Homemade beef jerky

Field season is upon me this weekend! I’m traveling for three weeks–I’ve got two weeks’ worth of training and a week of wetland mapping verification in Idaho and Colorado.  I love field season–I enjoy working outside and traveling to new places and seeing new things and learning about different ecological systems.  It’s hard work, but it’s a kick.  There are days when I think, “I can’t believe I get paid to do this!” and also plenty of days when I think, “I don’t get paid enough to do this.” It’s a mixed bag some days, but I love my work.  The nice thing about my job is by the time field season is coming to an end I am usually over it and ready for some office work.  I spend the winter in the office mapping wetlands and doing data entry/QC, and whatever else I need to do.  Then by the end of winter I am jonesing to get outside and do field work again.  So it all works out.  And I usually have interesting stories from these field jaunts and fond memories of some really tough days from years past.  Plus some great photos to boot.  Speaking of photos, I’ll be documenting my summer on my new Instagram account, so if you want to follow my adventures you can check me out @thenomadicecologist.

With field season comes the challenge of finding food that will keep in hot, unrefrigerated conditions that is tasty and not junk food (fruits and veggies are still my friend even in the field).  One thing I decided I need in the field this summer is beefy jerky.  Let me be clear about something: I do not eat beef jerky from a grocery store.  In fact, I have not eaten beef in any form for probably 20+ years.  I have made my own jerky before, but it was of the venison variety.  I don’t have any venison so I did the next best thing and I bought some local Montana beef to make my jerky.  Want to know how I made it? Then watch the video below!  And I’ll see you in the field soon!

So many greens: how to preserve them

This early in the season, we get a lot of greens in the CSA shares: bok choy, chard, spinach, arugula, lettuce, kale…that’s what grows in Montana this time of year.  I’m not complaining, though.  After a long winter, the abundance of greens is most welcome.  That said, there are only so many days in a week.  So what to do if you can’t eat all of those greens before the next CSA share arrives?  Preserve them!  This video shows you how I prefer to freeze my greens and enjoy them well into the winter, long after the CSA is over.