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Home and Farm Food Preservation
Food Preservation Recipes
Chapter XXXIV - Recipes for the Home Preservation of Meats and Eggs


The meat preservation recipes given in this chapter (with the exception of the fish preservation recipes), were taken from Farmers' Bulletin 183, written by A. Boss. The fish preservation recipes were furnished by H. Davi, at present with the Bureau of Chemistry of the U. S. Department of Agriculture.

Recipes for Home Curing of Meats.

(126) Plain Salt Pork.

1. Prepare a clean hard wood barrel by thoroughly scrubbing the inside with hot water and washing soda or a little lye and rinsing thoroughly with water. Sirup barrels, alcohol or whisky barrels that are still sound and sweet may be used. A large stoneware crock is also suitable.

2. The meat must be properly and thoroughly cooled because if salted before the animal heat is out the shrinkage of the muscles cause the retention of injurious gases, giving an offensive odor to the meat. It must not be frozen because the salt will then not penetrate. Ordinarily 24-30 hours' cooling after slaughtering will be sufficient.

3. Cut the carcass in pieces about 6 in. square. Rub each piece with fine salt and pack closely in a barrel. Let stand overnight.

4. The next day weigh out 10 lbs. of salt and 2 oz. of saltpeter to each 100 lbs. of meat and dissolve in 4 gals. of water. Allow this brine to cool thoroughly.

5. Cover the pork completely with this cold brine and weight it down with stones or other heavy weights to keep it completely immersed. The pork should be kept in the brine till used.

(127) Corned Beef.

1. Cool the carcass thoroughly but do not allow it to freeze. Cut in pieces about 5 or 6 in. square. The cheaper cuts such as plate, rump, cross ribs, brisket, etc., are ordinarily used. Fat beef gives better results than too lean meat.

2. Weigh the cut meat carefully and allow 8 lbs. of salt to each 100 lbs. of meat. Sprinkle a layer of salt
in. thick in the bottom of the barrel. Pack in as closely as possible the cuts of meat, making a layer 5 or 6 in. thick. Then put on a layer of salt, following that with another layer of meat. Repeat until the meat and salt have all been packed into the barrel, care being used to reserve salt enough for a good layer over the top.

3. After the package has stood overnight add for every 100 lbs. of meat, 4 lbs. of sugar, 2 oz. of baking soda, and 4 oz. of saltpeter dissolved in a gallon of tepid water. Three gallons more of cold water should be enough to cover this quantity. In case more or less meat is to be corned, make the brine in the proportion given.

4. A loose board weighted down with a heavy stone or other weight should be put on the meat to hold it down under the brine.

5. In warm weather the brine may become slimy or ropy. If this happens make a new brine of 8 lbs. of salt, 4 lbs. of sugar, 2 oz. of baking soda, and 4 oz. of saltpeter to 4 gals. of water. Pour off the old brine and wash the meat thoroughly. Add the new brine. If the meat is kept a long time the brine should be changed occasionally. The meat will usually be corned and ready for use in 6 weeks.

(128) Sugar Curing Hams and Bacon for Smoking.

1. Cut bacons in proper sizes and trim hams and shoulders after meat has cooled. Weigh.

2. Then pack in a barrel with the hams and shoulders in the bottom, using strips of bacon to fill in between or to put on top.

3. Weigh out for each 100 lbs. of meat, 8 lbs. of salt, 2 lbs. of brown sugar and 2 oz. of saltpeter. Dissolve all in 4 gals. of water and cover the meat with the brine. For summer use it will be safer to boil the brine and allow it to cool before using. Place a few pieces of board on the meat with weights to keep the meat immersed in the brine.

4. Bacon strips should remain in the brine 4 to 6 weeks and hams 6 to 8 weeks before smoking. In case the brine becomes slimy or ropy remove it, wash the meat and cover with a fresh brine made as above.

(129) Dry Curing of Pork for Smoking.

1. Cut bacons to proper size and trim hams and shoulders. Weigh.

2. For each 100 lbs. of meat weigh out 5 lbs. of salt, 2 lbs. of granulated sugar, and 2 oz. of saltpeter and mix them thoroughly.

