This post was updated, and the updates can be found in bold type.
We ate well tonight! I grabbed two of the Roosters we raised and harvested, out of the freezer yesterday, defrosted them, then today, I roasted them in a covered roaster, with a bit of water, a little wine, salt, pepper and rosemary powder. The oven was 350 degrees for about 2 hours, and they were perfect. I have never enjoyed a chicken, even our own, as much as I enjoyed this one. It was so moist and flavorful. I cooked two just so I could serve one, and pull the leftover meat, along with the meat from the second one for making other things*. This lovely bird was served with Sweet potato crisps and Green beans. The crisps were just thinly sliced rings of Sweet Potato fried in duck fat, then sprinkled with a little salt and pepper. The green beans were simply steamed.
My Yard: Chicken, Duck Fat
Local: Salt (Maine Salt Company), Sweet Potatoes (Ramsbottham Farm), Green Beans (A friends garden, frozen by me last summer), Cayuga White Wine (Jewel House Winery).
Not Local: Pepper and Rosemary Powder
Sorry, no picture, though I wanted to take one of the sweet potatoes with the duck fat bubbling around the lovely orange disks, but both camera batteries are dead, and I've misplaced the chargers…oops.
*When talking with Deb and Joe yesterday we discussed the fact that some things are meant to be made with leftovers. If you want to make a pot pie, for example, it's a lot of work to start with a whole, raw bird, cook it, cool it, pull the meat, then make the pot pie…talk about slow food! Many would say, just go to the store, pick up a package of boneless breast, it takes only a few minutes to cook, then cut it up and you can start your pie…not going to work for a locavore…so the answer is to make pot pie AFTER you have made a roasted chicken meal. Same with soups, so much easier to have meat for soup after you have roasted the meat for another meal.
On another topic…
It's so tiring. This world is so full of stuff that is so counter to the way I want to live, that sometimes I find it exhausting to keep up with the nonsense. I just found out that canning jar lids contain BPA… yes all of the companies, Kerr, Ball, and other lesser knowns.
How aggravating. Most people are revisiting the art of putting food by, at least in part, to avoid chemicals in their foods. While the lid may not actually touch the food, it is probably less of an issue that buying canned goods that are surrounded by the BPA lining, it's still just so frustrating that even there you can't escape this hormone disrupting chemical.
I decided these companies need to know what their customers want. Surely they are, during this time of renewed desire to hearken back to a more self sufficient, sustainable way of life, reaping an improved profit. People are buying canning jars, and new lids for what is their first foray into the craft. These companies have to know that their customers value a lower chemical effected life. But maybe they don't, maybe they need to know. So I started looking for information to start writing letters to voice my opinion. Well it turns out ALL the name (Kerr, Ball, Mason) brands are actually owned by one conglomerate, Jarden Home Brands.
Jarden Home Brands
14611 West Commerce Road
P.O. Box 529
Daleville, IN 47334
I tried calling them and it's a series of buttons that lead to a busy signal, where you can't leave a message, but are routed back to the operator, which is a busy signal, and this cycle of busy back to a menu that brings you to a busy signal happens 4 times then it hangs up on you. I contacted their publicity company who was going to have a customer service rep call me. I'll let you know about that when it happens. UPDATE: One month later and a couple messages, and still no reply…hmmm.
I had the Leifheit jars listed as BPA free, after a phone conversation from Leifheit USA. A blog reader's comment prompted me to look into the matter again, and in fact the rep I talked to had poor information. He apologized profusely and told me he had no intention of giving me misinformation, but he had been told they were BPA free. Evidently, in the past 2 weeks the Headquarters has contacted him to let him know that there are "negligable traces of BPA in the lining". He said that with that news, he was also told that the company is working on a BPA free product that is not quite ready for market at this time. He will contact me when they are. In the mean time Leifheit lids are not BPA Free.
