Thursday, May 12, 2016

Up To My Elbows in Chicken and Corn

I was getting a little bit low on jars of sweet corn and frozen corn was on sale this week.  There was a bit of a glitch in my order and I got only 6 lbs. of corn rather than the 10 I ordered.  No big thing.  It happens once in a great while.  I won't complain.  My groceries are delivered.  I no longer need to spend an hour on the bus to go grocery shopping or to haul the food up the stairs.  I'm happy.

As soon as my order arrived on Wednesday afternoon, I put the corn into a stock pot, added enough hot water to cover and set it on the stove.  I didn't want to cook it - just thaw it out and heat it up.  That done, I filled jars and fired up the pressure canner.  I wound up with 10 pints.  When the corn goes on sale again I will order enough to fill a couple cases of half pint jars.

While the corn was processing, I tackled the 40 lbs. of chicken leg quarters.  I separated the drumsticks from the thighs and bagged up the drumsticks for the freezer.  I got 8 quart bags of drumsticks.

The thighs went into stock pots along with water and couple of carrots and some onion for flavor.  When the meat was falling-off-the-bone done, I removed it from the bones and bagged it up for the fridge.  It was getting too late in the day to start canning the chicken.  I strained the resulting broth, poured it into a clean pot and put that in the fridge as well.

This morning I filled half pint jars with chicken and processed them for 75 minutes.  I have lots of chicken and turkey in pint jars on the shelves, but few half pints.  A half pint jar is just right for a couple of sandwiches or to add in a chicken salad or chicken and rice for one or two.  I got 22  half pints from the thighs.  There was still about a quart of diced chicken left after the canner was full, so I bagged that up and stuck it in the fridge to use for my meals the rest of the week.

I skimmed most of the fat from the broth, added a little chicken bouillon to enhance the chicken flavor, heated it up and filled 12 quart jars.  Those I processed for 25 minutes.

Some have wondered why I would bother canning chicken when I already have lots on my shelves.  Two reasons.  The first is that prices don't go down - only up.  A year ago this same sale on chicken legs packaged in 10 lb. bags was 39 cents a pound.  I paid 49 cents a pound yesterday.  Who knows what the price will be next year or if the store will even run the same sale.

The second reason is that for under $20, I got 16 meals of chicken drumsticks (I can get two meals out of each bag.), 22 meals of canned chicken and 12 quarts of chicken broth.  That much broth alone, at Sam's Club, would run $19.92 at their price of $1.66 per quart

Yes, there is some work involved, but I'd say that I got some pretty good mileage out of my $20 investment!

I also got a good price on bell peppers.  The lady who does my shopping is really good at picking out the freshest produce and always gets me the biggest peppers.  This time there was a combination of red, orange and green peppers.  While the chicken was cooking I cleaned and diced the peppers and got them in the dehydrator.  On peppers I have dehydrated before, the skins tended to stay a bit tough when rehydrated, so now I grind the dried peppers into tiny pieces and use them as flavoring.

That being done, I believe a nap is in my near future.


  1. Boy! Were you ever busy! I do the same with the peppers and add a jalapeño to the mix. Sprinkled on scramble eggs in the morning... mmmmm!

  2. Chickenmom...Yeah, it seems like all the good stuff goes on sale in the same week! I have this little gadget that looks like it wants to be a food processor when it grows up and it works just perfect for grinding up the peppers. I do the same with dried onions, tomatoes, etc., too. But I really like the pepper flakes the best.

  3. Sometimes, reading your post makes me tired (from hearing about all that work). Other times, it makes me hungry. Today, it accomplished BOTH! lol

  4. That's funny, Gorges...About the work part - I just can't work as long or as hard as I once could. So now I do as much as I can sitting at my kitchen table. I spread the work out over more time and take breaks when I need to. I guess when condensing things down for a blog post, it likely sounds as though I am working harder than I really am. Hope that makes you less tired. Can't do anything about the hungry part, though. )

  5. First, my wife finagled me into helping with a little garden. Then into building raised planting boxes, then to putting up chicken wire to keep the chickens off, and now she wants more.....


    "The obedient wife commands her husband."
    Benjamin Disraeli.

  6. chuckle, snort.....Harry, I don't quite know how to break this to you, but I'm thinking you might as well get used to it. Just keep in mind how much better off she is now that she doesn't have to deal with the crap from her job. And you really don't want to be bored now, do you?!

  7. Such great prices! Chicken leg quarters here are $1.89/# on sale and no 10# packages. Or maybe I need to find a different store!
    Corn and chicken - my favorite combos. Reminds me that I need to dehydrate some veggies that are past their prime in the freezer.
    Just back from my community garden - picked my first (three, actually) strawberries this morning. Yum - they didn't even make it out of the garden!
    I'm with you on the slow and steady bit. All I was able to do today was water the one garden and put up netting over the strawberries. But at least I got those two things done. Cheers, SJ in Vancouver BC

  8. SJ...Your price on chicken leg quarters is about the same here for what they call a family pack. The 10 lb. bag sale usually runs only once and maybe twice a year. The chicken pieces are not uniform in size as are the ones in the family pack. This time they were unusually large. Other times there might be a broken leg bone or maybe the place where the thigh was cut from the rest of the chicken was a bit off. I think these pieces that aren't perfect are just bagged up and sold for cheap.

    Thinking about your strawberries made my mouth water a bit! Isn't it just lovely to be able to pick an eat fruit you have grown yourself right from the garden? My Dad planted raspberries when I was a kid. They produced like mad and the raspberry patch was a favorite place of mine. :)

    Sometimes even the smallest of accomplishments are enough. There are days when if I can just get my dishes washed, the kitchen floor swept and make the kitchen tidy again, I am pleased. Days when I do a lot of canning, etc., will set me back another day or two to recover. I will keep taking advantage of the sales and keep preserving, though, for the future is so very uncertain and I know that there may come a time when survival could depend on what I do today. A day or two of aches and pains are a small price to pay for the peace of mind I get knowing that no matter what, my family will be fed.

