But lets focus on meat for now. A few words on use of stocks in cooking, quoting one the most inspiring books, the Nourishing Traditions: " A lamentable outcome of our modern meat processing techniques, and our hurry-up, throw-away life-style, has been a decline in the use of meat, chicken, and fish stocks in food preparation. The days gone by, when the butcher sold meat on the bone rather than as individual filets, and whole chickens rather than boneless breasts, our thrifty ancestors made use of every part of the animal by preparing stock or bouillon from the bony portions." Not only good for health, but a whole lot more respectful towards the animals we consume... Stocks can be made in bulk and consumed later, or used for sauces and stews. Pint size jars are ideal for storage of stock, and for a variety of other foods from the garden, land or farmers' market.
Ball glass jars are one of very few things still made in the United States. Designed to withstand extreme temperatures of canning, they are, in effect, tolerant of extremes on both ends - cold and heat. Most of us know that containers should not be overfilled in the freezer, as foods expand as they freeze. But there is more to the tricks of freezing food in glass, and you can see a detailed recommendations on the process in this post.
To summarize, I recommend not to use jars larger than 1/4 gallon (known as "quarts"), and even better, use the smaller sizes.
Wide mouth jars are the only jars for a household that is serious about food storage.... The other ones are harder to clean, particularly the quarts. Just don't even buy small mouth jars.
Pre-chill any food to be frozen. Don't freeze room-temperature foods. One night in the refrigerator prior to placing foods in the freezer is the way to go - minimize temperature change and minimize expansion of liquids to minimize breakage. The only food I found not compatible with freezing in glass is chicken soup (not stock, but soup). Everything else works with 99.9% success rate. Chicken stock works. Chicken soup does not work. The jars seem to break weeks after freezing, as if some additional expansion takes place then...
Small jars of frozen grated zucchini and grated pumpkin are great for pancakes and short breads. Tomatoes can be made into paste (with herbs and garlic if you wish) and frozen unprocessed. Fresh berries can be placed single layer on a cutting board, frozen that way and then transferred to a jar - great in muffins, pancakes, waffles. Grated frozen apples are not a waste of space, if grown in your own orchard or back yard - with about 20 jars or so (for example) you can have apple pancakes once per week for the entire winter and spring and then some! My favorite basic apple pancakes recipe is at the end of this post.
And, replacing plastic containers does not stop with food. Ice making seems to be heavily reliant on plastic, with yucky chemicals leaching into ice. Fabulous alternative, stainless steel ice cube tray - in heavy use in our house, a bit different than plastic trays (surprise!). It works really well, is heavy duty and a well made item.
|Borage flowers add sparkle to ice cubes.|
Apple Pancakes Recipe, Farm Style.
Frozen grated apple, from our orchard, unknown variety but is similar to Golden Delicious to some degree - 1 pint in glass jar
Organic Barley or Spelt flower, 1 + cups
Goat Kefir, home-made, about 1/2 cup plus 1/2 cup water
Dash of salt
Hen-house egg, one
Aluminum free baking powder, 1 tea spoon
Olive oil for frying
Mix flour with kefir and water and let stand overnight for "soaking" process, in which the flour swells and becomes more palatable. Yes, this takes some advanced planning but becomes second nature after a while. In the morning, add egg and salt, baking powder. Stir in thawed grated apple. Heat the skillet, fry small (2" diameter) pancakes. They will be thick from the apple, allow a little extra time for proper cooking. Enjoy. Enough for two people with good appetites.