I think refrigeration and sell-by dates have messed with the modern mind in terms of what can and cannot be eaten. We also have a distorted view of how food can be stored.
Less than a few hundred years ago, ships were crossing oceans, pioneers were trekking across vast distances and people were living in homes without any refrigeration or the FDA.
Descendants Of Refrigerator-Less People
The lesson we need to learn is that food preservation and storage have been around for thousands of years. Electricity and fridges did not make food storage possible, only more convenient.
⇒ 5 Ingenious Ways To Refrigerate Your Food Without Electricity
The FDA would probably have a fit if they saw your great-grandmother’s kitchen and pantry. Yet, here we are, alive and kicking, descendants of refrigerator-less people.
Shelf Stable Bacon
Shelf-stable means foods that can be stored at room temperature for prolonged periods. Shelf-stable bacon sounds like something that most modern people would think impossible. I mean, it is well known that meat outside a fridge spoils. Right?
Not so fast. You can cure and smoke bacon to be hung in an unrefrigerated area for a very long time. How long? Well, until it turns to dust.
It will lose nutrition and become hard as wood, but you can still cook and eat it. And even if it tastes awful, it won’t kill you. Shelf-stable bacon can be made by dry-curing your pork belly, smoking it if you want to, and then hanging it somewhere dogs, rodents, and insects can’t get to it.
Slabs Of Belly For Bacon
I will rarely work with meat that I bought from a butcher, simply because it may have become contaminated. Irrespective, you will need a couple of slabs of pork belly.
I prefer something that fits into my curing pans, which can accommodate a slab of no bigger than 12 inches by 12 inches. Work according to the size of your containers or fridge.
Applying The Cure
The curing ingredients are simple. Salt, brown sugar, and some spices for flavor. Salt and sugar are essential. The flavoring depends on you.
⇒ What Happens If You Pour Sugar Over Your Meat
Mix the salt and sugar in equal portions. I mix a cup of each at a time. Rub the cure onto the entire surface of the pork belly. Everywhere. Bottom, sides, top, little fold, everywhere.
I don’t use pink salt or nitrates of any shape or form. However, don’t confuse Pink salt with Himalayan Pink Salt. You are welcome to use it if you want.
Then place in an airtight container and put in the fridge or the pantry. The cooler the environment the better. You can place it on an oven roasting grid so it doesn’t sit in the moisture that leeches out.
Then, every day for about one to two weeks, you repeat the following procedure:
- Remove from the fridge.
- Drain out the fluids that leached into the bottom of the container.
- Re-apply the curing mixture where you see areas where there is no curing mixture left.
- A week should do, but you can go longer if you want. The longer you go, the more salty the pork belly will be.
Hanging Out To Dry
Once your pork belly has lost enough moisture and absorbed enough curing mix, it’s time to remove from the fridge and hang it out to dry. Many people say that you should rinse off all the cure from the belly and dry it with a towel before hanging. You can do that.
I just brush off the excess cure with a stiff brush and hang it immediately. There is a place toward the back of my kitchen, well ventilated, dry, and a fly-free zone. I just hang them there.
⇒ Cheap And Easy Way To Build A Root Cellar In Your Backyard
A friend of mine installed a UV light in his pantry to kill bacteria etc. The thing is, my grandmother didn’t have a UV light, and she was fine. It’s really up to you.
Smoking The Bacon
You have the option of cold smoking the pork belly at this stage. This adds flavor and deposits an extra layer of acidity onto the meat that will serve as additional protection against bacteria.
But to be honest, by now there are almost no bacteria that will grow on the outside of the pork belly and spoil the meat.
Modern food storage guidelines and sell-by dates have convinced us that food needs to be stored very precisely or it will become deadly, which is true, but not that hard to do.
It’s a fact is that food stored incorrectly is dangerous, but you don’t need to be a modern food scientist with a bag of chemical tricks and a building full of freezers to achieve what your great grandmother did in her kitchen daily.
“There is a place toward the back of my kitchen, well ventilated, dry, and a fly-free zone. I just hang them there.”
Could you explain how you have a place in your home that is fly free?
My Grandmother had a screen box for her cured meats to hang in. Her home although typical German Housefrau CLEAN still had flies. Something about a working homestead and the cows.
Flies don’t enter dark places. niio
It’s not a republican or democrat thing. It’s about US. Our group, out Team. No politics, just us. Please, rethink and remember who we are and and what we stand for.
I am in Australia… We would love to purchase all these books in hard copy but they are only available in digital form. We have the digital copies but they are unworkable without the computer… Does anyone know how I can source the hard copies of all “The Lost Ways” and associated books?
Ask, and may you receive! niio
As much as i like bacon, I am going to try and follow the Torah and avoid it. It does have some medical advantages as well by not eatting it.
