Thursday, April 5, 2012
We have been working on converting our old chicken coop into a pottery shed. We insulated it and have started putting plywood up on the walls. We will paint the walls white and let the kids use them as "graffity" walls. Should be a nice extention of our tight quarters right now and may make a good little farm store in the future. Or just an amazing play house! =) For Christmas and birthday from Michael and my parents I got a pottery wheel! LOVE IT! Elle is really enjoying it too. Today we made 3 small bowls and a vase. All very simple, but things we needed around here.
We just bought 1/2 a pig from a farmer down the road. (he is who we will buy our piglets from when we are ready to raise piglets- hopefully next year). We are now enjoying what Michael calls "the best sausage I've ever had." Elle requests it every morning for breakfast. And I made incredible (if I do say so myself) pulled pork sandwiches the other night for dinner. It is so nice to enjoy quality meat, that we know where it came from, how it was treated, what it was fed and how it was processed. (we had our sausage made with NO MSG- so nice to get to choose.)
Here is how to easily render lard in a crockpot. I got the directions from Sheri at Polyface Farm.
Fill the crockpot with the pig fat. Put it on low for about 12-13 hours.... depends on how much fat you have in there, how big your crockpot is,etc... mine is pretty big and I had a lot of fat in it. I could have probably cooked it longer, but I was trying to time getting another batch in and done at a time I could take care of it (ie: not in the middle of the night.) I started the first batch about 9pm, it cooked the hole night and I put it up in the morning about 9:30 and immediately started the rest of the fat I had and put it up at about 9:30 that night.
I won't lie, it is abit nasty. this is what was left after I cooked it down. I disgarded, but could have made cracklings with them on the stove.
I strained it with cheese cloth when I poured it all into a pot. Then I folded cheese cloth again, times 4 and used a rubber band to hold it around a wide mouth mason jar and used a liquid measuring cup to scoop from the once filtered pan into the mason jar- being filtered through the cheese cloth again.
That's it! This photo is when it is still hot, I ended up with about 3 jars, put them in the fridge and they will turn white as they cool. They will last almost indefinately, are great for pie crusts, cookies, green beans, frying anything etc... It has gotten a bad rep, but is actually really good for you... especially compared to shortening. I must say it also worked really well to oil my wood counter tops! I spilled some on there and just decided to use a paper towel and rub it all around, and it sealed it real nice and gave it a good shine. The wood really soaked it up.
This method was SO easy! Literally 5-8 minutes of my time.
Elle's chicks! We got aracauna's (that lay green and blue eggs), road island reds, black astrolops, and orphington buffs. (15 total)