Obviously it goes without saying that I'm super thankful for all of this meat for the freezer! My sciatica is just so very done with all of this standing, and I'll be grateful for a break from smelling (and smelling like) caribou meat for a while. At 4 this afternoon, I finally finished vacuum sealing the last of the meat and putting it all in the freezer in a not-at-all-organized fashion, where it'll stay until my feet will let me stand on them again. The last roasts were packaged and frozen by last night; today I ground 13 pounds of burger and packaged it in 1lb bricks, along with seven packs of stew meat, six packs of strips (for stroganoff, stir fry, etc) and four packs of calf muscle that will need to cook for hours and hours in the slow cooker because if we'd tried to remove all of the sinew now we would have wound up with hardly any meat, but it'll be perfect for shredding for sandwiches.
Little Bear had a blast watching the grinder: "Ground caribou, ground caribou, I love ground caribou! Look, it's coming out of grinder!"
So that's a good 30 meals of meat in the freezer, not counting all of the roasts and steaks... which I don't have an exact number on, but I think it's around 15 packs, so we pretty much got enough meat off of one caribou for one meal a week through next hunting season! That's wonderful.
A lot of people take their game to local meat processors instead of doing all of this work themselves, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that—if I was in the first trimester and sick, or close to due/had a little baby, I would be super thankful to not have to do all of the processing at home. But I was thinking, as I was grinding the 'bou this morning, how glad I was that we were doing it ourselves; you just don't get as much meat if a commercial processor does it, because they don't have an incentive to get every little bit of meat possible—I spent a lot of time over the past few days carefully scraping little bits of meat away from myelin and sinew, saving every tiny bit to be ground into burger. That use of time doesn't make economic sense for a processor who's trying to get through a bunch of people's meat as quickly as possible. But for us, the additional meat was definitely worth the extra time and effort.
Since I was aaaaall done working with meat by tonight, but it's Shrove Tuesday and I wanted to make something fun (and good!) before Lent starts tomorrow, Little Bear and I made blueberry pancakes, bacon, and yogurt with fruit for supper tonight. Adding the blueberries after I poured the batter into the skillet was Little Bear's job—his fingers were so purple by supper time!
Pancakes and eggs, minus the bacon, might make its way onto my list of meatless meals for this Lent, but more likely for lunches than suppers. Matt isn't the biggest fan of breakfast for supper, but I played the "it's tradition!" card today—pancakes are a traditional Shrove Tuesday food in many countries, including England and Ireland, where some of our ancestors were from.
Have a blessed Ash Wednesday, and a good start to your Lent!