You do what’s proper for you. Peace.
murder: hope it works out!
Meat is murder, MMMMMMM murder! I am a member of PeTA, People Eating Tasty Animals!!:)
You probably can do most meats like this.
I understand and honor your belief, though i don’t hold it myself.
True it does have certain medical benefits in avoidance, but in a survival situation avoiding starvation takes precedence in my mind.
Karl: Now, modern dieticians are recommending a carnivore diet. A complete turnaround form the hippy 60s crowd. niio
This is a good article for us to bring in some other forms of meat storage.
I cure my own pork belly, have one bacon, that is going on three and a half years now. It just hangs around and looks good for me, if I had to eat it.
Cured another bacon and I had it wrapped in chess cloth, it is two yrs. into its hanging around time.
I just took it out of the chess cloth, and it looked better then, the one that was exposed two the room. So, I will be wrapping all my bacon in chess cloth.
Also have a pork loin that I cured, and it is hard as a rock, but you can knock off a chunk and grind it up or crush it and then add it to some other food for added protein. Don’t add salt to your food, because the salt is in the meat, already.
Thank you for this article.
I am trying every possible way I can to give myself the advantage to be able to survive until my time is over. So, I don’t have to rely on anyone, other then, those that are around me.
Better take advantage of what is being put out here. Even if you never use it, at least you have the knowledge.
I’ve also started to make fermented foods. SUPER good for you.
May GOD be with Y’all in these coming times, of pearl…
AND don’t get relaxed, thinking nothing is going to happen; it happens when you least expect it.
and stay on point…
Remember it has to fall before it can be rebuilt. We are at the fall, waiting for the next thing to happen.?
I sometimes watch the Norwegian cook, Andreas Viestead, on Scandinavian Cooking. He takes hard cured meat and grates it as flavoring on top of fresher meats. He uses a hand held grater and grates a similar amount as one would cheese. He does a lot of his cooking outdoors and using fresh foods just picked, some wild foods.
Amen to your post of John 3:17.
Yes, I too watch a lot of shows about every kind of cooking there is.
I think it will be a good thing to have, hard cured meat to help stretch out the food that you do have. Every little bit will help prolong the starvation that will come next, when the food run out. Stay strong…
Yes, amen to our savior.
Meat for flavor is something that was normal for most of mankind’s history.
That meat is a complete protein is a Beef THAT’s for Dinner thing.
Beans and wheat or rice or niximized corn is the bulk of the meals of the rest of the world.
Adding a daily small egg or a dab of meat fulfills the “Missing” ammino acids. The Roman army marched the known world being fed beans, a small loaf of whole wheat bread, scrounged greens and the portable protein flavor known as Garum. Garum is worth looking up as it is what today would be called fish sauce. Before freezers fish were eaten as caught or salted or turned into Garum.
My father cured two hogs he raised. Here is how he did it the old fashoined way.
First he buthchered the hogs and cut up the meat. Then he salted and sugared all the meat(hams, bacon, hog jawls, pork chops etc.) He did this when it got cold outside and had an old storm shelter that was below ground for the meat to cure in. He laid the meat out on burlap sacks and rubbed the meat down with the curing mix. He would go each day and turn the meat and add curring mix to it if it needed it after about a week he scrapped or brushed off the cure and reapplied cure mix. He did this for two weeks. Then he brushe off the cure and took the hams and bacon to a shed he had and started a fires and let the hickory smoke go thrugh the shed for about 3 days then he said it was cured and let it hang wrapped in bulap to keep the flies off. That was the best meat and some of it stayed in the shed two years and was still good when we ate the last of it.
And John 3:18….
hey red, i think you mean CHEESE cloth, not chess right? its a good article though.
Steve. Chess and cheese cloth, same critter. I haven’t been getting replies to posts, sorry. A lot of us aren’t. niio
I would just mention that while you write this article from a perspective of being an alternative to the electrical grid, your preparation method that you used is grid dependent (you use the fridge for a main part of your process). Would probably have been more effective to demonstrate without the use of the fridge and just mention that as an option vice using it to focus on off grid alternatives. Thank you however, for the article.
Marti Baker Girl, I was wondering about that as well. I’m assuming it would first need to be smoked if refrigeration wasn’t available.
This article was very helpful and so down to earth. I appreciate it.
Piney woods: A lot of sausages aren’t smoked but keep well. Prosciutto is only salt-dried pork. It’s drying that ‘cures’ the meat and keeps it stable. niio
It was always a winter activity, the outside cold replaced the need for refrigeration. Harder to achieve in sub tropical regions but those areas tend to have food available for most of the year anyway so less need to store meats long term. In temperate areas a meat safe can be used which keeps the contents cooler than room temp but does require a drier climate for the evaporation to work it’s cooling trend. There is usually a way to keep something cool.
