Phew… we’ve had quite the busy week!
2 – 30 lbs hams curing and waiting to be smoked.
13 pints of lard rendered and canned just waiting for pie crust.
100 lbs of sausage (breakfast and Italian) made, stuffed and packaged.
Almost 70 lbs of bacon cured in molasses and maple for 5 days then smoked, sliced and packaged.
~Blueberry Maple Sausage
~Sweet Italian and Blueberry Maple
~Getting a little Maple Yumminess..
~Rubbed and curing for 4 days
~Resting an hour before the smoker
~Smoked for hours and ready for the oven!
We still have so much to do…I must have 80 lbs of fat left to render, but the majority of the hard work is done.
Thankfully a friend rendered fat from a pig that she purchased earlier this month and warned of the odor and being very sensitive to odor myself, I am glad that I decided to cook the fat outside on the porch in slow cookers…It definitely had a certain smell to it. Outside it wasn’t bad, actually we were cleaning up the yard in anticipation of hurricane Sandy and my son yelled “it smells like potato chips!”, which it did. 🙂 That being said, when all was said and done I had the whitest snow-white lard I’ve ever seen. Because our pigs spent their lives outside in the sun, their fat is chock full of vitamin D, second only to cod liver oil! Can you imagine?? Have you ever tried to stomach cod liver oil? Not my favorite by any means. Good to know that my pastries and morning eggs will have serious amounts of vitamin D…perfect for the winter. Yay!!
Anywho, here is how I did it. You can literally set-it and forget-it!
~Sunny day rendering a little lard
Cut your fat into small pieces, the smaller the better, the more lard you will render out.
Place it all in a crockpot
Add 1 inch of cold water to the bottom of the pan
Set the crockpot on the lowest setting
Cover and forget for about 6 hours
You’ll see the fat shrink and the lard will begin to fill the pan. When the fat (which will become cracklings) begins to brown, it’s time to strain, strain through cheesecloth in a strainer. This will be the whitest of white lard. Perfect for baking. Pour hot lard into sterile jars and top with sterile lids. They will self seal and be shelf stable.
Place the fat pieces back in the pan and continue to render. When the cracklings resemble bacon pieces, you can strain it a
gain and this straining will be a bit darker and have a little bit of a bacon/pork flavor, perfect for breads and frying. Anything that you want to have a little more of an in-depth flavor. Some people save the cracklings and add them to salads or anywhere else you’d want a little crunch. I can imagine that a chicken breast coated in panko crumbs and cracklings would be AMAZING!
I, however ended up tossing them as it was really late and I was kinda tired of them…if I’m being completely honest. 😉
~lard, glorious lard
Here is the dream shot, although not a great one…
~Our own eggs AND bacon!!
From the very first egg gathered from our backyard chicken house over 3 years ago we said “wouldn’t it be great to have our own bacon to go with it!”…
Much to the nay-say of others and many thinking that we are nuts….we did it!
We did it!!
And we will do it again, next spring.
It has been so much more than a learning experience, it has really made me more aware of where my food comes from and where I WANT my food to come from.
I do have to admit that I can’t wait until next year to have little piggies running around outside…they really are such neat creatures. ❤
If anyone local is interested for next year….let me know. We would love to share our home grown food. 🙂