What makes us Different? - Meat coloring

 

If you have often shopped for meats at the grocery store or through a large home delivery service you are probably used to getting meat that always looks the same. Your steaks are always bright red in color, and they may be perfectly rounded and the same 8oz size every time. You might be a little surprised then to buy from a local farmer and get meats that vary in size, shape, and color. But these differences are what make John Henry’s, and other local meats, better.

Each animal is unique, their shapes and sizes vary. Our animals are able to roam the pastures and graze as they please. They are not given hormones, steroids or fatty feeds, to bulk them up quickly. This results in cuts of meat that will vary in size from animal to animal. Age, diet, and exercise all have an impact on the color and shape of the cuts. Even within one animal the different cuts may have color variances due to which muscles are exercised more. The fat in grass fed beef is different as well. Darker and more yellow in contrast to the bright white fat of grocery store cuts. This is due to the beta carotene present in their diets. This beta carotene also makes that fat healthier for you to consume!

The biggest difference you will notice is the color of the meat. Grocery stores have taught us to expect a bright red color in our meats. The bright red color is caused by Myoglobin, which is a protein in the tissue cells. While Myoglobin is normally purple in color it changes to a bright red when exposed to oxygen. Many commercial meat producers will add carbon monoxide to the packaging process to increase and maintain the bright red color. This meat will remain bright red even after it has spoiled in some cases. The carbon monoxide maintains the red color regardless of changes in temperature and exposure to store lighting, hiding potential quality issues. Here at John Henry’s we vacuum seal our fresh meats for shipping and we do not add carbon monoxide (or any other gasses) to our packaging. Vacuum sealing actually removes the oxygen from the package to maintain freshness and will result in darker and sometimes inconsistent coloring.  

Your John Henry’s meats will remain fresh for 2-3 days after your shipment arrives, when refrigerated. If you are not going to use your meats in 2-3 days we recommend freezing them. You may experience more darkening of meat during storage, even when frozen. This is caused by the oxidation of the myoglobin and does not change the quality or the flavor of the meat in any way.

For more information on meat coloring please visit https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/wcm/connect/e8dad81f-f7fc-4574-893e-bae20cf8b215/Color_of_Meat_and_Poultry.pdf?MOD=AJPERES

Meal Planning Tip #2-Meal Journals

Meal Planning can be a scary thought. What is the best way? How do I get started? Do I have to find new recipes? It does not have to be so scary if you just take it one step at a time and follow our simple tips.

A Meal Journal is a great way to get started. Your journal can be a spiral notebook, a store bought planner, or scratch paper in a binder.  Your journal will evolve as we go through all of our meal planning tips over the next few weeks so don’t worry about creating the perfect layout.

The first step for your meal planning journal is to record the meals you are already eating, and that your family enjoys. Take 20-30 minutes to sit down and write any meals that you can recall from the last few weeks. Include breakfast, lunch, dinner, and snacks if possible. If you are feeling ambitious you can even sort them (more on sorting later). It is ok if you can’t remember all of your meals, don’t stress about it. You will continue to log meals your family eats over the next couple weeks to add to your meal library. If you come across any new recipes that you would like to try , jot them down on their own page.

The meals that you are recording will become your base for planning your future meals. You will, of course, add new things and maybe remove others as you go through your meal planning journey, but a good base will make your planning easier. Why plan a week of brand new things and over stress yourself, when you have tried and true favorites on standby? Sorting your meals will be a big help for future planning as well. You can sort in columns, on different pages, or just as a code letter to each item (B=Breakfast, S=snacks/sides, etc.). There are many categories you can sort by, some options are: cooking style (slow cooker, stove, oven, and grill), base ingredient (chicken, beef, pork, and pasta), Prep/cooking time (quick meals, 1-2 hr meals, all day meals). Sort by whatever you feel is going to work best for you.

That wasn’t so bad right? You are well on your way to becoming an expert meal planner. Keep your journal handy and keep recording your meal options and you will be all set for our next tip: Starting your meal calendar.

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27 June, 2017

Why a Freezer Meal Workshop will change your Life!

Wildtree Freezer Meal Workshops

 What’s for dinner? John Henry’s has the answer to the question so many of us ask ourselves every night, Freezer Meal Workshops! What is a freezer meal workshop, you ask? Freezer meal workshops include recipes, meat (pre-cut and portioned), and spices all ready to assemble. All you have to provide is the veggies and some pantry item staples. There are 12 different menus’ to choose from and meats can be substituted if there is anything your family does not like. The best part is you will be sure your family is getting healthy, home cooked meals each day. John Henry’s features Wildtree spices, which are designed for those with food sensitivities and allergies. Gluten free, paleo and whole 30 approved, there is something for everyone.

Are you already a meal planning expert? These workshops can still benefit you. When you invite those in your life who struggle with meal planning they will be thanking you for months for introducing them to the workshop. The freezer meals are also great gifts for someone who just had a baby or someone who has lost a loved one. Most of the meals that are made at the workshop feed a family of 4 twice. If your family is smaller you can further divide the workshop into smaller dinners. Whether you are single or have a large family, everyone can benefit from this.

We offer open workshops at several locations in Southeast Michigan. We also offer private workshops that can be hosted in your home or church. We will even ship your workshop right to your door via UPS so you can assemble it whenever you want!

Visit our website for more information

https://www.johnhenrys.net/t/freezer-meal-workshops

click here to place your order

How does a workshop save money?
Meal planning is a huge asset in running a household and sometimes it comes easy and other times, well, not so much. With a John Henry’s Freezer Meal Workshop the cost for each meal is under $4.00 a serving! That is less than a meal at McDonalds, and so much healthier.