It would depend on the location and time of year. Fairly impossible around me (coastal Virginia) in the summer without refrigeration, but late fall through winter? Absolutely. I use my screen porch as overflow for the fridge during the holidays, learned that from my in-laws up in Northern Ohio who have a really long cold season. You just have to know that your max temperature isn’t going over a certain level.
I don’t see why it would keep for you. Virginia-style ham was popular across the deep South and as long as it stays dry should be fine. niio
Traditionally, “hog killin'” is in November in Virginia after the hogs had rootedup the leftover peanuts and fattened up. You salt cure the hams then hang and smoke them in the smoke house. This during the winter months when it’s much cooler to cold. Then they’re eaten through winters end, spring and summer. There’ll get a little mold on the outside but it’s either washed or scraped off before the ham is brought in to slice thinly AND ENJOY on biscuits, sandwiches and as the protein at a meal 😉
Oh, shoot! I was so hoping someone would instruct me on how to make the same thing as Yoder’s canned bacon!! I really want to know how to do that, so that it keeps a very long time in the “jar”.
There are YouTube videos of canning bacon. I’ve watched them but haven’t tried it yet. It’s quite a process. But I believe if you can can hot dogs and beef and pork loin then canning bacon is certainly an option.
I can bacon. It’s pretty easy to do and lasts for years. I roll mine up in parchment paper (to keep it from sticking to itself), put it inside my canning jars and process for 90 minutes for quarts at 11# pressure (or whatever you use at your altitude).
I would also like to know that.
Go to the rebel canners, they will tell you how to can bacon
Here is an article on How To Can Bacon
One more thing, though has nothing to do with Bacon nor meat…I am heartily suggesting you do whatever you must to buy yourself or your group (to share) a freeze drier!! We have been FD the fresh apricots from a local orchardist friend, and YOU WILL NEVER EAT APRICOTS AS GOOD AS THE FREEZE-DRIED VERSION! Holy Smokes! I just called my orchardist friend to order more!! 🙂 Lots of Iron and Betacarotene, Vit. A, C, etc., etc. The only real problem you will have with these is that you will have a hard time eating just a few at a time!! YUM!!!
Aw go ahead, why limit yourself?
You are right about how good freeze dried freshly picked fruit is. I purchased a freeze drier for my son and his family. He made some peaches that were freshly picked. Absolutely a wonderful delicate flavor!
My aunt (my father’s sister) had a number of apricot trees in her uard. She layed a door size screen on some saw horses, covered it with a layer of apricots, halfed with pits removed, and put a second screen on top to keep the insects away. I have NEVER had better tasting dried apricots.
Jess, we don’t freeze dry, but just dry/dehydrate. We usually dry pears and apples as the bulk but we do dry other things as well. We especially like dried pears, so yummy! Drying fruit seems to concentrate the sugars and they’re sweeter when done. I am going to dry tomatoes this year and then powder them for use as tomato sauce or paste. Of course onions, herbs and other things get dried as well. Corn I let dry on the stalk, then it is shucked and hung in the garage until it is very dry. Sometimes I use mesh laundry bags for that. I grow Painted Mountain Flint Corn (90 days) and we use it for next years seed, corn meal and flour . Cornbread and a simple flat bread. It grinds very easily.
Thank you for the information. As per marti baker girls comment, if you don’t refrigerate it to draw out liquid, what will happen? Do you need to do something different in lieu of frig, sort of leaving on counter for the sugar salt mixture to do it’s job.
Nico: old-timers packed fresh meat in salt. Traditional corned beef is fresh beef packed in salt the size of kernels of wheat ‘corn’. If you want meat to get pink rather than gray, you have to use cure. The other way was to ferment the meat with sugar and a mold, MEK 15, I think it is. Any meat that’s used for long storage should be as fresh as possible so it’s not infected with bacteria. niio
Can you just put the cure on and then put it in a dehydrator to get rid of the excess moisture?
the article says,”Then place in an airtight container and put it in the fridge OR THE PANTRY.”
I think you’re all set there.
Many years ago, we raised our own pork and cured it using the mortons book as a guide. The bacon oozed salt as it was cooling and was very hard. The book gave directions for a Tender Quick ham, this consisted of curing the ham as normal, and when you got ready to use it, soak the ham over night in cold water, dry off and prepare as usual. So I tried soaking the bacon slabs over night and Lo sand behold all the excess salt came out and the bacon was like store bacon.
This info may help you if you are having the same problem.
