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Tuesday, April 25, 2017

playing with your food


PLAYING WITH YOUR FOOD
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Yep, some days are just pure D crap when it comes to quality subjects to chew on here at your mostest favoritist survival blog ( get it?  Chew on.  A food article?  Never mind ).  Those days I pull out a note that should have just been a three sentence preface to an article, a note in length only, not an article.  But some days I can’t concern myself with stooping so low that I use topical newspaper headlines as doomer porn, so I just amuse myself practicing taking a small idea and seeing if I can get a thousand words out of it.  They usually start with a preamble similar to this, attempting to divert your attention away from my foibles by over explaining.  Then I launch into a word wasting summation of the background information.  Here goes.  I think I’ve printing all there is to say about canning butter.  It might be considered a protein, if your ancestors were able to utilize dairy as a meat replacement, but be VERY careful about how you do so.  Dry canning, which I covered, should probably not be attempted.  As Idaho Homesteader pointed out, a treatable reaction to tainted canned items today could turn into a life threatening issue tomorrow when there are no doctors.

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So after pondering this for a time, I decided to stop canning my butter just to be on the safe side ( I have a pressure cooker which I’ve used and wouldn‘t be adverse to a pressure canner, which works on the same principle and I’m close to trained on that now anyway,  but before I quite my day job to write full time I had to decide that prepping purchases were now finalized, nary a stray thought of “well, I‘ll just buy this ONE more thing“ allowed.  Dry canning was free, pressure canning is not ).  And I began consuming the small amount I had canned.  I didn’t feel like it was poisonous at this point, for it was still within the period where un-canned butter still stayed good.  Just to be sure I boiled the butter again.  I took my pint jar of butter, placed it in the microwave for a minute to liquefy it, then placed half in another empty jar to keep the splatter down.  I then nuked each jar for another minute.  By that time it was boiling merrily.  While not foolproof, I felt a boiling oil should kill pretty much close to everything.

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Then I poured it into a ceramic bowl.  I prefer ceramic even if it does tend to eagerly embrace entropy with a bit too much enthusiasm.  I know plastic would tend to last close to forever, but the crap feels slimy when washing and probably leeches poison into food.  Plastic is great for Tupperware because you can’t rely on Zip-Lock bags for after the collapse, but I’d rather not use it for cooking or eating now if possible.  Don’t put the bowl in the fridge.  If you do, it separates with the white curd stuff at the bottom, and that seems to separate moisture.  Not great for butter on the counter, having water underneath.  If you let it solidify at room temperature it usually doesn’t separate.  In a few hours it solidifies again.  THEN I put one bowl in the fridge and the other on the counter.  Now, obviously, you are not going to be taking butter out of a canning jar, because you probably agreed that it wasn’t a great idea in the first place ( it might be a feasible idea, but probably not GREAT ).  But you might like melting your sticks of butter all the same.

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As you might remember from previous musings, I feel about butter about the same way I do compulsory coffee consumption.  It is, like a chosen few other foods, a gift from the Gods.  Margarine is but a mere steamy pile of Lucifer’s feces the day after too much Mexican food with shots of laxative,  compared to butter.  And butter should be used for all things to replace cooking oil ( except perhaps olive oil, one of the few things that were meant to actually produce oil.  Just because DuPont can extract oil from cotton or whatever doesn’t mean it is fit to eat ) as well as being used to supplement whole wheat for a nearly complete meal.  But of course butter is not cheap, nor should it be consumed other than in moderation ( as in ALL things ).  By melting your butter into a bowl, you can more easily control your portions.

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Butter, once melted and re-solidified, for some reason stays softer at a cooler temperature.  Those of you with large families in a hot clime need not worry about this, but up here in the high desert, America’s Mongolia, it is warm about two months of the year.  The rest of the time in a reasonably warmed house ( read, not Geriatric Warm which to younguns is insufferably hot but to old humpers still seems too cold ), butter doesn’t like to stay soft.  The stick butter, which we freeze, then keep in the fridge prior to putting on the counter.  But the bowl butter stays a bit softer.  Not a whole lot, but enough to make a difference.  So you don’t chisel away at it but skim off exactly what you need.  Both myself and the NOL feel we are getting exactly what we need to use, with no surplus, and the butter lasts longer than normal this way.  And it melts quicker on toast, in a clear spread, rather than a blob of white that needs to be stubbornly smeared to the corners.  Yes, it tastes slightly different, but not in a bad way.

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You don’t need to boil the butter as I did, if you are just taking the butter from the fridge to the bowl.  Rather than boil it I let the stick almost completely melt, take it out and keep stirring the remaining stick into the hot liquid until all melted.  That way you get the soft yellow paste right away rather than the clear bright yellow liquid, and it solidifies a lot quicker.  Why does all this matter?  It really doesn’t, other than a neat little trick to stretch out expensive supplies.  Which, just like substituting LED’s for florescent, doesn’t save spit right now but in the future can make a huge difference. 

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8 comments:

  1. You got a nice mention in this weeks Woodpile Report.

    Congrats!

    Idaho Homesteader

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks. Yes, it was a rather nice surprise. More minion fodder and an article idea as a bonus. I love that old bastard!

      Delete
  2. Food.
    It is central to our lives and health (along with moderate exercise, clean water, and breathable air).
    Most of what most of us eat is crap.
    Fresh is best, but obviously isn't easy put away to cover the bad times. A decent balance of carbs, fats, and protein that you can easily store yourself for long term usage is great.
    You trying some of these ideas out yourself and reporting the results is appreciated Jim.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeh, it beats dried hot dogs, right? :)

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    2. I've tried those too. But since I hate most hot dogs it is no suprise I found them barely palatable (you can get the same effect by overcooking the hotdog in a microwave, remember to cover it and stop the microwave before the hotdog starts smoking.)
      Sausages used to be made to use the poorer cuts of meat AND preserve the meat at room temperature for many months. Most now don't have sufficient preservatives to store that long, but if you can afford them they are at least as good a source of preserved protein IMHO. And taste better too.

      Delete
  3. Boiling isn't hot enough to kill botulism toxin, the toxin is very stable to heat, that's why pressure cookers are safer, the combination of heat and pressure destroys the bacteria and any toxins that might be present.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The pressure part is what eluded me. Now I'm schooled. Much better for minions to tell you that a mistake was made than suffer from pride and die.

      Delete
  4. I wouldn't have considered canning butter. Thanks for experimenting and writing about it.
    My focus has been on clean water but I'm always interested in good articles like this. Thanks!

    ReplyDelete

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