…As with all meat curing or meat projects, it starts with a great cut of meat. For bacon, you want a nice juicy looking pork belly. Remember this process takes time so you want a pork belly worthy of your efforts. This means from organic hogs or hogs raised humanely without hormones or antibiotics. Or from a heritage breed like Berkshire, Duroc, or Kurobuta. Each has a richer, meatier, more distinctive flavour than industrial pork bellies. By the way, a full pork belly weighs 10 to 12 pounds. Whole Foods will sell you pork bellies by the pound, which may be easier to handle for home smokers. Our smoker can’t handle a whole 12lbs so we usually go for the 2-3lbs and we don’t want to make to much of the same kind of bacon at once until we learn our favourites.
After getting your meat youll need to prep it to be cured. The bottom of a pork belly usually comes with skin (rind), which will be tougher than the rest of the bacon. (It also blocks the absorption of the cure and smoke flavours.) Commercial smokehouses remove it using a slicing machine. At home, you’ll have to work a bit harder. Start at one corner and use a sharp, slender knife to separate the skin from the meat, angling the knife blade toward the skin. Better yet, ask your butcher to skin it for you. Do not discard the pork skin. Direct grill it over a medium flame on both sides (start belly side down) until crisp and golden brown to make “brownies”—crackling crisp bits of skin to fold into pulled pork. Or deep fry it in oil to make chicharrones (pork cracklings). It can also be used to give flavour to beans or greens.
Next is seasoning the meat, the basic ingredients are salt and sugar and optional curing salt (sodium nitrite) and pepper. You can achieve a wide, subtle range of flavours by varying the source and proportions of these ingredients: white sugar or brown sugar, maple sugar, or even freeze-dried cane sugar juice. Ground or cracked black pepper or hot pepper flakes. Bacon makers in Scandinavia add juniper berries and other aromatic spices. For this round, we used maple syrup, brown sugar, and curing salt to make maple bacon for breakfasts. How you season depends on who you ask, and the type recipe you use, since this recipe is mostly liquids we simply poured the ingredients into a large zip lock bag mixed and mixed it well before placing the meat inside…
The Sensible Survivalists have a nice article up titled The Basic Homesteading Skills My Grandmother Learned During WWII And Then Passed On To Me. If you are getting ready to start your first garden or just beginning to move toward more self-sufficiency, it’s a good read to get you on your way.
I think the person who taught me the most, especially about homesteading, was my wonderful late grandmother.
She was a young woman in England during the Second World War. It was a difficult time for everyone, especially families. Food and resources were limited, and morale had to be kept up. She and her friends learned so many new skills in order to cope, and managed to make it through in one piece.
My grandmother passed on some of her homesteading skills to me, which has been invaluable for our own experience. Along with those skills, she taught me to be resourceful, resilient, imaginative and tough, and I’ll always be grateful to her for that.
In this post, I want to pass my grandmother’s wartime beginner homesteading skills on to you.
I think there’s something wonderful about taking the painful lessons that our parents and grandparents learnt during difficult times, and then learning and growing from them. I sometimes wish I could go back in time. I would go and speak to my grandmother, aged 17, trying to get a coop of stubborn chickens to lay eggs, and I would tell her that generations and decades into the future, her granddaughter would be applying those lessons to her own homesteading life. I think she’d be happy about that.
To put together this post, I’ve gone back through our family archives, my grandmother’s old notebooks and a few Internet sites to collects facts, pictures and lessons we can learn from today. I’ve found the old WWII posters that my grandmother will have seen at the time, and will share those with you…
Come spend Friday Evenings July 7-Sept 8 5:30-8:00 PM on the homestead learning about Family Herbal Medicine and working with herbs. Herbalism has been around for thousands of years. It has been the traditional method used by people on every continent to support health and bring healing. Today there is a resurgence, a renewed interest in taking charge of our own health and educating ourselves on family herbal medicine know-how. In this 10 week program my goal is to build your confidence in your knowledge and ability so you feel equipped to take care of your family’s basic health needs. Each of these sessions is available individually, they are also available at a discount as groupings (see description below) or at a significant discount when you register for the entire program.
What we will cover over the 10 weeks –
Session 1: Introduction to western herbalism & Burns, Stings, & Rashes
- Why use herbs? Why study family herbal medicine?
