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butchering roosters and a semi-related giveaway

September 6, 2012

Me (to Dan): So, the roosters are getting dropped off here on Monday around 4pm. Does that work for you?

Col: But I thought you can’t have roosters in town.

Rose: Yeah, because they wake up John Martin (our neighbor).

Me: Right.

Col: So are we getting roosters?

Me: Not to keep.

Last week my friend Sarah offered up her 2 6-month old roosters on Facebook (the new agricultural swap meet) for keeping or eating. With out giving too much thought to the fact that I can’t kill a grasshopper camped out on my chard without a convulsive shudder, I typed in, “we’ll take them both.”

We enlisted our friend Jojo, who grew up killing chickens in the Philippines, to walk us through the process.

And Col invited his friend Mathew, for educational purposes.

The roosters were beautiful; a dazzle of shimmery green-orange feathers. I couldn’t watch the killing, so Sarah and I got deeply and suddenly interested in our broccoli plants while Jojo killed the birds swiftly in our shed. The kids watched and when I asked how that was for them, Mathew, dear sweet 7-year old Mathew said, “well, it was fine, but I seem to have this lump in my throat.”

Once the killing was over, the kids went back to building a village in our dirt pile, the birds got plucked, 3 neighborhood sisters got dropped off to be babysat, I pulled potatoes and onions from the garden for dinner, poured peach bbq sauce on the bird, and popped him in the oven.

He was delicious.

I’ll be making broth from the carcass, some of which I’ll save to make green chile sauce. Both green chile sauce and chicken broth need to be frozen or pressure canned (too low acid to be water-bath canned) to preserve. Except, every time I think of pressure canning, I feel like I might as well just put a rocket of flammable liquids on top of my stove. It scares me.

But, thanks to my newest sponsor, Kathie, of Two Frog Home and wizardess of home preservation, I’ll be learning from an expert.

On September 20th, 6:30 – 7:30 MST, Kathie is teaching Intro to Home Canning, a webinar, which will cover all the basics of home canning. This means you show up at your computer in your pajamas and watch Kathie take the mystery and the fear out of home-canning. She’ll discuss tools, water bath canning and pressure canning, supplies, recipes, altitude and more. You ask questions by typing them into a window. Kathie will supply hand-outs and will answer all questions, even those that come in after the class is over.

Your pantry can look like this!

Kathie teaches a wide variety of homesteading classes in person in Montana, and via webinar.

Kathie is giving away one free spot in her Intro to Home Canning webinar. Leave a comment below to enter the giveaway. Giveaway is closed. Also, you can leave a comment even if you aren’t entering the giveaway (y’know, if you want to talk roosters and such).

Happy canning,


PS: If you are one of those people whom wordpress won’t let leave a comment, e-mail me and I’ll add you in.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2012 6:43 am

    ooh, me! me! and that is a very sweet mathew quote –

  2. September 6, 2012 6:46 am

    I really need to learn to pressure can. It scares the bejebus out of me too.

  3. Sara permalink
    September 6, 2012 7:13 am

    I keep looking into pressure canning and then decide either I’m not ready for it or that it’s not for me. Now if I could can chocolate sauce (and I know I can’t even with a pressure canner), I’d have mastered pressure canning by now.
    I did make the peach bbq sauce to rave reviews and it may be my new favorite peach recipe.

  4. teresa permalink
    September 6, 2012 8:24 am

    first of all, i feel so much better reading that you did not have the heart to be hands on in the chicken killing! i have a dear farmer friend who keeps inviting me to come to his farm on chicken kill day and as much as i would like to go (he is the farmer we get our occasional chickens from, they are pricey!) i just cannot bring myself to! so thank you for sharing your heart swell when the thought of killing anything comes up. i am with you!

    second… please enter me in the give away! i am a big fan of putting up food during the growing season, but i am terrified of canning! we freeze everything. and with a quickly filling second freezer in the garage i would love to master some other preserving techniques!

    thanks mama.

  5. Danielle permalink
    September 6, 2012 9:16 am

    We just “off’ed” Tinkerbell, our rooster, after she started attacking the kids and me. That little stinker.

