Friday, October 08, 2010

Tomatoes and Chicken

October finally cooled things off around here, which means it is time to clean out the gardens. I went out to the vegetable garden and found about 15 pounds of red tomatoes waiting to get off the vine. Only about 10 pounds were good for the kitchen, the rest went to the pigs.

I also found about 5 pounds of green tomatoes that needed to have something done to them. So I hauled everything up to the house and put the red tomatoes in the steam juicer. They would make some nice juice and I had an idea about using them with some beef or pork when we process them later this year.
The green tomatoes were kind of small for just about anything, but I decided they would fit nice in some pint jars for some fried or baked green tomatoes over the winter. That sounds so good!
So I sliced them up. 

By the way I love my Borner V mandoline slicer that I got in Germany almost 20 years ago. It gets regular use and is still very sharp. Though with all this slicing I have been doing this summer, the plastic parts are starting to show their age.

This is the bowl about half full. I ended up filling the bowl before I was done. There were three pinkish tomatoes in the pile, I used one because there was room in the boiling water bath pot, but the other two made it some chicken wraps this week. Fresh tomatoes are so good on a sandwich.

So I was getting my jars ready and had everything sliced up when I realized I didn't heat the water to put in with the green tomatoes.

Then a light bulb turned on in my head.

I had hot tomatoes juice steaming away in a pot right there on the stove!

Just because the recipe called for hot water doesn't mean the hot juice wouldn't work just as well.!

So that is what I did, put the jars under the drain tube and filled them up with beautiful clear hot juice.

Then I put them all in the stock pot and let them get to boiling.

And in the end I got 7 pints of green tomatoes and 7 pints of tomato juice.

It all worked out great and everything sealed so we haven't tried any of them yet.

The next project that I worked on this week was to can some chicken meat and broth. We have never tried it before, but this steam juicer makes things so easy I keep trying new things.

We went out to Sam's to do some shopping and I found some very nice platters of thighs and legs, not quarters like in the borrowed picture. I should try harder to find these things on sale, but I am experimenting and don't have patience to wait for sales.
Picture borrowed through Google images from
Monday I ran the thighs through the juicer and then Tuesday I did the legs. 

When the steam juicer was done I put the broth into a bowl and put it in the refrigerator so that the fat would separate. This bowl is chilled chicken broth and fat from the legs. The fat was a thin layer that rolled up making it easy to remove. The thigh fat was a different story, that layer was about a half inch thick. I am so glad I chilled it first!
After putting the broth in the fridge to cool I started working on the meat. The skin and meat literally fell off of the bones. It was very easy to sort the three parts! The skin went to the outside dogs, the meat went into a container to be refrigerated until I was read to process it all, and the bones in the trash.

Then on Wednesday I processed everything.

The broth went into a pot to heat up and boil. There was a little bit of fat in it yet, but nothing like what I had removed!
I put the meat in a couple of casserole dishes in the oven to roast a little bit and get heated up before putting everything into jars.
Then everything went into the pressure canner, separately of course, and came out looking terrific. I got 8 pints of chicken with broth and 6 pints of regular broth. 
After this success I am pretty sure there will be some beef going into jars too this year. Especially some of the meat that is hard to get off of the bones. Just put them in the steam juicer and wait.
My goal is to have plenty of quick and easy meals to fill the gaps on busy days. I think I am on a pretty good track for having that done.


  1. That is a WHOLE LOTTA Canning for 2 people! :-) Looks like fun. Maybe I'll have a garden someday...once the little guy is old enough to help instead of hinder.

  2. Ah, but avoiding the grocery store for these products will be SO NICE! :)

  3. The steam juicer sounds really interesting. We have something like that which does pasteurization but I don't know that it's really the same thing. Clearly going to have to read more about your juicer and see what's going on with that. Seems like it sure makes life easier for canning! Cause no one likes botulism either :)