- Basic safety precautions
- What herbs are growing around your yard you can use to ease stings and bites
- How to heal a burn fast and reduce scarring
- Herbs for skin rashes, diaper rashes, and facial breakouts
- You’ll also learn the basics of making a poultice and when to use this type of treatment as well as drying herbs, part 1
Session 2: Wounds, Bruises, & Cuts
- How to stop a bleeding injury
- Best herbs for reducing swelling
- Herbs that eliminate infection
- Herbs to have in your family First Aid Kit
- In this session we will learn to make a soothing compress and continue our discussion on drying herbs
Session 3: Coughs, Colds, & Congestion
- Intro to wildcrafting
- Learn the difference between types of coughs and which herbs to choose for each type
- How to shorten the length of a cold
- Herbs that help reduce congestion and allow for easier breathing
- In this session we will make some herbal honey and cover the basics of an herbal bath & steam
Session 4: Fevers, Teething, & Ear Infections
- When to worry about a fever
- What herbs to use for different types of fevers
- Herbs to soothe teething pain and irritability
- How to treat ear infections naturally
- We will cover the basics of making an infused oil
Session 5: Indigestion, Diarrhea, Constipation & Stomach Ache
- We’ll talk about the importance of regular bowel movements and which herbs help
- Herbs that are good for soothing stomach ache
- How to reduce IBS and intestinal inflammation
- We’ll discuss when to make a decoction and infusion and practice making both
Session 6: Tonic Herbs
- This week we move into using herbs for daily health
- We will cover my favorite herbs to take and what they are good for
- Using Herbs as your vitamins
- I will show you how to make a Nourishing Herbal Infusion
Session 7: Anxiety, Stress, Insomnia, & Headaches
- Strategies for reducing stress and anxiety
- How to use herbs to reduce the effects of anxiety
- What herbs help quiet the mind and make it easier to fall asleep
- Herbal treatment for tension headaches
- In this session we will make an herbal tincture
Session 8: Menstrual Disorders
- Herbs you can use to reduce cramping and eliminate bloating
- Treating excess bleeding with herbs
- In this session we will also discuss diet and lifestyle
- We will create an infusion blend and a soothing massage oil
Session 9: Adaptogens & Immune Boosters
- Reduce incidence of illness by using herbs
- Increase your ability to handle stress and bounce back faster
- My favorite adaptogens to use and how to easily incorporate them into your life
- When to use herbs to boost immunity and when not to
- Benefits of Bone Broth and basic recipe
- In this session we will make an infused vinegar
Session 10: Balancing Female Hormones
- Top 6 herbs for balancing hormones
- Herbal protocol for taking control of your hormones once and for all
- Lifestyle recommendations
- Where to buy reliable herbs
- Making your own capsules
This is 25 hours of herbal instruction and hands-on learning opportunity!
Each session costs $35 when bought individually.
You receive a 20% discount if you purchase one of my grouped sessions:
- Session 1-5 $140.00
- Session 6-10 $140.00
Or if you are ready to jump in and take control of your family’s health, then sign up for the entire Family Herbalism Course for only $250.00! That’s a savings of $100
I have space for only 10 people in each class. This is a very interactive, hands-on herb class so be ready to learn tons and have fun doing it!
**Cost for supplies is extra. The list will be emailed to you upon confirmation of enrollment or you can pay a small fee and I will provide all the supplies necessary for each session.
2018 Edit; They now have a ten month herbal school — Huckleberry Mountain Botanicals School.
The Prepared Homestead is offering a workshop in starting your own poultry processing business. The cost is $49 per person and will be held July 1st, 2017 and July 29th in Cocolalla, Idaho.
Who is this workshop for?
Those interested in learning how to humanely, cleanly and efficiently process poultry. And those who are looking for a small business opportunity.
We started out processing our own poultry and in an effort to help us pay for the equipment we started taking on a few other people’s birds. In no time at all, we were able to stay busy processing as many birds as we wanted within our model.
What will you learn?
How to humanely, cleanly and efficiently process poultry (hands on practicum)
How to run a poultry processing line
Learn all the costs involved with processing
Learn the rules and regulations of processing in Idaho
Marketing, pricing and keeping happy customers
Cost? $49 per person
When? Based on the majority interest we came up with two dates: July 1st and July 29th. The workshops begin at 10 AM.
Where? Cocolalla, at The Prepared Homestead. We will provide directions after you register.
Bring a sack lunch!
How do I sign up?
- Click on the link below to pay for a class seat.
- Comment in the facebook group: The Prepared Homestead – Workshops and Classes on the pinned post with your date. Please keep in mind that we need a minimum of 4 students and a maximum of 10 per class date. First come, first served.