Venison Heart – My First Experience

I am on a quest not to waste any part of the animals we harvest.  I ate a few bites of liver before this.  I am not a person that cares for organ meat, but am trying to learn to eat it.  The liver was actually sweet tasting.  It is the consistency that is difficult to deal with.

I had my husband save a couple of hearts from the deer to try.  He and my son thought I was crazy and this was better off being dog food.  Poor doggies, they are going to miss out now. I am so glad I did some research before cooking.  A lot of people say to slow cook or pressure cook.  That is what I thought would be the best too.  Since technically the heart is a muscle and an organ.  A muscle that works 24/7 365 days a year just had to be tough right?  Boy was I wrong.  I found a great recipe at this very good site: http://honest-food.net/2012/06/13/grilled-deer-heart-recipe/  I cleaned out all the valves and chords.  Cut it in 4 pieces long ways and marinated.  Marinade is olive oil, red wine vinegar, oregano, thyme, garlic, black pepper and worchestire sauce.  You massage it into the heart and let it marinade at least 30 minutes – longer is better.  I put mine on skewers to prevent it from falling through the grill.  Get the grill really hot and char it on the rare side.  Yum yum; it was tender, juicy and tasty!  Those puppies are going to miss out now – all the hearts are for me.  Full recipe is at the link with a lot of other recipes too.

Eating Cactus; A Real Survival Food.

So I have been thinking about survival foods… you know  in case of Zombie Apocalypse, going over the fiscal cliff or avalanche, or just for fun!  So earlier this year – in the spring- I tried a fruit from my Mom’s cactus.    I just picked it with my bare hands, trying to avoid all the stickers.  Take my advice and use tongs or leather gloves.  Unless you like pain of course.  I was very impressed with the taste of this fruit.   With a little googling I found out this is actually the most eaten fruit in the world.  And a drink is even sold for health using this.  It s good for arthritis, blood sugar control and cholesterol. And best of all it tastes good and is free.

Let’s face it cactus are pretty cool.  They look nice, they have beautiful flowers that bees love.  You can get food and water from some. They need very little – if any care.  They provide hiding places for small animals.  They can keep people away, and are edible.

You can eat the pads too.  They are better in spring and early fall, same as the fruits.  I harvested both of mine a little late in the season today.  The fruit was good, but not nearly as good as it was in spring. Deep purple – so it has to be full of antioxidants.  I cleaned and cut up the pads.   Then I cubed them and fried them up in butter with salt and pepper.  Pretty good.  The skin was a little too tough.  I think I picked some that were too old. But it was all good.  You can also make salads with it and French fried.  Sounds yummy.  Of course the inside is slimy – like okra.  Great for the stomach.  I also read they are great cooked with eggs or added to salsa!!  So I will be trying more nopalas!!

Here is link to info prickly pear cactus and how the Indians used it.

http://www.texasbeyondhistory.net/st-plains/nature/images/prickly.html

 

Horned Melon

I planted this melon in spring.  It is a strange fruit.  kind of lime, cucumber, banana tasting.  The pigs love it and now it has spread everywhere.  anything to keep the pigs fed is great.  The spikes are very sharp.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Horned_melon

The Humanity Of Hogs

This really tripped me out.  We have 2 female hogs.  Big Mama is our American Guinea Hog and Sugar Baby is our Large Black Hog.  They have always been competitors and Big Mama actually ripped a slice in Sugar Babys leg once – we had to sew it up with dental floss.  Anyhow they both just gave birth.  The daddy is our American Guinea “Tank”.  They have both had one litter before and did great.  I believe we made a huge mistake this time however.  We left Sugar Baby’s little baby girl in with her.  She is over a year old; but when Sugar Baby started producing milk I think the little girl (Sugar Baby’s little Baby) may have thrown Sugar  Baby into early labor. She was nursing,  and probably producing callouses on sugar Baby’s teets.  Her little piglets were born skinny and pathetic looking.  Sugar Baby was extremely nervous and restless.  Both sows had 9 babies.  Big Mama’s were thriving.  But, Sugar Baby’s  were walking out in the open field.  My son actually saw sugar Baby’s Little Baby fighting the newborns off.  One disappeared for  2 days in a row.  We dragged the little girl out of there and she will be harvested soon. (milk fed pork.. LOL)  Anyway – one more died the next day.  I don’t know if it was from that or a predator.  But a couple of days ago I noticed Big Mama was in the area of Sugar Baby’s pigs and was feeding them.  My son verified this today.  Her seven little pigs look 100% better now and Sugar Baby is calm now and full of milk.  Lesson learned – don’t leave an older pig in with newborns.  I didn’t really think it would be a problem.  We had sheep, goats, and the male in when they had babies before with no problems.  But what really amazes me is how Big Mama fed her  nine pigs and Sugar Baby’s  seven pigs.  That’s more humane than most people I know.  Big Mama is a sweet girl and I’ll tell you more about that later….  Big Mama my sweet girl

My First Taste Of Goat Meat.

Yesterday I drove about 2 1/2 hours south to Monticello, Florida; an enchanting place called Golden Acres Farm.(they have a website BTW)  I was there to purchase 2 goat hutches http://www.ezhutch.net/goathutch.php . But I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of this place.  They had Huge oak trees with Spanish moss hanging from them.  Lots of goats, sheep, chickens and guinea fowl on beautiful green pastureland.  And a huge beautiful home.  While I was there I purchased some goat meat.  It was very expensive; at least for me.  She told me it’s very lean and the best way to cook it is low and slow.  I have a crock pot; but actually prefer to cook something like that on the stovetop.  That way I can control the temp better.  So I braised it this morning.  Then I added a little water, some patis (fish sauce), and some turkish seasoning.  I let it simmer on low until the meat was almost ready to fall off the bone.  I then added slice portabellas and vidalia sweet onions.  It simmered a little longer and then was ready.  I must say it was excellant.  It had a very faint hint of a gamey taste.  Reminded me of a cross between venison and pork.  Well, now I can relax.  The reason is, I’ve invested quite a bit of money into my South African Boer goats and wasn’t even sure if I’d like the meat.  Whew. LOL!!

South African Boer Goats

South African Boer Goats

 

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Hello World!

Welcome to our homestead.  Come on in, take your shoes off and sit a spell.  We’ll talk about homesteading and self sufficiency.  I’ll tell you about my little homestead and everything we are doing and learning.   We have sheep, goats, chickens, and lots of pigs. Oh, and I can’t forget about the bees…  Gardening is always fun and challenging.  Food preservation and cooking are on the agenda also.  And of course I’d love to share my recipies and methods of cooking.  I hope you will share with me too.

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