No, I’m not talking about the weather–even though this chunk of the Eastern Seaboard has been running about twenty degrees below average, not to mention the rain. Nor am I talking about politics, however easy it is to get all heated up about that. This week, we’ve got appliance mishaps.
The first was probably the most significant: due to the vagaries of the electrical wiring in the house, the chest freezer was on an extension cord–a nice circuit-breaker one, to be precise. All well and good (although the safety-minded would probably fuss about that detail). Until one of the dogs accidentally steps on the “off” switch of the breaker, shutting off power to the unit. How long? We aren’t sure… The denser things at the bottom of the freezer were still frozen; warmer air, being what it is, rose to the top, and the things up there didn’t make it so well. We salvaged most of what was in there, but it could easily have been worse. (We did, also, adjust the power situation–it’s not fixed, but that room’s not “done” yet, either.)
The second was a refrigerator repair. Fortunately, it was a quick one, easy enough for just about anyone to do themselves. One of the cooling coils on our model has a tendency to ice up; this ice can extend to where a circulation fan spins, leading to an horrendous racket. But the fix involved removing everything from the fridge–all food, all the shelves, all the drawers… Then reassembling. Not difficult, no problems–but I should remember one day to tell the story of the spigot on the iced tea container…
All of that, combined with a recent New York Times article got me thinking again about preserving foods without a fridge. All you really need is salt–we’ve been doing that for hundreds, if not thousands, of years–and a reasonably cool place such as a cellar. I’ve done the duck prosciutto from the article many times, and it’s fast, easy, and delicious. I’ve even done several sides of bacon, to say nothing of lonza and basturma. The guanciale recipe sounds delicious, and I’d love to try the beet-and-horseradish cured salmon from the article. Indeed, I’ve got a couple of books on charcuterie and salumerie. Perhaps a nice series of articles, maybe towards fall, when things begin tooling off, would be the making of preserved meats?
That’s about all I’ve got for this week; I’ve been busy doing what I can do around the homestead in between the rain. I’ve finally got my bees, and they’re doing that bee thing; our chickens are producing fairly nicely, and we’re expecting another 15 chicks in a month or so; the garden is planted, and things are moving along. How are your homesteads coming?