I recently walked the realm of meat processing with my husband. Although it’s definitely a process he dominates more than I do, it was still an interesting process to watch and document (yes, I did assist as well).
You would not believe how both incredible and gross working the grinder is. I’m not a squeamish person. I can handle most gruesome scenarios visually. Very little gets under my skin and if something does get to me, it’s normally attributed to any sense but vision. There’s nothing gross about watching the grinder do its job. I would imagine most people can watch this without issue. The sound is a constant squishing though. It was very, very cool to watch but the sound did make me remind my husband it was “ewwwww!”
We used fresh bell peppers and onions for this particular recipe. Look how pretty they are.
And I PULVERIZED them! This was fun, but the onions got to me. As soon as I start peeling any onion during any time of the year, my face promptly protests; it’s not a pretty sight.
Seasoned for yumminess.
Then they’re encased.
These are the same sausages we sell at the Port Orange Pavilion Market. We process everything on site on our property and we bring it fresh to Port Orange on Saturdays from 8-1 (we also provide yummy samples). We have several varieties available, and even some seasonal varieties depending on the time of year.
If you are in the area, come visit us. We also do farm tours so contact us if you would like to see our site.
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So, we processed some chickens on our farm recently and I kept some from market for our family. As always, we used whatever we already had on the farm. Anything else was purchased from local markets.
The first step many people skip is the brining. We always brine the chickens we sell at market. The chicken is juicier and tastes amazing. When we keep some for the house I actually request mine not to be brined because I like to use different brines for different recipes. Brining on top of an already brined bird isn’t going to hurt it. We just have the option of just pulling what we want from the rest of the processing.
The brine I like to use for this chicken is simple. I mix enough water to cover two inches above the bird with 1/2 cup of salt and garlic powder in a large pot. I cover the pot and put it in the fridge the night before cooking (I did add more water in my above photograph).
The next day, when I’m ready to start cooking I preheat the oven to 425F. I put the chicken in my deep casserole/roasting stoneware. I cut a lemon in half and prick it and add it to the chicken’s cavity. I also add 8 garlic cloves (some always fall out).
Next, I mix homemade butter we purchase locally from another farm (raw Jersey cow milk with a small amount of raw, local honey) with salt and pepper to taste, 1/2 teaspoon of paprika, and 1 tablespoon of garlic powder.
Then I slather the chicken with this butter. After slathering, I add 2 cups of chicken broth to the dish and put in the oven covered for 45 minutes.
While the chicken is roasting, I harvest fresh cuban oregano and tarragon. I harvest a good handful of the oregano and about ten tarragon leaves. I chop the fresh herbs.
The next ingredient is a bit trickier to obtain. I use two cups of cream. I’ll be honest. I didn’t have two cups this time around. I had about a cup. I made it work because I didn’t want to go to the store. See the picture of the mason jar above? The cream has separated from the raw goat milk. I just scoop this off a few jars and I have cream for the meal.
I mix the cream with the herbs, five quartered red potatoes, and 1/2 cup of sherry.
When the 45 minutes are up, I remove the chicken from the oven and add the potatoes and cream mixture. I then roast for another 45 minutes uncovered.
This is the result. This chicken was almost 5 pounds. No matter what, check the temperature of your chicken. You want it to be 165F.
What are some of your favorite chicken recipes?
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 cup salt
1/2 cup and 1 tablespoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon paprika
8 cloves of garlic
2 cups chicken broth
5 red potatoes, quartered
1/2 cup sherry
Brine the night before (1/2 cup salt and garlic powder).
When ready to cook, preheat oven to 425F.
Add the chicken to a baking dish. Cut the lemon in half and prick it. Put the lemon and garlic cloves in the cavity.
Mix butter, salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder. Cover the chicken in buttered mixture.
Pour chicken broth in dish with chicken.
Roast covered for 45 minutes.
Chop fresh oregano and tarragon to add to cream, sherry, and potatoes.
When 45 minutes are up, take chicken out and add potato and cream mixture to the dish.
Roast for an additional 45 minutes uncovered.
Monitor chicken temperature. Must read 165F for safe consumption.
When we first moved out into the country, I was more excited about the idea of NOT being a part of an HOA than building up a homestead. Before moving out here, we already had a decent hydroponics set up and I was perfectly content with just improving our produce.
We began buying local farm fresh eggs from other homesteaders. If you have never tried a fresh egg versus a grocery store egg, you simply have no idea what you’re missing out on. And if you are anything like me, eggs are life. Fresh eggs turned into fresh eggs AND raw dairy products. Fresh eggs and raw dairy products turned into fresh eggs, raw dairy products, AND homemade goat’s milk soap. You get the idea. When we would go to the market to purchase these weekly needs, we would stop by the local Tractor Supply.
