Peaches and Bear

Peaches and bear have what in common exactly?  Well, they both grow real fine in these mountains that we live in, bears like peaches, and the children are like bears in a blueberry patch around canned peaches, that’s all.  Down the road from us is a peach orchard where we bought 3 bushels of peaches yesterday.  Two of those bushels are now 21 quarts of peach halves, 7 quarts of peach sauce (I use the skins for the sauce, then bake with it or pour it over pancakes, waffles, pound cake, etc.), and 2 gallons of sliced, frozen peaches for smoothies and pies.  Pretty good for two days of canning; here’s hoping they make it till winter before getting eaten all up!

Speaking of bear, one of our neighbour’s is a bear hunter.  He has a pack of hounds and a pack of friends with their own packs of various dogs, and together they all hunt bear, well the dogs hunt and the men shoot, or something like that.  We’ve had a couple of incidents with dogs chasing bear through our garden over the past two seasons, though the hunters are quick to oblige by gathering up their dogs at the sound of gunshots coming from our place . . .we’re learning mountain talk I guess, gunshots mean “Come git yer dawg ‘fore yer dawgs doggone” or they can mean “dinner time, come on home”, depending on the situation  🙂  Anyway, while chatting with the good man’s wife the other day, we got to talking about all the bear, bear skins, mounted bear heads, and eating bear.  Turns out (and she’s the first person to have said this to me)  bear meat is really delicious . . . .but only if cooked a particular way, which was passed on to her from an old mountain woman, and she passed on to me, and I to you, so:

First the bear meat has to be cooked in a pot of half water-half cider vinegar until the liquid is next to all gone.  Then this is repeated two more times, for a total of three times.  After this the meat can be cooked any way you please and it will be tasty and tender, without the fatty, heavy, greasy, and yes even disgusting taste that it apparently has otherwise.  Now to score some bear meat to try this out with!!  Maybe with peach cobbler on the side . . . .

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