Why Do We Celebrate Christmas on Dec. 25?
There are several reasons Christmas is celebrated on Dec. 25. The date is nine months after March 25, a day recognized by Christians as Annunciation. It was the day Mary was told she would was having a baby. The nine months that follow are an approximation of Jesus’ birth. Dec. 25 also coincides with pagan Winter Solstice celebrations like Saturnalia' and Dies Natalis Solis Invicti. Since they were historically celebrated around that time of year there was precedent for holiday festivities during this time of year.
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Next: What Does the Name 'Christmas' Mean and What Is the Meaning of Christmas?
What Does the Name 'Christmas' Mean and What Is the Meaning of Christmas?
Christmas is a shortened from the words “Christ’s mass.” It’s derived from the Middle English word "Cristemasse" which has Greek, Hebrew and Latin origins. Christmas is an annual holiday that honors the birth of Jesus Christ. It is celebrated by Christians around the world and is regarded as an important religious and cultural holiday.
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How Can We Celebrate Christmas?
Christmas is traditionally celebrated in many ways and celebrations vary across cultures. In the days leading up to Christmas, people usually put up special decorations including colorful lights and evergreen trees. Gifts are often placed under the tree and exchanged on Christmas day among loved ones. Large meals are also typically served as part of the celebration as well.
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Pork fares best in the freezer if packaged with freezer-friendly materials like waxed paper, aluminum foil, or heavy-duty plastic bags.
Wrap any meat tightly so that air does not escape and freeze at 0°F. Generally, fresh cuts of pork can last up to six months, while ground pork can last up to three.
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Pork is easiest to thaw when placed in the refrigerator in its original wrapping. Small roasts will take three to five hours per pound, while larger roasts can take up to seven hours per pound. Thawing ground pork depends entirely on the thickness of its packaging.
It is safe to cook frozen or partially-frozen pork, but its cooking time may take 50 percent longer. Frozen pork should not be cooked in a slow cooker.
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Sealed pork products can typically last in the fridge for two to four days, with ground pork having a slightly shorter shelf life at one to three. Ham or other smoked pork products like bacon can be stored for up to a week, though this only applies to products that aren’t vacuum sealed or prepared with preservatives. The latter can obviously last a lot longer.
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How to Store Meatballs
Cooked meatballs can be stored in an airtight container and refrigerated for up to four days. You can also individually wrap larger meatballs in aluminum foil for maximum freshness.
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Next: How to Freeze Meatballs
How to Freeze Meatballs
To freeze meatballs, simply transfer them from the fridge if they are already stored in appropriate airtight packaging. If not, meatballs can be placed in a freezer-safe container or bag. Be sure to eliminate as much air as possible prior to storing and you'll have fresh meatballs up to four months after freezing.
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Next: How to Thaw Meatballs
Meatballs can thawed in a microwave, but be sure to turn them frequently and consume immediately. You can also bake frozen meatballs on a cookie sheet at 350° for 25-30 minutes. For those who aren't in a rush, placing the frozen meatballs in the refrigerator is always the most effective thawing method.
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Elk meat has a rich, slightly sweet flavor that is milder than other venison like caribou, deer, or moose. To make this retro-inspired appetizer of elk meatballs, simply season the ground meat with sautéed onions, garlic, and a little allspice; add some ground pork for extra juiciness; form it into meatballs; and broil in the oven on a baking sheet. Then place the meatballs in a pot of homemade bourbon-barbecue sauce and keep them warm on the stovetop or in a slow cooker for an easy party appetizer. Or try stuffing them into a sandwich roll, topping them with cheese, and toasting the whole thing for a few minutes under the broiler for a meatball sub. Then, use your leftover bourbon to throw together an Old Fashioned cocktail.
What to buy: You can find ground elk meat at gourmet grocers or online.
There are various intensities of molasses available, from light to blackstrap. Dark (sometimes marketed as robust) tastes best in this recipe. Molasses can be found in the baking aisle at grocery stores.
Game plan: You can make this recipe up to 1 day in advance. Cool the meatballs in the sauce to room temperature and refrigerate in a covered container. Reheat on the stovetop on medium low or in a slow cooker set to low, stirring occasionally.
This recipe was featured as part of our Game Meat Recipes for the Big Game.