Friday, July 23, 2010

Hickery Holler Harvests

This week has been a week for harvesting and canning. With the temperatures soaring and heat advisories daily the fruit hanging on the trees ripens quickly. We know if we don't get it the birds will. So the week started with blackberries both frozen and pie filling. Then on Wednesday it was red beans. We have been getting rain showers on almost a daily basis. The heat builds up and the atmosphere is saturated. So almost everyday there is a shower.  The Red Beans are mature but we were waiting on them to dry a bit. We realized they are not going to dry laying on the wet earth daily especially the ones on the bottom of the bushes. They were starting to mildew from all the moisture so I made the decision to pick what was ready and can it. So on Wednesday morning O Wise One and I picked the red beans that were ready and I shelled them on Wednesday afternoon while O Wise One killed the last 12 spring chickens.

We ended up with 4 quarts of fresh Louisiana Red Beans for the freezer!

The chicken killed Wednesday evening was immediately iced down with lots of ice in coolers with just a little salt. The coolers sat overnight in the laundry room where it was cool. Bright and early Thursday morning O Wise One and I started cleaning and cutting them up.

First the breast were removed and frozen.

Then the wings were cleaned and trimmed and frozen.


Once frozen they were put in Food Saver bags and vacuum packed. 4 bags of breast 6 to a bag and 2 bags of wings 24 to a bag.

The remainder of the meat, bones and skin were then boiled down in big pots and the meat taken off the bone. Then it was put in jars with a mixture of half meat and half strained broth. They were pressure cooked for an hour and 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure.


 The remaining broth was also canned. I pressure cooked it for 30 minutes at 10 pounds pressure. I could have also frozen the broth at this point but since I was already pressure cooking I felt it was just as easy to can it at this point.

How pretty is that? This meat and broth will make great chicken and noodles, chicken soup, and even chicken and sausage gumbo. Will sure be nice on a cold afternoon when the snow is flying this winter.

So that is all the spring baby chickens from March that we are going to butcher. The remaining 20 young hens will be kept for egg production. And of course our two roosters. The young hens are just starting to lay pullet eggs. We got 2 yesterday.


You can see by the picture that they are smaller than the other eggs but they get bigger everyday. Once they all start laying and they get full size toward the end of the summer the older 7 hens that are starting to drop off on egg production will be butchered and frozen as baking hens and for O Wise One to smoke.  As for me the kitchen was disinfected both before and after and all the pots are washed and everything frozen and put away. As I type this on Friday morning I know that I have 5 gallons of peaches sitting on the back porch to be canned this morning and the blackberries need picking again. So my job for this morning is peach pie filling. Then I am resting this weekend and not canning anything cause I am pooped!

I will take that time to instead thank god for my blessings and the abundance of the harvests bestowed upon us this week.

Let ya know how the peach pie filling comes out!

Blessings from The Holler

The Canned Quilter


  1. Wow. Just amazing! I have so much to learn!
    Did you scald and de-feather the chickens before you put them in the coolers?
    You say just a little salt, but is it table salt or Sea salt? And what's a little? haha. no no. I understand that. You've done it so long you don't measure. Is there a purpose to the salting, though?
    And when you strain the broth, is it to get the fat out, or bits of bone and cartilage from the cooking down of the carcasses?
    How big and what type of pan do you use? I like the enamel pans, but we have such hard water here and they tend to build up deposits that I have yet to figure out how to get rid of. :|

    Sorry for all the questions. Enjoy your weekend! God bless. :)

  2. Oh Yum-that chicken will be so good this winter. I've never canned meat but am trying to try it soon : )


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