Rose Ridge Land and Cattle gets his beef done there as well as all the smokies and jerky and sausages (and now weiners too! very good on the bbq :) ). He gave them a glowing revue and the pork that goes into his mixed meat sausages comes from the farmer's they deal with. All his products are BEYOND! excellent, so there's no reason to doubt the quality of the meats :)

I'm taking him a jar of my FAVORITE! corn relish for his sound advice :)

Friday, September 2, 2011


one more thing on a list of things i need to start doing...

also known as Creme-de-Cassis

U-Pick farms beware! I'm on the hunt for fruits and berries of all sorts :)

oh, and a gouda recipe i need to save. once it starts to cool off a bit, my mom's home wil become a cheese lab :)