welcome, and thank you for joining me on my farm and studio in southern lancaster county, pennsylvania

Saturday, December 6, 2008

bringing home the bacon - literally

this is just a small portion of what I got

So two weeks ago, I picked up the fresh-frozen pork from the butchers, then this morning, I went and picked up the smoked and cured items. I can't begin to tell you how rewarding that was. Filling up my new little chest freezer with meat that was raised here felt really good. It gave me a sense of accomplishment and of a job well done. It was (and is) gratifying to know that the pigs were raised humanely, in the fresh air and sunshine, with healthy food. 

I only kept half of a pig for myself, but even so, I have nearly 90 pounds of meat. There won't be any need to buy grocery store pork for probably the next year. Other than the shoulder roast, I also got spareribs, chops, bacon, ham, scrapple, lard, and the smoked and cured skin - the skin. I asked what people used the skin for and was told it could be used for flavoring soups, baked beans, or other dishes. Or, some people just feed it to their dogs or throw it away, but they include it so folks don't think they were shorted in weight. Oh. Well, in the freezer it went until I decide what to do with it. And for those of you not familiar with scrapple, it's hard to describe. But let's just say that because of scrapple, there is almost nothing of the pig that goes to waste. It may just be a regional thing, but I'd be curious to know if it's available in other parts of the country. And although it may sound gross, lard is great for baking. Before hydrogenated vegetable oil (Crisco) was invented, lard or butter was used. 

On Sunday I made a shoulder roast for dinner with my sister and her family. It was simply wonderful. Flavorful, juicy, tender, and definitely not the other white (tasteless) meat. And even with six of us, we didn't even put a dent in that roast (I froze the leftovers). After Sunday dinner, we had fresh-from-the-oven peanut butter cookies, made with - you guessed it - lard (as well as all the rest of the regular ingredients, which included my own eggs, organic flour, and Crazy Richard's peanut butter). My sister and I both decided that the lard was the secret to our aunt Katie's cookies. Now I have to see if I can replicate my grandmother's shoo-fly pie.

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