The butcher left us with four pieces of fat this morning. Two pieces of leaf fat (from around the kidneys, and two of back fat. I can’t seem to tell them apart so I’ve decided to render them separately as I’ve read that the leaf fat will render cleaner and be amazing for pastry. The other fat I can use for cooking or soap-making.
I cut up the first piece of fat into about 3/4 inch pieces and placed it into a crock pot with about 1/2 cup of water. The water helps to prevent scorching.
1 hour update: No worries about scorching, it’s barely warm. I turned up the slow cooker to high for 35 minutes and finally have some heat.
3 hour update: transferred it to a cast iron stock pot to get warmer.
5 hour update: finally enough to pour off some liquid – about 1/2 L.
Next Morning update: the lard is hardened and lovely white with no porky smell. See the photo above.
Tips: This took A Lot longer than I had expected. A hot, humid August day is not the best time to render lard – I might freeze the last batch and render it on a cold January morning.
Today was the day that the butcher came to process Ham and Bacon for us. I decided to take our son off thrift shopping and leave the day to my dearest husband. He was especially close to the pigs and I felt better knowing he would be with them. I knew it had to be done, they lived a fantastic life, were well cared for and happy, but now as I take a quick break from my lard rendering I’m feeling sad and will miss them. I hope we did well by them and that we continue to do well by the gifts they have given us. Good-bye pigs and Thank-you.
Place all ingredients in a glass jar (canning) in a pan with water. The water level should be about 3/4 of the way up the side of the jar.
Bring the water bath to a simmer until the ingredients have melted, stirring the contents occasionally.
Once the mixture has melted remove the jar from the water bath. Every 5-10 minutes or so until the cream hardens stir the content vigorously with a fork, scrapping the cooled bits from the bottom and sides.
Once the cream reaches room temperature, add about 4 T of Rose Water and beat it with a stick blender. This gives it a more lotion-like consistency. Close the jar’s lid, and store in a cool place.
The morning started with 4 half-pints of tuna lion (I found it in the freezer). I followed the OSU Extension Office’s Instructions for this project. I packed the tuna into the jars, added 1/2 teas salt and olive oil to cover. I poked around with a knife to clear the air bubbles and added more oil to cover the fish. Then I popped on the lid and ring and placed the jars into the pressure canner. I’ve got a weighted canner and our elevation is only 460′ so I’m processing them at 10 lb for 100 minutes.
Next, I turned my attention to the Mystery White Fish from the freezer. I decided to try to cure and smoke it like I would salmon so I mixed together:
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup sugar
1 T lemon zest
1 t red pepper flakes
8-10 Juniper berries
I’ll let this cure for a couple of days in the refrigerator with a weight on it, turning it twice a day. Then I’ll rinse it and ask Joe to smoke it with some fresh apple twinges.
Blackberry Jelly I combined the 6 cups juice I made yesterday with 6 cups of sugar and a couple of teaspoons of cider vinegar. I boiled it forever (it seemed like it) until it finally gelled and then processed it into 8 half-pint jars.
Goat Milk Soap This afternoon I decided to make a batch of soap – only my second so don’t follow my instructions – I just want to remember what I did. I had found a recipe for cold processed soap online using shortening, olive oil and coconut oil along with the goat milk and lye but wanted to add a little almond oil. I was directed to the Brambleberry Lye Calculator where I was able to input the amounts of oils I wanted to use as well as the Superfatting level (extra oils to make skin softer? – I chose 5%) and was able to determine the amount of lye and liquid I would need.
Almond Oil (Sweet)
Coconut Oil (Fractioned)
5% Lye (Sodium Hydroxide) Amount
Ounces of liquid recommended
Current Batch (total oil weight): 23.00oz
Oil Weight gramsounces
I added the lye into the frozen goat milk really slowly – I think it took at least 30 minutes. I wanted to avoid burning it, which I did. It turned out a lovely creamy yellow color rather than the dark orange I had last time. I best part was that I could check on the boiling jelly while monitoring the lye. I should add here that I have grown-up children that know their way around chemicals as I was a science teacher for years so I trusted them to stay away from the lye on the back porch.
The stick blender helped a lot when adding the oils to the lye. It took about 15 minutes to reach trace. Then I just added a little peppermint scent and red color – not sure I’m loving the red. I tried to make a swirl but it’s more of a mush. Oh well, it’s resting quietly, wrapped in towels, all nice and warm.
The evening wrapped up with a little knitting and my accidental assurance that there are so live mosquitos in our house. I put a log on the fire which just won’t stop smoldering. Joe finally took it outside, but the house still stinks.
Two weeks left before it’s back to school for me so I thought I’d better get busy. The camera’s on vacation to the beach without me, but I wanted to write something so I could remember when I started a couple of liquors. I added these to the Mint Tincture I started a week or so ago. I was cleaning the garage to get ready for our sale when I “went freezer shopping” for groceries. I found some bags of mixed berries I made last summer to add to the blackberries from this summer.
I started a batch of Blackberry Jelly, adding a tiny bit of water to the wild blackberries that I picked yesterday and putting them on the stove until the berries broke down. Then I strained it through the jelly bag and ended up without about 4 cups of juice.
I put half of the strained pulp/seeds intosome spiced rum to make a Blackberry Spiced Rum. The other half went into some white rum to make Blackberry Rum for my in-laws.
I also found a few bags of mixed berries while cleaning out the freezer to get ready for the pork – 2 more weeks – so I also started a batch of Mixed Berry Jelly (strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raspberries) using the same method I used for the blackberries. I got another 4 cups of juice.
The pulp once again went into jars with white rum to make Mixed Berry Rum. I meant to use vodka but grabbed the wrong bottle by mistake.
I think this will be it for jam making this year. I put up about 18 half-pints of Spiced Fig Preserves with Orange last week and made 1 jar of Salal Jelly with Blueberries on Monday.
Tomorrow I’m hoping to make at least one batch of Goat’s Milk Soap. Maybe I’ll try to get a few photos with my phone.