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Walnut Day

We all have our day. A day to celebrate you. Whether it's your birthday, Mother's Day, Father's Day, Grandparents Day, Teacher Appreciation Day, there is a day to celebrate you. There are also a million days to celebrate things. Pizza lover's day, Donut Day, Puppy Day, well today is National Walnut Day.


Today is a day to celebrate walnuts. I may be Almond Girl Jenny, but walnuts are a close second in my nut heart. My Dad is a walnut grower and I grew up surrounded by walnuts just as much as I grew up surrounded by almonds. Walnuts are my favorite baking nut. There is just something about banana nut bread that makes me happy.


Walnuts also make me healthy. They are a healthy punch of protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorous, and healthy carbohydrates. Who knew one nut could have so many health benefits?


But did you also know that walnuts are the only nut that has any significant omega 3's? Omega 3 is an essential fatty acid that is a plant based food source and walnu…

Almond Wood and Deep Pit

This weekend we had Christmas with my husband's side of the family and we decided to test out the new deep pit. My husband and his father built a 6 foot deep pit out of an old concrete pipe line they dug up when they were ripping the old field out. They dug a giant hole out at our shop yard and stuck this 6 foot pipe in it. At the bottom of the hole they poured concrete so there would be no air pockets or dirt in the hole. That is pretty much all you need to deep pit meat, a giant hole in the ground! So they decided to test it out for Christmas dinner. 

First, you need to start a fire and let it burn for at least 4 hours to heat the entire pit. What kind of wood did we use?  Almond wood of course, we think it burns the best! Some good seasoned almond wood burns a long, hot fire that is perfect not only for your deep pit, but home fireplace as well. I wouldn't have a fire with anything else! You want seasoned wood that is dried out for an extended period of time, last years wood is the best. Wet or green wood that is cut this season is more difficult to burn and doesn't burn as hot or clean.  


Once the fire has turned to red hot coals, you cover the fire with a steal lid and it's time for the meat! Because this was the first time with our new pit, I think we went a little crazy. We tried 5 different kinds of meat; Turkey, beef shoulder, pork loin, ham and salmon. Deep pit is a great way to use tough pieces of meat that would be hard to cook otherwise. This process makes the meat extra tender. You take each cut of the meat separately and wrap them up in foil, several times. And several is an understatement, you need to wrap them multiple times to ensure no holes are in the foil and the juices won't escape during the cooking process. Probably like 5 times at least, to be safe. Once the meat is foil wrapped you wrap them in burlap sacks that have been soaked in water. If you don't have time to soak them in water you can hose them down several times as well. You want the burlap wet so it doesn't burn during the cooking process. So you wrap the meat in burlap and tie with wire to ensure it is tight. Make yourself a loop with the wire so you can pull the burlap wrapped meat out once done.

Cover the hole with another lid and sand. The sand seals the lid to keep all the heat in the pit. You should also hose down the sand to ensure no air pockets are there and all heat is staying in the hole. Now it's time to be patient and wait about 12-18 hours. 


Times up! Now its time to pull the meat out. Shovel all the sand off the pit, take off the lid and you have a sweet surprise waiting for you. Once you pull the meat out, take the burlap off. This was Massey's favorite part, dogs love to lick the flavors off the burlap, I should have grabbed a picture of all the dogs surrounding the used burlap...too funny! Now you want to take the foil wrapped meat home and place in a warm oven until its time to eat. The meats all cooked and if you leave them wrapped in foil they will stay warm and retain all the juices if you wrapped them enough times and nothing is leaking out!


 It's dinner time and there is a house full of people that are ready to sample all this meat! Make sure when you are shredding or cutting into the meat that you wear gloves or have hot pads on hand, the meat is hot! I of course need to tell you that it was all delicious! I would have to admit that the turkey, beef and pork were my favorite in that order. Turkey was moist and fell right of the bone. I am not a ham fan in general, but I did try it, it was a little too salty for me. I am sure you could guess that deep pitting a salmon for as long as you do a turkey, wouldn't be necessary but once that thing is sealed you don't open it. Salmon is meant for the grill if you ask me, but it was all an experiment. I hope I inspired some of you to try deep pit if you haven't done so already.

Beef
Pork
Turkey
Ham
Salmon
Our feast!
So from my family to yours, Merry Christmas and I hope you enjoy your bountiful feast!

Until Next Time,
Almond Girl

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