Welcome to the Farm (Lyons Press, 2017) by Shaye Elliot, is a fully illustrated and detailed guide to growing your own amazing food right in your own backyard. She offers a wide range of recipes, from jam and jellies to growing fields of organic fruits and veggies. In the following excerpt, Elliott gives readers the benefits of curing meats the old-fashioned way.
Imagine living back in the day when refrigeration wasn’t an option. Here you’d stand, with two hundred pounds of pork, and no cool place to store it. What would you do? I’ll tell you what you’d do. You’d get to curing. Salt and smoke are the two primary forms of curing still familiar to us today. The man who taught me how to butcher a pig, an incredibly talented local meatsmith, taught me early on that salt is magic. Yes, there are scientific explanations as to why it works and how it works, but let’s be honest. It’s just magic. Water is what causes meat to spoil and salt pulls water from the meat, protecting meat from spoilage. Beyond that, salt turns meat into something completely different and complex. Salt-cured meats are the best. There. I said it. Once I’m really cool, I’ll be able to cure an entire pig without utilizing the freezer at all. Until then, I’ll cure what I can and freeze the rest. As with all cuts of meat, they should be thoroughly wrapped in plastic wrap and butcher paper before being labeled and stored in the freezer.
Reprinted with permission from Welcome to the Farm, by Shaye Elliott and published by Lyons Press, 2017.
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