Life the last week or so has been very busy trying to get our small animal butchering done before the heavy winter weather sets in. Thus far we have butchered 18 chickens, 3 remaining rabbits and 4 snapping turtles. We have 10 bourbon red turkeys yet to butcher and deer season opens up this weekend. My oldest son is also flying in this weekend and we will be celebrating an early Thanksgiving family style dinner while he is here. So life is indeed busy on the homestead. I did want to finish my information on turtle though as it is a meat that you rarely see canned.
In the picture above you will see starting from the left the first three jars are canned chicken in broth, the next two jars are canned rabbit in broth and the last jar in the picture is canned turtle in broth. Notice the difference in the colors of the meat and broths. All are canned in their own broth, off the bone and processed for the same amount of time. These meats and broths will become healthy and nourishing, soups and stews for my family throughout the winter.
To continue with yesterdays instructions on turtle I left off with our meat soaking overnight in salt water. The next day the meat is taken and washed under cold water and trimmed of any fat or membrane.
Once your turtle meat is cleaned it goes into a large pot and covered with cool clean water. To that water add 2 tablespoons of baking soda and allow to cook on medium heat. After about a half hour you will see a foam start to gather on the top of your pot. Continue cooking for about another half hour. Once a thick foam has formed turn your pot off and pour your meat into a colander to completely drain and rinse both your meat and pot well. Return the meat to the pot and cover with water again and now you are ready to cook your meat. Cook your turtle until it is cooked tender and can be deboned easily.
If you do not want to can your meat it can be frozen. I like to put my turtle in a freezer proof container and cover with water and freeze. I recycle cardboard half gallon milk cartons for this. Simply freeze standing then close, tape and label, these also work great for fish. It can also be vacuum bagged. My husband is particularly fond of turtle necks. This is the white meat on a turtle. These are a treat about once a year. He coats them in milk and egg and then flour and fries them. Then puts them in a crock pot on a rack or on top of several inverted jar rings and cooks on low for several hours until tender. O Wise One says "it will make you take back stuff you never stole".
If you are like me and both freezers are busting at the seams then cook your meat and can it.
Once the meat is cooked drain the meat reserving the broth. Strain the broth through a colander or cheesecloth to remove any small bones. Remove meat from bones carefully watching for any small bones. Just like deboning cooked chicken. Notice in the picture above that it is not a white meat like chicken at all but a darker richer meat with a consistency closer to veal in my opinion.
I then take my turtle meat and place it in a small pot and cover it with some broth and place it on the back of my stove on real low to keep it warm.
I then return my strained broth to the stove, cover and heat it up to boiling. While your broth is warming put your lids on to warm and heat your jars and pressure cooker.
Once everything is hot I fill my quart jars about 2/3 full of meat and pour broth over meat and fill jar leaving one inch head space. I add 1/2 teaspoon canning salt to each jar (optional) and remove air bubbles and clean rim of jar with clean rag. Place hot lid and ring on hot jar and finger tighten only. Any leftover broth I add to hot quart jars and process in the same pressure canner with my meat.
I pressure can at 10 pounds pressure for 90 minutes.
Remove from pressure canner and allow to cool and seal.
This is how I can my chicken, turkey and rabbit meat also. The broth can be drained off and the meat used just as you would use frozen cooked meat or a can of chicken you would purchase at the supermarket for casseroles, noodles or pot pies. These bone broths are extremely healthy for you.
Not bad for a weeks work with 4 quarts turtle meat in broth, 2 quarts turtle broth, 4 quarts rabbit meat in broth, 9 quarts chicken in broth and 4 quarts chicken broth.
Down to just the turkeys left to butcher and just in time for Thanksgiving.
Blessings from The Holler
The Canned Quilter