Sunday, January 3, 2010

Things I learned yesterday

-Pressure canning is way less scary than I thought it would be.  In fact, it is no. big. deal.

-Of course, I'm going to be terrified the first time I open up a jar of vegetable stock.  And the first time I open the water bath canned applesuace.  And probably every single can I open up.

-I'm excited to do some pressure cooking.  Since I have an enormous canner, it looks like I'll be making bulk things and freezing them. This sorta bums me out because I'm really curious about it.  You can cook eight  (YES EIGHT!)  cornish hens in the dang thing. I sadly don't think I'll be able to use it very often since there is only 2 of us. :/  I'd say that I want a smaller pressure cooker because I'm so in love with the fact that beans only take minutes, but I really cannot justify bringing one more thing into the house.  :(

-But, look! I did find a recipe for 90 minute no soak beans!  Which is good. Because I'm going to be studying for the next few months in the evening.  Which means we'll be living on casseroles and stews and such. Big items so I only have to cook twice a week or so. 

-I'm going to can up chicken stock today! Huzzah!

 -Do not start making cheese after 10 pm at night unless you want to stay up until 3 in the morning. Just sayin'. 

-While I stayed within 90-100 degrees the entire time I was cooking the curds, it was all over the map.  I'm really don't think I did it right.  It will take a month before I know. :/ (Which I guess is better than 3-6 months for a traditional cheddar).

-It was so very awesome to get the kind of break in the curds I wanted and to see the curds cooking down.  I like making cheese! I really do!

-I need to see if I can just halve the recipes and make 1 lb cheeses.  2 lbs of cheese is a lot of frakin' cheese for us.  And since I want to make multiple cheeses, we're potentially drowning in cheese after just 4-5 types. This is ungood.   It would be fine if I could give it away and maybe that's what I'll end up doing if I can't figure out how to make smaller batches.  I can make sure it is edible and cut the cheese into fourths or halves, re-wax it, and give it away.

-When you have the great idea of making whey ricotta but you don't have another gallon of milk to add to the process and the recipe says, "small amount" and lists 1-2 cups (if you add the milk)--it totally isn't worth making it.  I got half a cup out of ricotta of what was left after the farmhouse cheddar. Next time I'll just freeze the whey and use it for making bread.  Doh.

-After deciding on the name of the farm, I'm back to the drawing board.  Absolutely nobody gets the reference of Valley Forge.  NO IT IS NOT THE NAME OF A CITY! (I mean, technically--yes, it is.  But that isn't the reference)    What is wrong with you people?!? Do you not watch 70's sci-fi movies? Huh? Not even good ones?

Anyway, it's from "Silent Running".  Sheesh.  I'm ashamed of you.  Honestly.

So, I'm looking for a name for my little urban-homestead-that-can't-have-chickens-or-goats-or-even-rabbits-and-can't-be-a-true-homestead-until-I-get-some- livestock.  Hooking up Radar to a plow may be hilarious, but it doesn't count. (no i did not hook up my dog to a plow. sure, i think about it. what red-blooded farmer wouldn't? but no, i wouldn't. not really.  even tho' it would be hilarious. but it wouldn't. honestly.)


  1. Oh this one had me laughing. I went through this last winter, right down to the start making cheese at 10 pm when the kids are in bed and did the exact same blog post. Sorry about your stock fiasco, that does stink.

    Good luck next time! And don't bother making less than 2 gallons of cheese you plan to age because it shrinks. I threw everything away that I made from 1 gallon because there was nothing left to it by the time it was done aging. Heartbreaking.

  2. I'm really trying to figure out if cheese making is worth the hassle. I like the idea of it, certainly--but it really is a big pain that takes a long time to figure out if I did it correctly or not (and the cost of it compared to just buying a nice cheese!) If I knew I could make a superior cheese to what I buy that would be one thing--but it would be years and years before I got to that point.

  3. My issue was the cave that you need to age the cheese in. I put it in our little wine fridge and then dh unplugged it for a few months without letting me know and the racks were wavey to hold wine so the cheese wasn't flat. It was a big fiasco but I did try a montasio that tasted great until he unplugged the fridge. The only problem was I only used 1 gallon of milk so by the time it shrank down and you shaved the rind off there was nothing left. I loved making it though.

    Another batch that I stayed up until 3 am making I cut the curds too small and they never knit so I had to chuck it.

    The other thing is raw milk (and goat milk) is so expensive that you really can buy most cheese for less than you can make it for. What I've done instead is get as many folks together to buy local cheese that we can get the wholesale price. I'm organizing a willipa hills buy right now and there is a mt. pleasant (gouda & swiss in mt. vernon) buy in a couple weeks too. Feel free to email me annettecottrell(at) if you want in and I can point you to pricing.

    It's much easier and cheaper to buy wholesale than make it yourself but I think you need to do it a few times to see what it's all about.

    I still think homemade mozzarella and chevre are totally worth it, just too time consuming for me to do frequently.

    Now, if we formed a cheese club and each made mozzarella every two weeks (enough for everyone) and took turns that would be a different story... :)


"Every morning I awake torn between a desire to save the world and an inclination to savor it. This makes it hard to plan the day."

-E.B. White

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