Making Tallow

DSCN5430 (2) I made another batch of beef bone broth. After I had finished simmering it for two days I strained it and put the broth in the fridge to cool.

The next morning I had a nice thick layer of fat. I removed it carefully with a ladle and set it aside. I pressure canned the broth in my canner…did I mention in my past posts how much I love this thing!  Anyway, back to the fat…

I washed the fat the same way I did the bacon grease to make lard. I put the beef fat in a sauce pan and added some spring water. I brought it to a light boil and let it simmer for a bit. Turned off the heat. Moved it to the fridge. A few hours later, I cut a hole in the solid mass and carefully drained out the water.

Added more clean water and simmered the fat again.

Fridge again.

Once the fat was cool I removed it from the water, heated in a clean saucepan so it liquified and I could pour it into a mason jar.

Wallah…Tallow!

Raw cream…is sooo good!

raw creamWe got another jar of raw cow’s milk from those amazing Guernsey’s and I was so excited to see it in the fridge the next day with a layer of cream on top.

I removed it using a turkey baster by siphoning the cream off the top and transferred it into a clean mason jar.

I want to make butter…the kids want to make ice cream..

Of course they do…

We don’t own an ice cream maker and since we are running out of real estate (no space in the kitchen), it isn’t likely we will be getting one.

So butter is what we made. The most golden butter I’ve ever seen.

Store bought butter is barely yellow. Make you wonder what the cow’s they use to make store bought butter actually eat?

 

 

Square Foot Gardening

I’ve dreamed about putting in a square foot garden all winter. I finally bucked up and did it with the help of the kids. We decided to do a 4 foot by 4 foot frame and see how it goes.

I purchased two 2x6x8 foot pine timbers.  Avoid anything pressure treated because it’s toxic for growing food.  Our local home center will cut lumber for free, so I had a helpful gentlemen there cut the 8 foot lengths into half, giving me 4 foot pieces. It’s just a ton safer than me using a circular saw..trust me!

I’ve read so many suggestions on building a raised bed but honestly many of them seemed far more complicated than it should be. The key here is……you’re building a box. That’s all.

My goal here was economical and buying brackets or extra lumber for 4×4 corner posts was beyond what I wanted to spend to build a basic box.

So we just screwed it together with some long dry wall screws. We marked, pre-drilled the holes with a smaller bit so we would not split the wood. It worked out well. I had the little guy doing this because it’s great math and teaches him basic tool use.

DSCN5457

I chose a spot in the yard that was not in the way but still in full southern exposure. Can’t anger the lawn mowing hubby who is unhappy if I put things that need to be mowed around. My solution to this was to just till up the entire yard and grow food! Probably not going to happen so we settled for a small square food garden to start.

Anyway once we had chosen a place we set the frame down and put weed barrier underneath it. (No tilling, no digging! Super easy)

DSCN5460 DSCN5461

Make sure when you calculate your soil needs, you find the square footage, which is 16 in this case, then divide that by the depth you want, (5 inches in our case so we needed 3 cu feet of soil). We purchased a 40 pound bag of compost, 40 pound bag of peat, and 4 bags of vegetable garden soil.

DSCN5462

It’s so easy to just pour them into the bed and mix them around with a rake.

DSCN5465

We ended up removing the grid because we made it from scraps and it really didn’t turn out as we planned. I opted instead for string and thumb tacks. We have rabbits and other nature that would love to get in here so we have used chicken wire to keep them out for now. I also hung old CD’s on string which keep birds from going in and digging up the seeds.

DSCN5478We decided to plant corn, green beans, tomatoes, cucumbers, kale, lettuce mix, pumpkins, strawberries, marigolds (for pest control), and stevia. I also have raspberries, blueberries in another bed. Garlic in pots and parsley and basil are mixed in the front flower beds.

There are many sites online that have planners to help you figure out what to grow and how many of plant of each thing you can put into each square. We will need to trellis or use tomato cages as plants get larger.

 Books and websites:

Raw Milk

DSCN5467I’ve heard about the wonders of raw milk for many years now but really haven’t had an opportunity to get my hands on some…until now!

This is our first bottle of raw milk from Guernsey cows that are grass-fed, free range and based on talking to the woman who raises them….probably fed better than my family.

I had grown up on store-bought milk and developed an intolerance to it. So did my children. Stomach aches, eczema, rashes, acne and digestive woes led us to stop buying and drinking milk entirely in 2006.

Since that time we’ve used nut milks and coconut milks. I’ve heard report after report from other people “allergic to store milk” that they had no symptoms drinking raw milk. I was always curious to find out if we would tolerate it.

We had tried goat’s milk several years ago but the kids did not like the taste and I could not get past the smell. I later learned that not all goat milk is gamey smelling. It depends on many factors but we just never got around to sourcing more of it to try it.

So we did abandon animal milk at that point.

When we got the raw milk I could not believe how much better it tastes, looks and doesn’t smell anything like store-bought milk.  My girl child has been dairy intolerant since infancy, unable to digest casein the doctors told us. She reports to me that normally if she drinks store milk she gets a stomach ache but the raw milk…it doesn’t happen!

Makes sense when you consider what is done to store-bought milk before you get it. It’s virtually a dead food. All the life has been boiled away in pasteurization. They actually have to add vitamin A and D to it!  I don’t think most people realize that “skim milk” was something the farmer used to throw away!

While raw milk might not be for everyone, it does make me wonder who decided that all milk should be pasturized into a dead food product? Sudenly the way milk had been used for hundreds of years was not good for us? Who profits from that decision?

There are many books and blogs on the subject of raw milk and it’s healing benefits. I’m off to make some mashed potatoes with this rich creamy milk followed by some home-made chocolate pudding!

My thanks to those hard-working Guernsey’s that made this for us!

Books and Websites:

Homemade Fries

DSCN5432 (2) DSCN5433 (2)

OH yes I did say fries! I have one of those kids who will only eat potatoes that are in the “fry form”. Not baked, scalloped, mashed, roasted…no way. Only fried. I am not crazy about the oils used to make fries, even the organic store-bought seem to have canola oil listed on the bags.

When I did some research on making your own fries at home, I learned that the “golden arches” used to actually fry their french fries in lard. Whuut!? I know, right and they were dern good back then.We haven’t partaken in years in their food with all the chemicals but I recall those golden fries when I was young, back when they were just potatoes, salt and lard.

They, like all chain restaurants have been pressured by someone to switch to vegetable oils which are of course genetically modified. As i mentioned in my last post about lard that these vegetable oils may actually have set us back with our health as a nation.

So anyway, that jar of lard (you can buy some here)  I made was sitting in my fridge staring at me. Almost saying…go on, fry something!  What if? Could I?

Oh you bet I did. I made home-made steak fries. I washed and cut up some organic potatoes.

Then I used a deep stock pot to heat the lard. I used a low heat setting because you don’t want to burn the fat or cause splattering. Splattering means burns…trust me. Been there, don’t that.

I sliced the potatoes into the length and thickness I wanted, making sure they were not to thick or they would never cook through.

When the lard began to bubble I put in some of the potatoes. After several minutes I flipped them over with tongs to cook all sides. Patience is the key here because if you get impatient and turn up the heat, you get burned fries! This doth not make happy little faces in my kitchen.

I used a slotted spoon to remove them when they were golden on all side.  Then I set them on a paper towel covered plate and sprinkle some sea salt!

These fries were eaten faster than I could get them to the plate! Enuff said!