Sunday, December 7, 2014

Stretching Thanksgiving Leftovers

So...I've been away from here, partly because I couldn't remember how to get in with the right account :) I hope to be MUCH more active now, with more photo blogs of how to do things, especially with food, that gear toward self-sufficiency and just making good stuff!

Every year, we have turkey for Thanksgiving. Sometimes it's a bird I raised, sometimes it's from another person's farm, and occasionally, it's Butterball. This year, the first major holiday since my father passed away, we went the store route. My "real" job kindly provided gift certificates toward turkey purchases, so it was pretty good.

Since it was only five of us at the table, a 18lb bird was a little bit of overkill, but I did request leftovers! We had leftovers! Here is where "stretching" the turkey comes into play, and today's photo blog. I'll go through how I make turkey stock and turkey stock with meat for future use, but pressure canning!

I love to can, and there isn't a whole lot you can't can. Always can safely. Botulism is not cool. Today's pressure canners are safe, and aren't scary. They even have electric ones you plug in and go! I have a fantastic pressure canner, a Christmas gift last year from my husband, since I was borrowing a friend's canner for a while. get to it...

Behold the leftover turkey. It's a mess :)

Make sure to check out the underside of the turkey - there is often more meat there too!

Now the work part. Separate the skin and fat, the meat, and the bones/gristle, other stuff. I have an extra bowl with the crispy skin, which I ate. Top is the carcass with bones and gristle, with some onions and garlic. Bottom is all picked meat. Right is the fat and skin - I simmered that down and rendered the fat out for cooking, and chopped and froze the skin crispy bits for cracklin's.

This is where we make stock. I have onions and garlic, some celery seed, a bit of olive oil and some fresh ground pepper. I didn't have carrots or celery, but those also go well in the stock. We want to use the bones and gristle for the stock.

Place the pan of the goods in the oven at 400 degrees. Roast it until it's all nice and browned. Depending on how many bones and such you have, it may take a while. Mine took about 45 minutes. Warning!! Your house will smell AWESOME!!

Once everything is roasted well and smells great, move it from the roaster to your stock pot or stock pots. I had a lot of turkey bones here, so I made two stockpots up. It doesn't have to be perfect, we will combine them later.
 Fill the pots with water and set to a simmer. Let it simmer away for hours. If you run out of time, you can also put it in a crockpot and let it go on low for a day. The goals is to slowly get all that yummy good from the bones and stuff into the water, making a nice stock.

Note - boiling the bones will cause extra calcium to leach out as well, sometimes making a gritty sediment. It's not harmful, but it's not pretty.

 Now, after a couple days of stock pots and crockpots, and being too busy, I got back to my stock. I first drain it in a large colander:
 And then strain it through good mesh sieve (see how yummy brown the stock is!? Ignore the blob of skin on the bottom corner of the sink there. I'm a hot mess when it comes to pouring things, so I just do it all in the sink).
 And finally, fill your clean canning jars using an extra fine sieve.
 But wait! Remember that turkey meat? If your family didn't snag it all for sandwiches, loosely pack some in the jars, and fill with stock!
 Place your canning jars in your pressure canner. Pressure canner ONLY - not a water bath! Alternatively, you can freeze your stock. Fill the canner about  3" deep with hot water.
 I add a few tablespoons of white vinegar to the canner water, it helps with water scales/spots.
 Turn up the heat! FOLLOW YOUR CANNER DIRECTIONS! For mine, once the vent button pops, set a timer for 15 minutes. It will shoot steam out the top for this time, you are building up the correct steam density in the canner. After 15 minutes, place the weight on, and once it starts rocking, set your timer. Since I am canning quarts, with meat, I processed for 1 hour 30 minutes. I turn the stove from High to 7, to keep the gentle rocking of the weight.
 After the time is up, remove the pot from the heat, and let it be! It will take a bit to depressurize. Once the button goes down, you can remove the weight. I like to let it sit overnight, unless I'm doing many batches. In that case, just be careful of hot water. Once it's depressurized, you're done!
 Shelf stable turkey stock and turkey meat and stock, all ready for soup or turkey chili this winter.
This process can be used on beef bones, ham bones, chicken bones, venison bones, etc. If you noticed, I did NOT use salt. Meat has it's own salt, and extra isn't needed. Also, some pressure canners cannot be used on glass top stoves (which I have). If you have a glasstop, ensure your canner has a good, solid bottom, and you use a burner that covers the whole bottom piece. Ensure you are careful moving the full canner, to prevent scratching or cracks. Monitor the weight to ensure the correct pressure is maintained at all times.



Karen Riegle said...

1841We used the "real job" coupon for a 27 lb. bird and had it cut in half - one for T'day and one for Christmas! The chickens got the half carcass to pick.

Denise White said...

Does your process of "canning" the stock instead of just freezing the stock make the stock taste better? If no, what is the benefit of canning; is it so it can be shelved for long periods of time?