Friday, January 20, 2012

Making Food (Part 2)

Okay, it's time for the next steps in the processing of our pigs. I'm going to concentrate on the final processing steps to render a carcass into food.

This man really gets into his butchering!

We used the last of our shrink bags on the hams. We froze them fresh and I process them into ham as I use them. Our Thanksgiving ham was brined for 4 days and roasted. It was FANTASTIC!!!

Charlie was grinding the second pig. Because we use so much ground meat we went ahead and ground most of the smaller pig. We ended up with ribs and about 50 lbs of burger. We didn't find anything wrong that we could point to to explain the unthriftiness but he's good eatin' nonetheless.

Making Bacon

Here is the Wikipedia artle about bacon

Bellies and the ingredients for the brine. I did not use any nitrate sources, just salt, sugar and spices as our forefathers did it.

I boiled 3 gallons of water and poured it over everything. It took about 3 hours for the water to cool and I put the bellies in it, suspended from a rack.

It cured for about a week and then we smoked it for a day. Dad built a smoker a few years ago and it's so great to have!

This is the set-up. These are all smoked and ready for slicing.

The bacon doesn't taste like store bacon and for that I am glad. It just cemented it more clearly in my mind that all the commercial flavor is from questionable ingredients. I prefer home-made bacon thank you!

I don't remember where we got the slicer but I sure am glad that we have it.

Making Head Cheese

Here is the Wikipedia article about headcheese. I had been looking forward to creating this incredibly nutrient-dense food for many, many months. I think I wanted to name one of the pigs Head Cheese, in fact! Now that I have done it, I look forward to creating it with a steer head too! Beware, there are pictures of pig eyes and tongues and teeth. I made no attempt to disguise the appearance of the heads.

The heads waited so patiently to be processed.

This is the bigger pig, skinned and ready to go in the pot. I even brushed the teeth and rinsed them with vinegar.

I put celery, carrots and onions in with the head and boiled it for about 4 hours.

I picked the meat off the head, including the tongue and pulled out the brain. Everything except eyeballs, went into the head cheese.

This is my 3 gallon stock pot, that was nearly when I pulled out the head. I boiled down the liquid until I was maybe 3 cups. It took on a very silken appearance and was thicker than cornstarch gravy.

I looked up a recipe and it said to roughly chop the meat, so I did. come to find out, most people mince it finely so it has more of a potted meat texture. Oh well, next time I'll do better. :P

While the first cheese was setting up I skinned the second head and got it boiling.

Each head filled a regular bread pan to the top. I was amazed that it worked out so perfectly! I poured the reduced stock over the meat and set it aside.

The first cheese, gloriously gelled!

I roasted all the bones and boiled them up into bone broth. I reduced 24 quarts of broth to half a gallon and froze it. Whenever I have need of some I just take the tub out of the freezer for 10 minutes, scoop out a spoonful and put the tub back in the freezer. It takes up much less space and is so much easier than trying to deal with all that regular broth.

I hope you enjoyed my journey into making food. I continue to experiment and create my own food and I thoroughly enjoy it. Due to dietary restrictions, I will be making butter, buttermilk, yogurt, cream cheese and cottage cheese for the next few months. I will be taking many pictures and posting those processes as well so stay tuned!



Miss Meshow said...

Looks great!

The Cupp Family Farm said...

Great job! Neat post!

Anonymous said...

I would love to know about the yogurt culture you use. I haven't been able to find one that makes the milk thick. I use raw goat milk.

About Me

We're a family that came to Alaska in shifts. We've been here since 1995 and don't plan to leave any time soon.

For Jaime

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" The government that is big enough to give you everything you want is strong enough to take everything you have."

Thomas Jefferson President 1801-1809
Died on JULY 4th, 1826



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