The Stone Soup Institute is an international school offering courses of study which integrate traditional and contemporary practices and knowledge in the Agrarian Arts & Sciences, Crafts and Fine Arts.

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Monday, March 3, 2014

Curing and Smoking Meat

From the pigs we processed this winter, we cured and smoked the hams, bacon, and most of the shoulders. They came out amazingly well. We gathered information from books and other farmers to devise a system that fit within our resource constraints.
Here is the smoker. A fire is built in the stove, and the smoke is vented out to where the meat is hanging.
 This bacon has been curing in the curing mixture. It was hung here so we can spray the salt off, so that it doesn't get overly salty.
The meat is hung in the smoker. The circle in the middle is where the smoke will come in.
Here is the smoker closed up.
Inside the smoker.
The final product, hanging in the house. We cut the bacon into usable sizes, and froze it.  This bacon was hands down the best bacon that most people surveyed had ever eaten.
Many a late night was devoted to grinding sausage. Here we have some smoked kielbasa- another amazing blessing from the pig.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

Butchering Pigs

This winter, we processed  the pigs we have been raising. When we slaughter animals here, it is done with song and with ceremony, and in the spirit of gratitude. 

In the image above, the slaughtered pig is getting prepared to be hoisted up into the hot water bath. The hot water will help us to remove the stiff hair from the pig with ease.

Here the hair is being removed from the pig. 

The pig was but in half with a electric saw. The two halves were hung in the cool barn over night. The timing of slaughter is very important. The temp needs to be very col, but not dip below freezing while they hang over night. The next day, we processed the meat.
Here is pig has been cut into three. There is the back third, which will be the ham, the middle third, where the ribs, chops and bacon come from, and the shoulder.  Sausage will be made from any of these pieces.
Here we see that Jimmy is happy with this ham.