We had no freezer till I was already in school. Before that, hamburger was destined for hot dogs or other sausages. Cure was used and it was all smoked down. Butchering was in late November and anything not cured and dried had to be used before March. We had a good, very cold spring for anything that needed to be kept for a few days in summer. Butter and cheese was stored in the back of the cellar (dug out under a part of the backyard) where it rarely got over 60 F even in July. niio
What about other types of meat besides pork? This was for bacon, I’m assuming that other types of meat can be preserved in similar manner, namely venison as I always have an ample supply on hand. Between our leaders running us into the ground and hurricanes down here along the gulf coast I’ve been looking into ways to store things without refrigeration. Will this method (or one similar) work for other meats as well?
The open line is 100% truth “I think refrigeration and sell-by dates have messed with the modern mind in terms of what can and cannot be eaten.”😉😉😉
I have a cheat-sheet of actual pull dates put together by a food bank. They are often given foods close to or past their pull dates so they researched and worked out how to interpret pull dates more honestly. Just because the pull date on that can of beans is July 15, 2022, does not mean that it’s going to be harmful to cook for your family.
In the ‘olden’ days, you bought a slab of bacon, tossed into a saddle bag, and headed off into the wilderness, now I buy bacon and it molds.
I don’t understand the process but there are hams and sausages being cured in today’s world that are allowed to mold. The mold is scraped off and it is safe to eat. I am not saying that your bacon is safe if it’s moldy. There just must be ways of curing meats that makes it okay to have mold growing on it.
I also wonder if we’re a bit less tolerant today. Back in the 1960’s, a missionary from Georgia went to visit a remote indian tribe in Mexico. He spoke of being served chicken that was green with mold. He did not want to offend their kindness to him so he claimed the verse, “if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not hurt them”. The missionary gave the praise to God and was fine. As a child, my family ate jam preserved with melted paraffin wax. We scraped the mold off the top and happily spread the jam on Mom’s home made bread.
Sure would be nice to be able to just throw a slab of bacon in my bag and go.
Dry cure will often bring up a white mold (Gallo dry cured salami comes to mind). Black mold is not good to consume, bad stuff. One of my grand mothers would boil bacon before frying if it smelled off, or had a little mold that needed scraped off. I don’t know how much of it I ate growing up, but it was a bunch.
O’ yes, the old wax on the top of your jelly. I did not like it much that way. Wax always gets in the jelly.
I do remember that my mom would scrap off the mold on chess that we had. I still do that today. My wife hates that. lol…
Did not waste anything back then. Now, it’s not a big deal to waste food. I see it everywhere. Sad.
Sagebrush Lin Good Morning! I think part of the issue is a SLAB of Dry Cured Bacon that you can scrape off any surface mold Vs a pre sliced bacon that that mold can easily grow all over each slice.
I’ve eaten enough scraped clean slab cured meats and dry cured hams we scraped off the mold.
Great Article, appreciate it much!
However I have problem with sugar on bacon or in any otherwise salty food.
I understand the curing necessary effects of sugar, just I don’t like the sweet taste hidden in the bacon.
My issue comes from living in Japan, where too much sweet tasting foods are everywhere.
A sweet tasting sausage or salami drives me nuts.
I’m too conservative perhaps out of Budapest, Hungary
OK. The salt-sugar mixture appears to be the preservative and drying keeps away rot. So why not make a strong salt-sugar-water bath and soak the meat in it instead, so that the salt-sugar penetrates and then hang to dry? Or maybe even leave submerged in the bath until ready for consumption?
Trevor because the salt-sugar rub is to draw OUT water from the bacon. If you soak it in a brine the salt-sugar cannot draw out water from the meat.
Brining is something you do to meat to keep it MOIST when you roast it. Like brining a chicken before roasting it so it stays moist.
Hey, git a medical question for ya.
What did you guys do on the ED foe swimmers ear?
Got a grand boy who is pretty miserable. Dr. Gave him Amox and some drops but still a hurting boy.
My ED days are long gone and I only worked trauma.
Thanks in advance.
When I lived in a little old house in the country I had a wood stove for primary heat source and would sometimes load it with apple wood on the not so cold days of the winter.
when that got going good I would snuff it out/close the intake vents and a insert a pound of sliced cheap store bought bacon on a cookie sheet right on top of the smoldering apple wood. Leav it in there for 10- 20 minutes depending on the heat keeping a close eye not to overdo. I called it bacon jerkey and it was amazing! it would keep unrefrigerated for several weeks. I only know this because I lost a baggie of it once in my truck and found it several weeks later.. it was still good.
When American soldiers got into Germany during WW II, they would search buildings and houses for weapons. A search would sometimes yield a small door on the upper part of the chimney that had cords running into the chimney. The GIs naturally inspected this to find that hams and other meats were at the end of the cords being smoked in the chimney, not the weapons they were seeking. Needless to say that meats were “liberated”.
Geez ease up on the politics and just give us the factual information.
Would anyone in this group have a step by step way to dry cure a full ham? I want to learn all I can about dry cured Meats. Thank you everyone.
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