Because I am so excited, I thought I would share a "taste" of the book. And so, I present you with a few excerpts from "The Prepared Family Cookbook"....
TESTING FOR THE JELLY POINT
Bring jelly to a full, rolling boil that cannot be stirred down. Dip a spoon in the boiling jelly. As it nears the jellying point it will drop from the side of the spoon in two drips. When the drops run together and slide off in a sheet from the side of the spoon, the jelly is finished and should be removed from the heat at once.
A candy or jelly thermometer may be used. The temperature of the boiling juice at the jellying point will be from 220° to 222° at sea level. At higher altitudes the temperature will be lower.
Remove the foam from the jelly and pour at once into sterilized jars. Fill to thin ½ inch of the top of the jar.
Process: 5 minutes in boiling water bath
Pectin is a substance in fruits that, when heated and combined with fruit acid and sugar, causes the fruit juice to congeal or “jell”. Not all fruit contains pectin, but you may extract pectin from fruits such as apples, plums, etc. and combine it with other fruit juices, or use commercial pectin. When using commercial pectin, be sure to follow the recipe that comes with the pectin.
TO TEST JUICE FOR PECTIN
The juice may be tested to determine whether it contains sufficient pectin to make jelly. The amount of pectin will indicate the amount of sugar to be used.
Mix 2 tablespoons sugar, 1 tablespoon Epsom salts, 2 tablespoons cooked fruit juice. Stir well and let stand for 20 minutes. If mixture forms into a semi-solid mass the juice contains sufficient pectin.
TO TEST FOR ACID
Juice high in pectin may lack acid to make good jelly. The fruit juice should be as tart as one teaspoon lemon juice mixed with 3 tablespoons of water. If necessary, lemon juice may be added to the fruit juice. Usually one tablespoon lemon juice to each cup of fruit juice is sufficient.
ADDING THE SUGAR
The amount of sugar to be added will be determined by the pectin content of the juice.
JUICES SUGAR (for 1 cup juice)
High in pectin ¾ C sugar
Low in pectin ½ C sugar
Juice should always be boiling when the sugar is added. Boil jelly as rapidly as possible.
PREPARING THE FRUIT
- Select a mixture of slightly under-ripe and ripe fruit
- Wash fruit
- Cut hard fruit (apples, quinces) into pieces. Slightly crush berries
- Add enough water to barely cover hard fruits. Berries and grapes need only enough water to start them cooking. Boil until fruit is tender
- Pour the hot, cooked fruit at once into a jelly bag (or cheesecloth) and let drip. When done dripping, press jelly bag. Re-strain juice through a clean jelly bag (or cheesecloth) to make juice as clear as possible
- Jellies and preserves made is small batches turn out better. Don’t use more than 6 to 8 cups of juice at a time. Unsweetened fruit juices may be canned and made into jellies later.
6 lbs. rabbit meat, ground (I like to put through the hand grinder twice)
2 small onions, minced
2 T salt
2 tsp. pepper
¼ tsp. paprika
1 bay leaf
½ tsp. ground sage
½ C ground crackers or bread crumbs
1 or 2 eggs, well beaten
¾ C milk
Mix well together and mould into small cakes and fry until nicely browned. Pack into clean jars to within 1 inch of the top and add 3 or 4 tablespoons of grease in which the cakes were fried. Put on cap, screwing band firmly tight.
Process: Pints 75 minutes
Quarts 90 minutes
10 pounds pressure
Caring for Milk and Milking Equipment
One of the first things we learned when we began our milking adventure was the importance of cleaning milking equipment and properly caring for the milk.
Our first purchase (even before we bought the cow) was a stainless steel milk bucket and strainer. Milk buckets are more than just stainless steel buckets, they are unique, in that they are seamless. The lack of a seam allows the entire surface of the bucket to be cleaned and sterilized. We not only sterilize our milk bucket, we also sterilize the stainless steel strainer, the cheesecloth (if we aren’t using disposable filters) and the jars. Dairy products absorb bacteria very easily, rendering the milk putrid or even dangerous. Sterilizing your dairy equipment results in milk that stays fresh longer and tastes sweet. It is well worth any amount of time and effort.
To sterilize our milking equipment we first wash the bucket and strainer thoroughly with hot, soapy water, followed by a quick washing with Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda. The Super Washing Soda is a miracle cleaner when it comes to banishing rotten dairy smells. Milking equipment washed in Super Washing Soda will smell sweet and fresh. After our initial washing, we fill our milking pail with water, submerge the strainer (along with all the parts) and the cheesecloth (if using) and boil for 15 minutes.
Another crucial element of properly caring for fresh milk is the straining and cooling process. During the milking process, small particles fall into the milking pail. Even with careful cleaning of the cow’s udder, it is impossible to keep every hair or barn spec out of the milk. Straining the milk through a filter (available at most farm stores) or a sterilized double layer of cheesecloth, is essential.
After the milk has been strained, it must be cooled immediately. In the “old” days, farmers often plunged their milk cans in an ice cold creek. Now, we often don’t have creeks at our disposal, but we do have ice. The method that we have used for years is filling a laundry tub with ice water and putting our jars in the tub up to their necks. Cooling the milk quickly ensures the sweetest, most wonderful milk.
During the cooling process, it is important not to cover the milk with a solid lid. If you cover your milk, any off flavors will condense on the lid and drip back into the milk, giving it a characteristic “barnyard” flavor. We cover our milk with cotton lids that I sewed out of old flour sacks and secured with elastic. As the milk cools, the cotton lids allow evaporation, expelling any potential “off” flavors.
Once the milk has cooled (about ½ hour), cover the mouth of the jar with plastic wrap, put the lid on and refrigerate. Including the date (with both date and a.m. or p.m.) is particularly nice when wanting to use the oldest milk first.
Our regular milking routine:
· Set sterilized 1 gallon jars on counter, awaiting fresh milk· Fill wash bucket with hot, soapy water (for washing the udder)· Go to the milking parlor with sterilized milking pail and wash bucket in hand· Fill feed bin with grain ration and hay· Add a handful of loose salt to the grain· Bring cow into the milking parlor· Wash udder with soapy water (sterilize with udder wash, if you prefer) and pat dry with clean towel· Squirt first few streams of milk from each quarter onto the ground (this cleans any debris out of the teat)· Milk cow, being careful to strip each quarter· Wash udder again, Bag Balm the end of each teat· Return cow to the pasture· Bring milk and wash bucket into the kitchen (or milk processing area· Weigh milk bucket with milk (is a good indication of your milk cows health) and record· Strain milk through filters into sterilized gallon jars· Put cotton cap on jars and put in ice water to cool· Wash milk bucket and strainer with hot, soapy water· Fill milk bucket with water, put in strainer and cheesecloth (if used) and boil for 15 minutes· Steam sterilize glass jars for next milking· Retrieve your milk, cover it, date it and refrigerate· Sterilize (bleach) wash bucket
Please excuse formatting and editing errors, I haven't gotten to the fine-tuning part of this book yet. Anyway, this is just a sample of what is coming. I am dizzy with excitement!