I love Italian sausage. It adds so much flavour to simple meals without a large amount of work. The only thing I haven’t loved about it in the past is the excessive amount of fat in the meat, and knowing it was full of things that I probably didn’t actually want to eat. But, now that I’ve started making my own what’s not to love?
Like so many other things, when you make your own sausage at home it’s not only cheaper but healthier, since you can make it lighter and without preservatives or unnecessary additives. This recipe is just ground pork (we use lean), spices, herbs and a little vinegar. Mix up a big batch, divide it into the serving sizes you want and freeze.
You can adjust the seasonings to your hearts content. Add less pepper flakes to cut back on the spiciness. Add more maple syrup for a sweeter flavour. For those on a low salt diet you can fiddle with that amount too. You can even swap ground turkey for the pork if that’s your thing. This is why I love making things from scratch. You get all the flavour while being able to manipulate it to suite your specific diet or taste buds. Win-win-win.
Homemade Italian Sausage
As written this is a spicy Italian sausage. Cut back on the red pepper flakes for less spice.
- 3 pounds ground pork (we used lean)
- 3 tablespoons red wine vinegar
- 1 tablespoon salt
- 1 tablespoon freshly ground pepper
- 1 1/4 tablespoon dried parsley
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon dried basil
- 2 teaspoons paprika
- 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon fennel seeds
- 1/4 teaspoon maple syrup
- 1/8 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/8 teaspoon dried thyme
Place all ingredients in a large bowl. Mix together until evenly combined. Divide equally into desired amounts (I divide mine into 1/2 pound packages since we hardly ever use a full pound in one recipe). Wrap each in plastic wrap and place in a large ziptop plastic bag. Freeze or place in the refrigerator for at least 12 hours before using (to meld flavours).
Makes: 3 pounds
Adapted from Allrecipes.
Ok. I am totally in love with these jars. I don’t normally share crafty things on the blog but these are so cute and since they make some lovely packaging for giving foods as gifts I just had to share it with you before Christmas. I originally got this idea from wit & whistle and since I’m kind of obsessed with everything chalkboard I had to give it a go.
I love this project for so many reasons. The results are rustic and give the jam or preserves an artisan feel. It really doesn’t use up much paint at all, so it’s a cheap way to add something special to jars that you’re gifting. The receivers of the jars can keep the lid and relabel it for storing other treasures. The fact that the chalkboard is on the lid means that if they’re into canning themselves they can re-use the jar for their own canning project and just discard the lid, no harm done. And the whole project is just so easy peasy.
Here’s what you do.
Using chalkboard paint (you can make your own if you like), paint the centre of the lid with a paint brush. It’s supposed to look rustic and homemade so it doesn’t have to be perfect. I used only one coat of paint even though the paint I used recommended two coats. It’s a disposable part of the jar so I didn’t feel the need for two coats. Once painted, let dry for 24 hours or follow the instructions on the paint you’re using.
Once dry, take a piece of chalk and rub it onto the dried paint, to condition it. If the chalk doesn’t seem to be adhering very well, just keep rubbing, it will eventually start working better. A few of them had little strips of paint that came off when I rubbed the chalk on them but I didn’t clean the lids very well before adding paint, so you may want to clean them more thoroughly or add a coat of primer, before painting. I wasn’t bothered by it though because I think it just adds to the charm, so it’s up to you. Once you’re satisfied with the coating of chalk, wipe it off and start labelling!
A few more tips
- Remove the ring before starting the project so you’re not trying to work around it.
- Add a cute scarf by tying on a piece of fabric or yarn. Or add a cute tag.
- Use the chalkboard to write who it’s to and from, what it is, or just do a drawing.
- Feel free to use this idea for more then just preserves. There are lot’s of gifts to be given in jars, and not just limited to food.