Processing Pork

crocus.jpgDid you miss my post last weekend about my Winter Getaway? This weekend was filled with variety! Luke, his sister and I did a bit of gardening and a bit of farming. On Saturday the three of us went to a grafting seminar and also processed two pot bellied pigs. Afterward Luke and I did a bit of running around to some of the local garden centers and picked up some more bulbs for the flower beds and even found time to finalize the paint on our bee boxes and work our horses. (Phew! What a packed weekend =D )

The grafting seminar was put on by a local non-profit club. It was an accumulation of local gardeners and farmers who bring cuttings of their own produce and then sell them off to keep their club running. They had over 200 varieties of apple cuttings among other fruit trees that do well in this state and vine plants like kiwi, raspberry and strawberries. It was a nice little seminar and the produce was extremely affordable. Luke and I ended up picking up two fuzzy kiwi’s (one male and one female) as well as three different types of apple cuttings.

After the show we went back to the house and grabbed a quick lunch. Then we added root hormone to the vines and apple cuttings and planted them in some soil that we then covered with a plastic bag to keep in moisture and promote root growth. We are trying our luck at starting the apple trees without a bare root stock because we do not want our trees to be dwarfs. After starting our trees we headed over to Luke’s sister’s farm to help her with the two pigs. (If you have a weak stomach stop now! This post is about to get real.)barn

I love visiting Jasmine’s place because her homestead is an old dairy farm! Jasmine has a huge barn that was once the milking barn and her property has several fenced pastures where she is currently raising sheep, goats (who are about to kid any day!), cows, as well as chickens, pigs (well not anymore) and geese. She also has plenty of space for her two beautiful barrel racing horses. One day my land will have several fenced in pastures and a barn! I just know it. Anyway back to the meat and potatoes of this post.

Processing the two pigs took the three of us about 4 hours overall. Jasmine had let the pork hang for two and a half days prior to us processing. We cut the pigs along the spine and then processed them into quarters. Jasmine really only saved the tender loin, ribs and a couple roasts. The rest of the pig I was tasked with turning into sausage. It was nice having a reliable meat grinder as it made the work quick. Remember with sausage you want about 30% of the fat left on so that you get a good absorption of all the flavors when you go to add your seasoning not to mention that nice sausage texture.

After all the meat was ground through we went on to wrapping the cut pieces of pork with saran wrap and butcher paper.  By the end of wrapping all of us were sore from crouching over the work tables that we had to put the ground meat into the fridge for another day. The meat should be chilled and ground through about two more times and then the seasoning can be mixed in to complete the sausage. I am glad we called it quits when we did because on Sunday my shoulders and lower back were squealing at me.  How do you make it through a day of processing your meat? Let me know in the comments if you have any tips or tricks for making this easier on the shoulders, back and joints!

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