Example: Wildtree spice bundle $89.00 + John Henry’s meat bundle $171.00 + organic veggies (You must provide your own) $30.00 = $280.00
each dinner has approximately 8 servings (these can be divided depending on family size). We will be making 10 dinners. $280.00 divided by 10 dinners = $28.00 per dinner. $28.00 divided by 8 servings = $3.50 per serving.
This final cost can be brought down even lower if you have some veggies and some canned goods in your pantry.

How does a workshop save time?
Once you have registered for an event or ordered your bundle for home delivery we will email a small grocery list of veggies and any other things you will need.
Step 1: Head to the grocery store (approx. 30 mins).
Step 2: Chop your veggies and fill a couple of bags with some of the other items you picked up at the store, such as tomato sauce or carrots (approx. 20-60 minutes depending on the amount of ingredients).
Step 3: Bring your bags, measuring cups, and favorite apron to the workshop (or if you chose home delivery you are all set!). John Henry’s will have all of the meats, spices, recipes, labels and some extra ingredients waiting for you. The meat is already cut and divided into bags for each meal!
Step 4: Assemble the meals. In less than 2 hours you will walk away with 10 full sized or 20 half sized healthy meals, ready to put in your freezer.
Step 5: Cook and enjoy! Most meals can be cooked and on your table in 30 mins or less!

 

If you find yourself strained for time, on a limited budget, worried your family is eating healthy, or just worn out while you keep going… A Freezer Meal workshop is something that is a must. If you feel you “don’t have time” for it, you definitely don’t have the time not to do it! 

John Henry’s Bone in Chicken

Hi everyone, it’s Alicia here, filling in while Katie is on maternity leave. I want to highlight our amazing bone in chicken for you.  Our butcher Jesse cuts it fresh right off a whole chicken just for you. We have wings, thighs, breasts, and drumsticks, all mouthwatering, lean, and juicy. There are so many things you can cook with them; your family will never be bored with dinner again!

There are so many foods I love to make using our John Henry’s bone in chicken.  Chicken soup, chicken & dumplings, fried chicken, BBQ chicken on the grill….Mmm! I like to keep a little of everything in my freezer, so that when the mood strikes I can whip up any of my favorites. My personal favorite is chicken and dumplings using my husband’s grandmother’s recipe. I use bone in thighs or drumsticks, boil them down to make the broth, and the meat falls right off the bone. My husband loves barbeque, so grilling out and using some of his sister’s special recipe BBQ sauce is a must for a summer party. And of course we can’t forget wings. My husband loves wings, and with all of the Wildtree recipes I can try something new every time.

Working here at John Henry’s has really opened my eyes to the differences between store bought meats and our pasture raised, grass fed meats. I don’t know about you, but I definitely like not having to worry about what is in the meat I am eating. I know that our chickens are only fed corn, alfalfa, peas, and bugs and that their feed is completely organic and GMO free. I do not have to worry that there will be any antibiotics, arsenic, or other drug residues. (I just can’t believe that those things are in the grocery store chicken I was eating before!) The most important thing to me though, is knowing our animals are raised humanely and are able to enjoy being outside in the pasture and that they are not subjected to the terrible abuse of factory farming. 

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23 May, 2017

Your Health-Protein Deficiency

Protein is such a vital part of life. Proteins are long chains of amino acids, which can be found in many different foods. The highest sources of proteins come from animals, like meat, dairy, eggs and fish, but some vegetables, beans and seeds also have certain amounts of protein. There are 20 different amino acids that can create a protein, 9 of which are considered essential, meaning our bodies can’t make them. Because our bodies can’t create essential amino acids, we must eat them. Meat and eggs are considered a “complete protein” because they contain all 9 of the essential amino acids in roughly equal parts. This is super important to consider when you are considering meatless meals or a vegetarian/vegan lifestyle. According to Dr. Axe, if you aren’t eating enough complete proteins you could be experiencing some of these symptoms:

 

·         A sluggish metabolism

·         Trouble losing weight

·         Trouble building muscle mass

·         Low energy levels and fatigue

·         Poor concentration and trouble learning

·         Moodiness and mood swings

·         Muscle, bone and joint pain

·         Blood sugar changes that can lead to diabetes

·         Slow wound healing

·         Low immunity

It is recommended that we consume at least half of our body weight in protein a day. So if you weigh 200 lb. you would need to have at least 100 grams of protein a day. I bet that seems like a lot to most people! Those eating the standard American diet, filled with all sorts of grains, are fueling their bodies on carbohydrates, and can easily miss out on getting enough complete proteins every day. If you are trying to lose weight or gain muscle it is extremely important to consume enough good proteins or your body will not be able to perform at its optimum level. Nowadays, it's easy to track your protein intake by tracking your meals through an app on your phone. My personal favorites are My Fitness Pal and Lose It. I love tracking my meals to monitor my protein, fat and carbohydrate intake. I like to make sure that I am consuming enough protein and healthy fats to keep myself feeling the best.  

 

Some of my favorite cuts of meat that are high in protein are:

 

Boneless Skinless Chicken Breast - I especially love it when it has gone through the tenderizer (we call it cubed chicken).

Pork Tenderloin - This is great on the grill or in the oven. It’s always so tender.

Ground Turkey - Ours is made right and without any skin or fillers.

Beef Roasts - This is a staple at our house, an easy crock pot meal with potatoes and carrots.

 

It’s very important to get your protein from meat and plant sources. When looking to select some great meat sources, it is important to choose local grass fed and free range meats. John Henry’s offers meats that are free from hormones, antibiotics, steroids and other chemicals that can destroy your health.