I have a farm mentor, and for this I am blessed. Her family farmed “in the old days” for generations, and they’ve passed down stories about the ways they used to do things, before modern technologies like refrigeration.
She’s a treasure trove of tidbits of wisdom, and now and then she dispenses them to me. And because this information is valuable and shouldn’t be lost, I’m sharing it with you. Keep in mind that this is oral history, and the methods of food preservation I will share may not pass modern standards of food safety. That said, this is one of her stories:
How to store pork for the winter
“My dad told me stories of the annual fall pig butchering with his extended family. The whole family gathered at my great-grandparent’s farm after the first hard frost. All the adult children and their kids (my dad and all his cousins) brought all their pigs to one place.
“The family tradition was to raise one pig for each person in the family plus one extra for feeding company during the year. The men did the killing and the scalding/scraping. The women helped with the cutting and rendered the lard over open fires. The kids stole scraps of meat and pieces of liver, stuck them on the end of a stick and roasted one bite at a time in the scalding fire. That was one of my dad’s favorite childhood memories.
“In the days before refrigeration, the whole family would gather for hog butchering day. Once the pork chops were cut from the loin, the women would fry all of the pork chops and pork steaks and put them sizzling hot into a large crock, layered with hot melted lard. When the crock was full, it was topped off by a thick layer of hot fat. The crock was then stored in the root cellar, and when you wanted pork chops you would scrape off the lard, retrieve your chops, then “re-seal” the remaining chops with another layer of hot fat.”
If anyone tries this method, let me know 😉