  9. Funny you should describe your raspberry patch - my community garden has a raspberry patch for members and I was just looking at it this morning. Not even a flower yet. We also have blueberries for the group -well, truth be told, it's for the neighborhood as some neighbors will also help themselves.
    I came home with a soup bowl's worth of strawberries. Berries and ice cream for lunch - yum. That only happens a few times each summer.
    I understand the need to have a deep pantry - we definitely share that idea.
    I understand about the energy level. I got sick about 5 years ago and it was diagnosed as chronic fatigue syndrome. I'm much better then I was when first sick but no where near normal. I truly have to decide on a day to day basis what I can do for the day. I have to prioritize what I "have to do" vs "want to do". Some days the two match up but rarely. And then, there's my stubborn streak of pushing the edges and paying for it later.
    Best close here. SJ in Vancouver BC

  10. SJ...Ah, blueberries. Reminded me of the time I spent in northern Minnesota and the days and days out in the woods picking wild blueberries. Canned them, froze them, made jam from them. And the kids and I ate lots of them fresh with cream and sugar. They made the blueberries from the grocery taste like cardboard by comparison!

    I wonder sometimes why more people don't keep a well stocked pantry. Perhaps some of it has to do with the way we were raised. My parents canned and froze all they could in the summer as well as making sure there were an abundance of staples like sugar, flour and yeast on hand. We never knew whether sub-zero temperatures or blizzards in the winter would make it difficult if not impossible to drive to town for supplies. We still have harsh weather to contend with, but the insanity of our politicians has thrown another reason to prepare into the mix. We never know from one day to the next what crap they will pull on us in order to feather their own nests or to keep their power and control. Like my Dad was fond of saying, "The whole world is crazy except me and thee. And sometimes I wonder about thee." :)

    Frustrating, isn't it, to have to decide between the "have to do" and the "want to do." I think you understand this better than me, for you have been dealing with these problems longer than I have. When a person has been active for so many years and then finds the need to back off, well, it just takes some getting used to. I am learning to adapt to doing things at a slower pace and am learning the advantages of rest time in between. I am also learning, much to my chagrin, that I can not work as long or as hard as I would like. I get the part about the stubborn streak. I have one that is legendary, according to my children. And I, too, pay for it now and then. But sometimes I think that stubborn streak is what keeps me going when it would be so easy to just give up. And that I refuse to do.

  11. Don't give up, that's for sure. And, yes, I was always one to run at full speed and not have a middle gear. Those days are past. About two weeks ago, I had a glorious day in my garden (for an hour) followed the next day with my swim class. I paid the price, but oh it was worth it!
    My desire to keep a well stocked pantry started with an ice storm and I was house bound for two weeks with my parents visiting the whole time. I kept four of us fed the entire two weeks - I even learned how to make pizza from scratch. After that, I experienced some long periods of sketchy or unemployment. My pantry helped with those lean times as well. And, now - well, I worry about the 3-day stock (if that) at my local grocery stores. So I stock up when I see good to great sales. I'm able to help friends and neighbors on occasion. Like last summer when a neighbor wanted to 'borrow' a cup of sugar and wasn't sure I had that much to spare. Really, I thought - if she only knew how many buckets I had...hahaha. I shared the cup but now the information about my pantry.
    Oh, my this long - sorry to hog space on your blog! Have a great day. SJ in Vancouver BC

  12. SJ...Don't ever feel bad about taking up space in blog comments. I love hearing what folks have to say, and you can always email me if you would rather.
    vickimiller63 at gmail dot com
    There have been times, like your gardening and then swimming, where something has come up that I know will cost me in recovery time - and I do it anyway just because I really want to!

    There have been times over the years when I wasn't too sure where the next meal was going to come from. I knew about stocking up for the long winter months, for my parents were big on doing that very thing, and I did that too when I could. But it really wasn't until after my husband died and after I retired a year later (7 years ago) that I started reading preparedness blogs and alternative news sources. I came to the realization that this easy life we live, with big box grocery stores close by and everything we want at our fingertips, could easily go away for any number of reasons.

    I didn't go all "Doomesday Prepper," but instead made lists of food and supplies that made sense to accumulate. I bought a new pressure canner and a few years ago, Son gave me another larger one. Same with dehydrators. And now I do like you do - shop the sales at the grocery. The Farmers Market has been a huge source of fruit and veggies at reasonable prices. Oldest Son is really good to pick up sugar and flour in 25 lb. bags for me, as well as doing the Market runs because I can't any more. Both his brother and sister have helped me with marathon shopping at Sams Club. I still have a ways to go to get where I want to be with supplies, but I am in a lot better shape than most. The wisdom of having a deep pantry was really brought home to me about a year and a half ago when I was hospitalized for two weeks and then pretty much housebound after that. I lived off my pantry - and lived well! Still do.

    I have a couple of adult kids who understand the importance of stocking up and a couple - not so much. But it gives me peace of mind to know that should things go all wonky, my family will not need to go hungry.
    That alone is worth it. :)

  13. Man you do get a lot done, and how nice to have your stores!

  14. Fiona...I guess when I look at the overall picture, I do manage to get some things done. It just takes me considerably longer these days. :)
    I think the peace of mind of having a very deep pantry is worth any time and effort put in making it that way. We just never know what is waiting around the corner, but whatever it is, I know that my family will not go hungry. The big box grocery stores may at some point be closed, but Mom's pantry is always open.