The Leifheit jars are also very pretty. There are to options for
their lids, some jars can use a 1 part lid, and other jars use a two
part metal lid with a metal ring, like the typical US brand canning
jars. I spoke with a representative at Leifhiet USA, and was told the
lids are, in fact BPA free. They are made in Germany. I am not sure
if they fit on standard US canning jars. I have seen sites that state
that they do, but the Leifheit company was not sure. They offered to
send me a sample so I can try them to see if they will seal on a US
canning jar, so I will mention that in a separate post, as well as updating this post when I find out. They sent a whole dozen lids, so cool! I used them and they worked great on the large mouth jars.
What are the current alternatives?
Weck: If you are new to canning and have to buy jars anyway, the Weck is a very popular option in the canning world. They are pricey, but they are beautiful. If I did my conversion correctly the 1L jars are pretty close in size to the Quart, and the 1/2L would work for a Pint. These are all glass with a glass cover sealed with a rubber ring. They have BPA Free plastic covers to put on for storing after opening. They are made in Germany. You can order them via phone or by mailing an order form into the company. You can not order directly online from the Weck site, though several other companies, online, do offer many of the jar options. This option is very popular in the blogging world, due to how pretty and unique they are.
Tattler Reusable Canning Jar Lids: This is a very interesting option. The pros to these lids are amazing. Made in the USA! Reusable, they can be used for years, instead of having to be replaced after each use, like the Jarden brands. BPA Free! One hitch, they are plastic. Tattler has been around since the 1970's, they have a longstanding product, that has proven itself over decades, and because they are reusable, they don't have the same level of ecological concern that most plastic items do. They are BPA free, so they certainly look like a viable option. The fact they work with standard US canning jars, helps too, as it keeps from having to buy all new glass jars, just to avoid the BPA containing lids. Tattler also seems to be a small company, and being a small business owner, I do like the idea of helping out another.
Another European option, this time from Italy. They have two style options for lids, one is the metal screw lid, the other is the glass lid that is secured to the jar on a metal hinge and is sealed with a rubber gasket.
Then there is the Quattro Stagioni style which has a metal lid that is one piece, instead of the typical 2 piece. I ordered some of their jars and canned some jam. They lids worked great on their jars, and on standard US jars, with a very serious seal, resulting in a very loud pop when the jar was opened. That seemed like a good sign.
Note: After finding out the Leifheit company made a mistake with communication I recontacted Bormioli and was again assured their jars are BPA free, as are all their food storage items.
Germany, Italy, and now France…I find it interesting all these European countries use a similar style jar, the glass jar, and glass lid with the rubber ring.
Le Parfait Glass Jars: The French version, is priced similarly to the others.
All that brings me to the most potentially controversial option. If you have access to the old bail style jars, you could buy fresh rings for them, and use those. The USDA does not endorse this method, they only endorse using the Kerr/Ball/Mason jars with the Jarden Company lids. However, another blogger pointed out that these old fashioned jars work on the same principle as the widely popular Weck jars (and the other Italian and French options I mentioned) that are used extensively in Europe. The same blogger has a post about her canning experiences with the Vintage Jars. You can even still buy the Jar Rubbers online.
All that canning jar research did cause me to find something I just must have…
Check out this canner, it's HUGE! What a great thing for canning with friends. It holds 15 quarts, or 27 pints, which is more than twice what a standard water bath canner holds, and it's made by the Amish, how cool is that!? That would make quick work of my tomatoes and peaches…oh and all that apple sauce.
The other option, and one that helps the food retain more nutrients, is dehydration. I purchased a dehydrator from Excalibur and have loved using it. I find it less time consuming and easier to use than canning, in many instances. Several foods don't even need to be blanched, just dice and dry. It's a great option. I have found that the foods rehydrate quite well, and most often don't have a loss in flavor or texture. The most negative comment I would have is that the zucchini I re-hydrated did have a slightly chewy texture, but very slight and not unpleasant. I fully intend to can my tomatoes and apple sauce this year, but will be experimenting with drying more foods for winter enjoyment.
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