3. Rub the meat once every 3 days with a third of this mixture. While the meat is curing it is best to have it packed in a tight box or barrel. For sake of convenience it is advisable to have two barrels and to transfer the meat from one to the other each time it is rubbed. After the last rubbing the meat should be let lie in the barrel a week or ten days, when it will be cured and ready to smoke. It cures best in a cool moist place; and the preservatives will not penetrate satisfactorily in a dry warm place.

(130) Salting Beef for Drying.

1. The round is usually employed. Cut the fresh meat lengthwise of the muscle fibers so that the fibers will be cut crosswise later for table use, after drying. A tight jar or barrel is necessary for curing.

2. To each 100 lbs. of meat weigh 5 lbs. of salt, 3 lbs. of sugar, and 2 oz. of saltpeter. Mix thoroughly.

3. Rub the meat with a third of the mixture and pack tightly in a large jar or cask. Allow to remain 3 days. Remove and rub with a third of the mixture. In repacking, put at the bottom the pieces that were on top during the first salting. Rub again with remaining third of the mixture. Let stand 3 days. It is then ready for smoking and drying. The brine forming after each salting should not be removed but the meat should be repacked in the liquid each time.

(131) Preservation of Fish by Salting.

1. Select fish that are fresh.

2. For large fish such as salmon and shad, cut off time head; scale, split in two down the back and remove back- bone and visceral matter. Clean fish thoroughly. In splitting the fish two pieces very much alike will be 01)- tamed. Make three or four straight incisions on the outside of each piece so that the salt will penetrate. Then cut the two pieces in half crosswise making four pieces for each fish.

3. Make up a saturated brine so that it registers 95 on the salometer or simply prepare a brine of 3 lbs. of salt per gallon of water.

4. Immerse the fish in the brine. Leave immersed 48 hours. A wooden weight should be used to keep the fish completely submerged.

5. Remove the fish and drain thoroughly 3 to 4 hours. Use 5 or 10 gal. kegs for packing. Place the fish in the bottom of barrel on layer of salt with flesh side of fish upward. Sprinkle with a layer of salt. Add another layer of fish; then another layer of salt and so on until the keg is full. Cover with a thin layer of salt. Cut a circular false head to fit inside the barrel and weight it down heavily.

6. After a month drain off the oily liquid and replace with a saturated brine of 3 lbs. of salt per gallon of water. Weight down again and examine occasionally. The fish is ready for use in 5-6 months. Crocks may be used instead of barrels, but barrels seem to give a better flavor.

7. Small Fish. Small fish such as herring, anchovy, mackerel, and sardines are not cleaned. Immerse in saturated brine of 3 lbs. salt per gallon for 24 hours. Then proceed as directed for large fish by packing in dry salt.

8. Salt. The salt used should be granular, not too fine.

(132) Home Made Smokehouse.

A good form of smokehouse is shown in Fig. 56. It can be made of any size. If a very small one is to be made, a large dry goods box or an old barrel may be used. It should be so arranged that the pieces of meat will hang clear of each other and-so that the smoke will pass freely around the pieces. The smoke should he generated outside the house and conducted to the bottom of the house by means of an old stovepipe or covered ditch. If a larger house is built it should be 8 to 10 ft. high. One 6 x 8 ft. will be large enough for ordinary farm use. Ample ventilation should be arranged to carry off the heat. Small openings under the eaves or a chimney in the roof will be sufficient, arranged so that they may be controlled. A fire pot should be built outside the house and the smoke conducted into the house by means of a flue made of stovepipe or wood. If the meat hangs 6 or 7 ft. from the floor a fire may be built on the floor of the house itself.

(133) Fuel for Smoking.

Green hickory or maple smothered in sawdust of the same wood are considered excellent for smoking pork and beef. Any hard wood is superior to soft wood. Corn cobs may be used but give off carbon that may darken the meat. Spent tan bark from tanneries is the best material for smoking fish. It is also very good for other meats. The wood should smolder and smoke and not burst into flame.

(134) Ham and Bacon.

