Monday, October 25, 2010

Smoked Venison and Molasses Candy - Back to the Little House

Little House in the Big Woods Book and Charm (Charming Classics)So as I said a while back, I'm re-reading the Little House Books by Laura Ingalls Wilder.

One of the first things that occurred to me is that I should build a smokehouse. Quantum and I have been planning to get an elk as soon as hunting season hits, however our biggest challenge is going to be keeping the meat. We barely have a fridge. An acutal freezer is out of the question at the moment. Can't afford to buy one, and don't yet have the wind turbine to run it with anyway.

Little House in the Big Woods gives very exact information on how to build a smoker. That would be an excellent way for us to preserve the majority of the elk. I don't have access to any big hollow logs - most trees on our mountainside don't grow big. But it may be possible to rig the stone oven so that the smoke vents into a smoker. I just need to find the right container to hold the smoke and the venison.

Meanwhile CK has been allegedly building a solar dehydrator for several weeks now. All I see thus far are a bunch of black-painted beer cans. That would be another great way to preserve the meat, if that bugger would get off his butt and finish it.

The Little House Cookbook: Frontier Foods from Laura Ingalls Wilder's Classic StoriesI laughed when I got to the part of the story where they described making candy with molasses and snow. I tried this when I was about 12 and it was a blatant failure. I ended up with a mass of gooey gloppy brown snow. What I didn't realize at the time, but was made clear when I read it today, was that I needed to heat the molasses to the upward point of "soft ball" stage. Looking at the Little House Cookbook suggests that this was exactly the problem.

So much else is making me horribly jealous as I read this book. The description of the hogs, fresh eggs, cheesemaking. It'll be at least 4 to 6 months before I can get a couple milk goats and some chickens. No sense getting them just as we're moving into winter. And oh how I wish we'd gotten onto our land in time to have had a garden.

Ah well, I've got lots of recipes for beans!


  1. Love seeing your projects and efforts. I sent you an email - read it please and get back to me my friend!! Sooner is better :) HUGS!!

  2. Stopped by from the coffeehouse. This is fascinating blog and more notably, a fascinating endeavor you've undertaken.

    I can't tell if it's irony or just plain funny to think of a family starting a sustainable farm (complete with yaks!) and blogging about it. Seems like those two worlds shouldn't mix and yet you make it work wonderfully here.

    While none of our writers farm, we do have a one that is in to food, diet, and recipes (Erica Thomas). Stop by if you ever get a chance.

    Hopefully those black painted beer cans turn into a dehydrator for you soon.