Pigs in Winter

There is, apparently, a Portuguese saying that the happiest times in life are the first year of marriage and the week after you slaughter a pig. While we do not grow pigs ourselves I know that TB would love to be able to do so, if only for all the wonderful products that can be made from this animal.

As we are now in the depths of one of our coldest Canberra winters in some years (we had a minus 5.8??C during last week and we are regularly going down to minus 3??C) this is the perfect time to be making pig products. You need the cold weather to be able to hang your products for air drying without them going off. Last year TB bought a pork leg and made his first prosciutto, he???s also tried his hand at various salamis.


Take one shoulder of pork ….


Use one big boy’s toy …


Produce salamis and hang to dry.

This year, encouraged by a range of authors, (see the list at the end) he has stepped up a notch and has purchased two shoulders of pork from Inglebrae Meat at the Northside Farmers Market. These come from Black Pigs which were grown free range. The aim is to make a number of salamis, a picnic ham and sausages. There will be other treats along the way, including Chinese Pork Bones for tonight???s dinner!


Pork Bones on rice

Meanwhile in the garden the Broad-beans continue to grow and it is definitely time for tying them up. I???ve noticed with the hard frosts that several of the taller plants have fallen over so this is a job that needs doing now. The Snow Peas, in the Red Poles bed, are growing so vigorously up their support that I will need to put another row of twine even higher up the poles to help them. Clearly no one has told the Warrigal Greens that they are not supposed to be frost hardy as the plant continues to grow outside with no protection.

Alas all is not so well in the polyhouse. Our transplanted capsicum has definitely keeled over after the hard frosts of this past week. However the Vietnamese Mint which we are also trialling by over-wintering in a pot is looking quite chipper. It never ceases to amaze me how hardy some of the Asian vegetables are.

Our broccoli is still growing but so far not producing any heads. By comparison friend M???s broccoli is producing regularly ??? a sign of the much more favourable microclimate in her garden which, while it is only a few suburbs away from us, is much more protected than Chez Fork.

For those of you looking to go down the pig product route TB recommends the following books: Charcuterie: The Craft of Salting, Smoking and Curing, by Michael Ruhlman and Brian Poleyn, Cooking by Hand by Paul Bertolli, Meat by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall and Preserving The Italian Way by Pietro Demaio.