1. Cure the ham in brine or salt as described in Recipes 130 and 131. Rinse off adhering salt and allow to drain. Hang in the smokehouse.

2. Smoke continuously for 2 or 3 days or smoke 3 or 4 hours each day for about 2 weeks. Use hard wood or spent tan bark for smoke.

3. As soon as the meat is sufficiently smoked, open the doors and windows of the smokehouse and allow meat to cool. When thoroughly cooled, remove and wrap each piece closely in paper. Put the wrapped pieces in strong sacks and tie well at the top. The sacks should be hung where they are to remain until the meat is used. The sacks should be coated with a thick paste of lime, water and enough glue to make the mixture stick. Do not stack in piles. Hang so pieces do not touch.

(135) Dried Smoked Beef.

1. Prepare the beef by salt curing according to Recipe 132. Rinse off adhering salt and hang in smoke house. Allow to drain several hours.

2. Smoke for about 3 days. Then hang in the kitchen or a dry attic and allow to dry until sufficiently dry for slicing.

(136) Smoking Large Fish.

1. Use fresh fish only. Scale. Clean. Cut in half clown the back and remove backbone. Cut in pieces about 6 in. long.

2. Prepare a saturated solution of salt (3 lbs. per gallon of water). Place fish in this brine for 24 hours, keeping them immersed by wooden floats.

3. Remove from brine and allow to drain 4 hours.

4. Construct a smokehouse as previously described but make a number of wire netting trays that may be supported in some way in the smokehouse. They may be supported on cleats, nailed to the sides of the house if it is small, or by wires from the rafters if the house is large. A number of trays may be placed one above the other if a space of a few inches is allowed between each pair. Lay the fish on these wire netting or wire screen trays.

5. Smoke the fish 10 to 12 hours with tan bark smoke. Obtain this from a tannery. If this cannot be obtained use any hard wood chips smothered in hard wood sawdust.

6. Remove the fish and dry in the sun 3 to 5 days. If the sun is not shining, dry in a very slow oven or any form of fruit dryer. (See descriptions of artificial dryers, Chap. XII, par. 68.) Wrap in paraffined paper and pack in boxes in a cool dry place.

(137) Smoking Small Fish.

1. Cut off heads. Scale and clean. Split so that halves just hold together.

2. Store in brine of 3 lbs. salt per gallon of water for 20 hours. Remove and drain 4 hours.

3. Smoke 8 hours, using spent tan bark if obtainable.

4. Dry in the sun 2 to 3 days, or in artificial dryer. Wrap in paraffined paper and pack.

(138) Drying Fish.

1. Place the fish in a brine of 3 lbs. of salt per gallon of water as directed in Recipe 133. Drain 5 hours.

2. Dry several days in the sun or in artificial evaporators until most of the moisture is removed. Wrap in paper or press into bricks and wrap. Store in dry place.

(139) Dried Beef and Venison ("Jerkey").

This can only be made in a dry arid climate.

1. Cut in strips about 2 in. wide and 1/2 in. thick. Rub with a little salt and sprinkle heavily with pepper to repel insects.

2. Hang strips on a clothesline or long wire or string in the sun till dry. Pack in sacks.

(140) Preservation of Eggs in Water Glass.

1. To each pint of water glass obtained from a grocery or drug store, add 9 pints of water. Pack the eggs in a stoneware crock, tin can, or wooden vessel. Fill with the water glass and cover to prevent evaporation. Store in a cool place.

2. Alternative Method. Prepare a solution of 1 cup of water glass to 2 cups of water. Dip the eggs in this solution and allow to dry on a layer of flour or bran. Dip again the next day and allow to dry as before. Pack in bran and store in a cool place. Or pack in dry salt. This is preferable to bran.

3. Caution. Use only fresh eggs and if possible non-fertile eggs. In method (2) use clean, very dry bran.

(141) Preservation of Eggs in Lime and Salt.

1. Slack 2 lbs. of lime in a small quantity of water. Mix with 2 gals. of water and add 1 lb. of salt. Stir thoroughly and allow to settle.

2. Pour off the clear solution and use it for the preservative. This will be sufficient for about 12 doz. eggs.


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