Sandwich spread, spiced ham, ham loaf, Spam. It has many names. I’m sure as soon as you read “spam” you either thought “Yes!” or you may have thrown up a little. I will tell you that homemade “spam” is nothing like today’s cheap meat in a can Spam. Depending on the spices you use in making it, it can be different every time you make it as well.
You can also “can” this wonderful concoction and make it into a sandwich “spread”, but it will cook in the jar, as does any meat.
So, here we go:
- 1½ pounds fatty pork shoulder, cubed
- ¼ pound skinless pork belly, cubed
- ¼ pound ham, cubed
- 1½ teaspoons pickling salt
- 1/8 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1/8 teaspoon dried jalapeno powder (we like spice)
- 1½ teaspoons sugar
- ½ teaspoon garlic diced
- ½ teaspoon dehydrated onion flake (or dehydrated ramp flakes)
- ½ cup ice water
- To make the grinding easier, place the pork, spread out in the freezer on a tray until well chilled. Not frozen, just well chilled. You are working with RAW PORK, PLEASE USE PROPER FOOD PRECAUTIONS, KEEP YOUR MEAT SEPARATED AND AWAY FROM OTHER FOOD.
- Once everything is chilled, process the pork in sections in a food processor, once each one achieves the texture you desire add to a large bowl. I like my ham a little bigger pieces then the pork and pork belly.
- Now add all your meat together and mix with a mixer with the spices.
- Slowly add in the ice water to the meat and spices. You want to mix this until it is emulsified well. Meat paste. (I do realize that sounds gross….)
NON CANNING METHOD:
- Transfer into a greased small loaf pans; smooth top with a greased rubber spatula. Cover tightly with aluminum foil and place in a larger pan with 2-inch tall sides. Fill the larger pan with hot water halfway up the sides of the loaf pan. Bake in a preheated 300°F oven for 1½ hours. Let cool completely before removing from pan. Cut into thick slices and serve cold or shallow fried until crusty.
- Requires a pressure caner. Make sure you understand completely how to pressure can meat before doing this method!
- Prepare your WIDE MOUTH Pint Jars as you would for normal meat preserving.
- Make sure your meat mixture has NOTHING FROZEN LEFT IN IT!!!! NEVER can anything that is frozen or overly cold!
- Pack your meat mixture into your jars leaving 1 1/2 inch head space.
- Do not add any additional moisture.
- Clean the edges of your jars, place your lids and rings (tightly but not like Samson tightly)
- Place in your pressure caner and FOLLOW YOUR CANER’S DIRECTIONS!
- Meat MUST pressure can for 75 minutes for pints once it reaches the canning stage.
- Let your caner de-pressurize, and once you remove your jars, you will need to leave sitting for at least 24 hours. Make sure they seal.
- Place on your pantry shelf and you have processed spam as a quick grab.
NOTE: The canning method COOKS the meat in the jar, so it is the shape of the jar. Using the Wide Mouth jars allows you to “slide” it out of the jar and slice the spam and then fry or use as a spread, its already cooked!
It may seem like a lot of work, but the flavor is so much better than anything that is mass produced! You will never eat store bought again!
Until Next Time,
Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice
With summer arriving in full heat, so do the cucumbers. Who doesn’t love a crisp dill pickle? Not to many people make brine or “crock” pickles anymore because they not only take several weeks to make, but many people today do not understand that the “stuff” that comes to the top, is good bacteria and is needed for the fermentation process of the pickle. There are good bacteria and bad bacteria, the good is what is needed and creates a film to help ferment your pickles to perfection. Fermentation also has a “smell” to it. Not a rotten smell, but just an odor. Old fashioned crock pickles are cured by fermentation and the scum and the odor is the fermentation agent. It takes 3 weeks (or longer, I prefer about 6 weeks) in cooler temperatures to complete the process of fermentation. During that process your pickles will go from a bright green to an olive or yellow green color. Do NOT have your crock or fermentation “jar” in a warm area, it should be below 75 degrees F. We utilize our pantry which is in our basement for all fermentation’s as well as our canned and dry goods.
You can keep them in the crock with the salt brine all winter or you can preserve them by canning them. I prefer to can mine. I water bath my pickles, well if they last that long anyway.
For my pickles, I use a 1 gallon fermentation “jar” with weights. The lid has a hole in it (my husband did this in the correct sized “lid” in which the fermentation “vent” sits nicely into. You can also use an old fashioned crock with weights and a cover.
You can not make crock pickles from store bought cucumbers!!! Please read that out loud. YOU CAN NOT MAKE CROCK PICKLES FROM STORE BOUGHT CUCUMBERS!!! Why? Because store bought is coated with a wax film to keep them looking pretty longer. You must use strait from the garden fresh cucumbers. No bigger than 4 inches long and make sure they are “skinny”. Not too fat so the texture is good, you want young, bright smaller cucumbers.
You will need 5 lbs of cucumbers that have been washed and have any dirt and blossom and stems removed. Do not peel or slice.
Since I have 1 gallon fermentation jars, I make 5 lbs at a time of crock pickles. So this is the recipe for 1 gallon of fermentation dill pickles.
- 5 lbs of small cucumbers, washed
- 8 cups of water
- 5 fresh heads of dill (flower)
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and slightly crushed
- 2 dried bird chilies (this is optional)
- 1 tablespoon of mustard seed
- 1 tsp of peppercorns (optional)
- 1/2 cup of PICKLING salt (DO NOT USE SEA SALT, TABLE SALT OR IODIZED SALT!)
- 1/4 cup of white vinegar
- In your crock or jar (make sure it is clean). Add a layer of 2 dill flowers, 1 chili, garlic, mustard seed, peppercorns.
- Add in your cucumbers layering them as tightly as possible.
- Add in your remaining dill “flowers” then a couple cucumbers to hold them down.
- Heat your water, vinegar and salt until it is hot, just under a boil and the salt is dissolved.
- Pour your mixture over your cucumbers and spices. There should be enough to cover your cucumbers but not completely fill your crock or jar.
- Add a plate or fermentation “topping” over your pickles, then the weights on top of the covering to hold everything down well below the top of the brine.
- Your cucumbers must always be below your brine, safely submerged at least 2 inches below the brine. You may have to add salt, vinegar water to your brine if evaporation happens during your process.
- I add a fermentation lid and vent to mine, to cut down on the evaporation. You can also use a cloth over the top.
Now we move our crock to a cool place, I use my pantry and wait. I check on my crock about once every 3 days to make sure the brine level is up and there is nothing “funky” happening. Your pickles are ready in 3 weeks, I like to wait a little longer. You can transport them in half gallon jars with the dill brine and keep in the refrigerator or you can preserve them in pints/quarts using the water bath method for pickles.
Until next time,
Mrs. Kay Lynn Rice