* I really promise that after this, I will try to write fewer posts about meat. It just so happens that we are in the midst of processing right now, and we thought readers may want to see how sausage is being made here at Fernwood. Believe me, I’m ready to take a break from pork products as well. I hate to say it….but I can’t eat another sausage. ( bacon’s a different story). So…… Yesterday, I joined forces with a friend for a day of sausage making. We have been wanting to make some dry cured sausage and because we both had pigs butchered, the making of sausage was part of this week’s work. Before we tackled the dry cured sausage, we made several batches of fresh sausage. Many kinds of fresh sausage are made here each time there is pork to process. We freeze links and patties of various types of breakfast sausage and Italian….both hot and sweet. Our recipes become rather creative. We’ve made fresh ginger, apple, garlic, and sage sausage. I think we threw dried cranberries in this batch as well. Another favorite had winter squash, maple syrup, garlic, sage, and fresh ginger mixed with the pork. Yum. Into the Italian sausage, we sometimes add sundried tomatoes, pesto, and parmesan cheese, along with plenty of garlic and spice. A hot cast iron pan is always on stand by for taste testing. Dry curing sausage is a bit more tricky. Air drying is not just a way to cure meat but also a way to enhance the flavors. As the meat hangs, it dries, and the natural flavors, along with the ingredients used to cure the meat, begin to intensify over time. The tricky part is drying your sausage in a controlled environment. A place where the temperature and humidity are consistent. Typically, the temperature and the humidity differ in needs a bit, but generally you want to maintain a temperature of about 60 degrees and a humidity of 70 percent. There is a lot to properly and safely drying sausage, not just regulated temperature and humidity. Sanitation, curing salts, lactic acid and live cultures ( if you are using them), mold ( both good and bad), are all parts of the drying process and things you want to know something about before trying to dry your own sausage. We decided to start with a simple recipe called Saucisson Sec, a type of french dried sausage. It is a mild sausage made with garlic, black pepper, sugar and salt. We mixed our sausage and put it into the natural casing links. Now they are ready for drying. We will store these in an environment we can control both the temperature and humidity, and then wait……about 20 days, when we can see the effects of drying. Time will tell. We had the good sense to start with a fairly small batch, just in case the drying doesn’t go well. We’ll keep you posted.
“>Over the last week, we have been processing the final pig we butchered. All the major cuts….chops, roasts, hams, and loin are wrapped and in the freezer. The bacon is curing in its brine. A variety of savory and sweet sausage are linked or formed into patties. This morning I made scrapple using my grandmother’s old recipe. We often ate scrapple for breakfast as a kid while with her. I love it as much as bacon, and certainly more than sausage. My aunt Jane, my grandmother’s youngest daughter, who is also a fantastic cook, shared this recipe card with me a long time ago. I don’t think she’s in the habit of butchering her own pigs, but I know for certain she’d approve of all this “pork making”. If she lived a little closer, I would be sharing plenty of homemade Italian sausage with her for her well known and epic spaghetti sauce ( long before it was cool to do so, she was rolling out her own handmade manicotte dough).Scrapple is basically a mush of cooked pork scraps and trimmings combined with cornmeal and spices. It is then formed into loaves and set to chill until it firms up and congeals. Later, you can slice it and fry it……. it’s really, really good. Not kidding. It is traditional to the Pennsylvania Dutch who refer to it also as Pon Hause.
We will freeze most of what we made and share some with neighbors. I know of one friend who summers on the lake and will be arriving here shortly, who will be over promptly to get his share of scrapple.
Today, we will be cooking down the pig fat for lard, which by the way, was used to grease the scrapple pans. Nothing wasted.