I’ve been canning and smoking and canning and smoking all day and I’m only halfway through the cooler.
So far there are:
10 jars of blueberries
5 jars of crowberries
15 jars of ground caribou sausage
a bunch of smoking salmon still in progress.
I canned the berries in half pint jars, but I could still only do five at a time. You only have to pressure cook them for eight minutes, but I rounded up to ten, cause I’m like that. But it takes ten minutes or so to get up to pressure and another ten or so minutes to cool off enough to open. So my ten minute berries actually took thirty minutes each. Still, that went relatively fast, with fish cutting in between berry rotating.
My sisters new fangled electric fish smoker thingy holds a lot of fish. It’s great. It has a little opening in the bottom for a frying pan sort of thing that sits on a heater coil. You just keep putting wood chips in the pan every hour or so, and it keeps smoking your fish. Much easier than ducking down under hangng dripping fish to keep real fires going. If you live in a house with electricity, you should have one of these. Amazon doesn’t seem to have this kind – it’s called Big Chief (I know, horrible name, but it’s a good product).
Once I got the berries canned and the fish started I could get started on the caribou. Most of it was ground with sausage seasoning (which should be a crime – the meat tastes so good on it’s own). I browned it in a frying pan, then put it in jars, threw water in the frying pan to make a broth, and topped the jars off with that. It had to can for 75 minutes, so I would put a batch in, go check on the salmon and put more wood under it, come back and fiddle with the temperature so it got a steady rock going, check my email and play ball with Bro, then start some meat browning, turn the stove off and keep stirring the browning meat while the pressure cooker cooled off enough to open, pack the jars, open the pressure cooker and pull the old jars out, put the new jars in and repeat things all over again.
My sister came home and we had caribou steaks (sooo good, and now all gone) and potatoes and salad from her garden. She grew some huge carrots. We went for a walk and we walked past this drunk guy staggering around with a beer bottle in front of a big fire he had built in a barrel. Behind him was a car graveyard and a hand painted sign that said “Cars 4 Sale.” As we walked by he turned and yelled at us, “hey girls, what you walking for? I’ll give you a fucking car.” It was so here and so perfect.
Eventually I had to stop canning when people started going to bed. The salmon is still smoking. I got through about half of the cooler, and I guess I can get through the other half tomorrow. I’m thinking about smoking/drying some of the sausage meat in patties, but I would have to dry them until they were totally dry so they didn’t need refridgeration, and I’m worried that it would take forever cause of the fat or that it would not be yummy because of being all the way dried and wierd…
The lunar eclipse and the northern lights are beautiful.