Well, one day they had chicks and ducklings. I HAD to have ducklings. my husband wanted chicks. You had to buy a minimum of two ducklings and/or a minimum of six chicks. We went home, talked about it, then built a brooder for future babies.
Fast forward a couple of years and we went from two ducks and six chickens, to processing meat birds on a consistent basis, ten ducks, several free range (REAL free range) laying hens, a few roosters, four geese, eight goats, and two miniature donkeys. Each animal has a purpose (other than being loved). Here are just a few of our lovely farm members:
The geese and their new goslings.
This is Brownie. She is around four years old. We had originally bought her daughter when she was two hours old with the understanding that her daughter would be coming home with us at 6 months old. About a month later, the farm contacted us saying the mother would be for sale and we could go pick them both up that day. We really liked the idea of keeping them together so we picked both of them up that weekend.
This is Merida, Brownie’s daughter. Although she is calming down quite a bit now, she has the complete opposite personality to Brownie’s. Brownie is very reserved, but seeks the attention of those she knows. Merida is very curious about everyone and everything. That may change as she ages, but everyone loves it right now.
Donkeys are sentry animals. Their purpose on the farm is to protect everyone else. Their presence is enough of a deterrent to dogs, coyotes, and bobcats. We haven’t had missing birds since we got them.
And they FREAK out over mice… every mouse the donkeys have seen has been squished.
Some of our birds. This is their favorite hangout place.
Jerky McJerkface Jaime. Jaime and I have a love and hate relationship. This is our oldest accidental rooster. We got him and his sister from a 4H group. He was just done with physical rehab. He actually would have died if nature was allowed to take its course, but the kids were bonded so they tried everything they could and he made it. We were told they were both hens. So, we named on Cersei and this one Jaime because of the limp he had (Jaime Lannister from Game of Thrones lost his hand and “Jaime” is unisex, so it was perfect). Jaime turned out to be a boy. One day he started crowing. Jaime has these humongous spurs. Around once every three months he bats his wings at me and charges. I just kind of kick him back and he backs up. One day he got me and I responded like I always do. I was irate so I swore a bit and kicked him back. Our normal. Until I started to walk. It’s comical now thinking back on it. I was by myself and when I took a step I wobbled and I said aloud, to myself “That’s not right” and I fell. I looked at my leg and there was a giant pool of blood. I went into the barn and took a minute to mentally prepare myself for what I was about to witness, immediately thinking of all of my first aid equipment I was going to need (it was really starting to hurt at this point). I pulled back my pant leg and it was such an embarrassment. I had the tiniest hole in my knee. He stabbed me! Long story short, it never got infected and I couldn’t alternate steps on the stairs for a month. He is the best rooster for our girls though. I have seen him chase off snakes and squirrels for them and he respects all the other roosters and our male goose. I’m sure part of it is because no one wants to mess with him, but he really is a good jerk rooster.
Meet some of the goats!
This is Lyris. She was one of our first goats and is a Nigerian Dwarf. She loves to nibble on everything, but is very sweet and loves everyone.
This is Sally, our first goat who is also a Nigerian Dwarf. She is very calm and loves nothing more than to be close to the people she loves.
I love my Lulu. She is a mini Lamancha (Lamancha mixed with Nigerian Dwarf). She rubs against me and gives me kisses. She is also my best dairy goat. She has a grace with everything. She kids quickly, has never had health issues, has no issues letting people handle her kids. She is great and we love her dearly.
This is Darth Vader, Lulu’s son. We are keeping him for breeding purposes so we don’t have to have some of our girls travel for breeding. He’s very sweet and loves to cuddle.
This is Pixie-Rey, Lulu’s daughter. Our daughter named her Rey (from Star Wars), but I felt like she looked very spritely so she got the name Pixie-Rey. She is dainty, quiet, and loves to be held. She will also be staying with us so we can have alternating milking pairs.
This is Buttercup and she doesn’t sit still for pictures well. She is a mini Nubian (Nubian mixed with Nigerian Dwarf). She is one of our dairy goats, though Lulu has her beat in milk production. Buttercup is more reserved until you’re alone with her on the milk stand. Then she really kind of opens up to whoever is handling her. She loves to have her head scratched.
This is Leia, Buttercup’s daughter. We’re keeping her for future milking. This girl is very attached to me. She cannot stand the others getting love from me and will make every effort to get my attention any chance she gets.
This handsome boy is Snoopy. He is another one who is very attached to people and he will follow my husband like a dog. I love his coloring and he will be used for breeding as well.
Some of our ducks. Ducks eggs are actually great for baking.
A teacher at my kids’ school hatched eggs and needed to find a new home for her chicks. We took them home.
We love our farm life and I especially love coming home to “work” with the animals. It may be a lot of work, but it is very therapeutic as well.