Saturday, April 19, 2014

Survival Art

It's April. April is not, traditionally, a time for canning. Everyone knows that canning season is in the summer and in the fall - when the garden harvest comes in.

I used to adhere pretty strictly to that schedule. I think I've even mentioned canning season on occasion. Right now is not canning season, and this morning, when I got out of bed, and a couple of days ago, when I roasted that chicken, I never imagined that I would be canning, today, in April.

Life is funny like that, and there are certainly things I do now that I never even imagined would be part of my life back when I was in my twenties. I never imagined that I'd learn to harvest a chicken. Not me. I was a "city" girl (well, suburban, actually, but definitely *urban* and not *country*, and most certainly, I was not going to - ever - live on a farm).

We raise chickens, and mostly, they go in the freezer. Raising them ourselves is different than buying a chicken in the grocery store. There's something more personal about the whole process, and the idea of not using every bit of the bird ....

Let's just say that it's one part frugality and one part spiritual gratitude that makes each chicken stretch into as many meals as we can make it. To waste, even just a tiny portion of it, would be an egregious offense of the highest magnitude.

We had roast chicken for dinner the other night. Then, Deus Ex Machina took chicken to work for lunch two days. And there was still come chicken, still stuck to the bones, which were boiled for broth.

... which ended up being a bit more than I expected.

... and so, I am canning.

I picked the rest of the chicken off the bones (my dogs and our new male kitty were very, very happy for the tidbits they received during that process) and boiled them. The meat went into pint jars, and I added some carrots that really need to be used - sooner rather than later. They're keeping well in the refrigerator, where we moved them when the "cold storage" (*cough* my bedroom *cough*) got too warm as the outside temperatures started getting above freezing, but no fresh foods keep forever, even in the refrigerator.

A little salt and some seasonings, and it's soup, which I'm pressure canning right now, in fact. When it's ready, it will go on a shelf. Add some couscous, rice or pasta, and it will be a quick lunch for the girls or Deus Ex Machina.

It's not canning season. I never thought I'd be canning today, but I am, because sometimes, in this homesteading life, it's just the way we do things, and rolling with the punches is a survival art we homesteaders are good at.


  1. I love this. I am getting ready to click checkout on my amazon cart which has a pressure canner in it. I want to be able to can various stuff ... all year long. like ... baked beans. or meat. or whatever strikes my fancy. I dont believe there is a real canning season anymore ... at least not for me. It's all year long!

    1. Oh, I love having canned meats and beans! It's such a huge time saver on those nights when we just don't have any time to think about dinner, but eating out is not only very costly, it's gotten to the point that I'm just no longer trusting that the restaurant is going to have my same standards when it comes to avoiding certain "food stuffs". You know?

      Having options like beans, soup, or canned turkey is a huge time saver. You'll love your pressure canner. It's a little freaky to use when it starts hissing and jiggling, but after the first few times, you get used to it, and it just makes things so much easier.

      It just gives me peace of mind.