    Pablo, my husband, used it as an opportunity to to test his bow hunting prowess, I am sorry to say. However, he did finish the task very quickly after the initial shot. I couldn’t be there for any of it. I even had a bit of a hard time cooking him and taking that first bite.

    But HOT-DAMN, did he taste good. You must try Coq au Vin the next time you come across a rooster. Totally time-consuming, but well worth it. Also, because the decision to eat Tink was sorta a last minute decision one evening after she set her vicious little talons on our 2-year-old, instead of going to the hassle and mess of taking off all the feathers, Pablo skinned the rooster. It was pretty clean and quick. I did miss the skin, but not a bad option when you just don’t feel like dealing with all the mess.

  6. Danielle permalink
    September 6, 2012 9:24 am

    PS – please enter me in the giveaway…and check out my water-canning-pantry. Just a little proud…

  7. September 6, 2012 9:32 am

    What a great idea! I’d love to show up for Kathie’s class from my own kitchen. As for the roosters, awesome! I’m not sure I’d be able to be a part of the killing, but I do think it’s the best way to eat some bird if possible.

  8. Jaymi White Newman permalink
    September 6, 2012 9:35 am

    I would love to take that class! Last year and this I took my first jabs at canning. I would live to learn more!

  9. September 6, 2012 9:48 am

    I need this! I’d love to win.

    Also, I was happy to hear that there is, in fact, a food preservation technique that scares you ;).

  10. September 6, 2012 10:26 am

    I would love to take the class! I’ve never pressure canned but I would like to learn about it from someone who knows more than I do to fill in the gaps! I have to admit that I can a lot but I don’t have much confidence!

    Good job on those roosters! You are so courageous!

  11. mwieser permalink
    September 6, 2012 10:52 am

    I am afraid of my pressure canner, too. So far I just use it to water bath can. We have misplaced our copy of “Putting Food By”, and are using the Blue Book, which does not seem to discuss elevation. Youtube videos about canning skip steps and contradict each other. Help!

  12. lemontreelane permalink
    September 6, 2012 12:42 pm

    i’ve got the kit and having someone teach me would be fantastic!

  13. September 6, 2012 1:07 pm

    Okay, this is a really embarrassing admission (kind of like when I confessed a few years ago to my husband that I had always thought a pony was just a baby horse): I didn’t realize that you could eat roosters. Why, I have no idea, but I always thought that you could only eat girl chickens. You’ve done an educational service today, my friend.

    Ignorant suburban vegetarian walks away now to hang her head in shame…

  14. September 6, 2012 3:14 pm

    I’d love to take that webinar for free! That would be amazing. And if you’re interested in killing chickens, you must must watch this video. It convinced me that butchering could be done calmly and without violence (if that isn’t too much of an oxymoron–death without violence):

    The woman says she wears a pink scarf so that she can become an angel of death, or a midwife to take the bird into the unknown. That’s all the convincing I need to do it her way, and I’ve done it a bunch of times now with my backyard flock and don’t feel traumatized at all. And I don’t like to kill the grasshoppers, either. It creeps me out. :) Love your posts, Rachel.

    • teresa permalink
      September 10, 2012 9:13 am

      that chicken killing (and processing) video was amazing! so respectful and kind and informative. thank you for sharing it!

  15. Amanda Huddleston permalink
    September 7, 2012 4:05 am

    Um, yeah. I can’t kill grasshoppers at all! But I’m taking my children with me next month to volunteer on a local farm for their chicken butchering session in October. I seem to have a lump in my throat right now… Thanks for another opportunity for a very useful giveaway :)

  16. September 7, 2012 7:43 pm

    I’m scared of all types of canning, too. I’m going to try to make beet pickles this week because I don’t think I can kill anyone with those. Think God for our freezer.

  17. September 8, 2012 4:38 pm

    I’ve been canning for 30 years or so, and the first time I pressure canned I was scared to death! :) But after the first few loads, it gets pretty easy and then you can be so proud of yourself when you see all that wonderful produce on your shelves! Have fun!!


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