Day 6 – Rendering lard
Almost finished! We got the lard rendered, but first of all it needed to be minced. Back to Julie and the mincer. We also rendered the suet fat, but I’m not convinced we got the right fat, as it’s not gone hard when set. The rendering took ages, and I don’t think we did it right. It overcooked, and went a bit dark in colour. More investigation is needed here! We took the brawn out of it’s mould for testing, cut it up and froze it.
Day 7 – Salting the ham
And finally, with all the other meat, fat, offal, processed and stored, I got time to make a box to salt the large ham in. Now we wait for four weeks, after which we will hang it to air dry for a few months. It may be ready for Easter!
All in, we got about 100kg of meat from our one pig. We hadn’t fully appreciated how much meat this is, and were fairly unprepared for managing the sheer quantities we had. We will be much better prepared next time! We’ve got some more research to do about preparation methods, and may try a different style of butchery next time, as we’d like to end up with some neater looking joints for roasting and curing, and I’d like to try keeping the skin on the carcass for easier butchering. That said, we wanted to use as much of Richard, our pig, as we possibly could, and I think we’ve done pretty well in achieving this.
I hope this diary proves useful to someone else! It fills in some gaps that we were unable to find when we were researching.
As a final note, I am in total awe of the village Bulgarians, who manage all this in a matter of a few hours, from their tiny kitchens, tiny fridges and no freezers. Respect!
** Update – one year on, and we’ve learned a lot and butchered two more pigs **