Saturday, February 15, 2014

Bacon Success.

Today was day six of curing the belly of pork in the hope of producing bacon as we knew it. It worked! For the past six days the meat has been rubbed, the first four with the curing mix, the last two days just rubbing the meat to make sure the cure was well into the meat. It was then removed from it's wooden draining rack and placed in a large bowl of cold water for two hours, the water was then changed and the bacon soaked for a further hour. I then dried it thoroughly.
Impatient to try it, I thinly sliced six pieces, fried with fresh mushroom and eggs it was lunch fit for a king. We knew from the smell as it was cooking that we had real bacon, a smell that is so hard to get from commercially produced bacon, no shrinkage, no white gunge, it was a taste from long ago. Not too salty, with the right amount of sweetness.
I am now looking forward to making air dried ham and more bacon, from what I have read, both of these require dry curing. We will be using wet curing for baking or boiling ham, bath chaps and gammon steaks. Unfortunately after wet curing the meat either has to be used fairly quickly or stored in a freezer, but we have already resigned ourselves to the fact of needing another freezer.
We are hoping that we will be having our own pigs in June, if they clear the bramble patch they will have done a good job and earned their keep, as well as providing us with food.
Of all  farmed animals, pigs have to be the most worth while, they clear land, they produce a cold manure that can be used almost immediately, they are not fussy eaters, they provide you with pork, ham bacon and sausages and lard.
Today we popped over to the friends that will be supplying us with our half pig, we had promised them some Jerusalem Artichokes for planting, we took some spare ones, just to see if their pigs would eat them, a friend in Spain had tried her pigs with them and the pigs refused them.
Well it appears that Irish pigs are the same as Spanish pigs, the roots were dropped into their trough, the pigs looked and then removed them, showing no interest at all. We will have to have a rethink on roots for our pigs.
The general consensus among people that we know that keep pigs is the price per lb works out to 1.50 , that includes everything, from buying the piglets, feeding them and slaughtering costs. That's cheaper than producing a chicken.
One completed unit.
The re-vamping of the kitchen is coming on slowly but surely, we hope to have it finished before the weather changes to garden mode.
Felix, master of all he surveys.
The younger cats love playing on the ladder, Felix, the younger boy is convinced there is something he has not yet seen at the top of the ladder, Sparky is not so sure about it and prefers to stay on the ground.
 The seeds are ordered as is the crop cover, as soon as the land dries out enough we will be out there,
Getting there slowly.
but while we wait we can continue with indoor work.
Last week we had to go to Roscommon, we had a bit of a look around at all the flooding, rivers and stream are no longer, they are large lakes, as was a football ground.
                     The only thing that will be played there is water polo.
It was a lovely sunny day, and the horses in a field alongside the pitch clearly had spring in mind.
They were enjoying the feel of warmth on their backs,  not only were they having their own horse race, every so often they would roll on their backs, kicking their legs in the air. they were beautiful to watch.      


  1. Well done look forward to seeing your air dried ham recipes.

    our pigs ate artichokes :) they also got loads of hedgerow foraged apples and they absolutely loved the sugar beet which we found at the roadside of our nearest roundabout(each time a lorry went round it lost a few !) they weren't so keen on raw carrots but ate them mashed up with potato peelings

    Kitchens looking good , I too have indoor jobs that MUST be done before the growing season starts proper.

  2. It's great fun trying all these new things especially when it works! Our friends are trying again with the artichokes but this time chopped in with the rest of their foods. I'm trying to track down fodder beet seeds to plant for the pigs, I might end up having to ask friends in Spain to send me seed.

  3. Kitchen's looking good. Nice job on the bacon, too! As to artichokes, we'll just let our pigs root them out or not as they see fit, and plant something else next time if ours, too, are unimpressed.

  4. Our friends are trying again with the artichokes , this time chopping them up with the rest of their food.
    The bacon turned out great now looking forward to doing Bath Chap, faggots and garlic salami as well as more sausages.

  5. Good Morning Anne,
    I must say how wonderful your kitchen looks. Great job. Send me your address and I will send your kitties catnip toys. I don't have a pond and miss having Frogs around. The frog in yours really looks like a prince. Felix is such a handsome boy reminding me of my old boy Sammy. Is the flooding over?. We are having a slow warm up and if it continues I may be lucky and not have anymore water in the barn. Your carrot cake looks wonderful. Spring is in Ireland. We still have snow. I love reading your blog and especially love the van loaded up with compost. My car looks like that most days only its loaded with hay.

    1. We have only had a couple of flurries of snow this year, already the leaves are showing on the trees, it has been very mild. Not much flooding in our area although down south they were badly hit. Yes we love carrot cake and always plant plenty of carrots, they grow well for us. Will email you. XX Anne.