You may have just come from a buying binge, and guess what you bought? Pork and lots of pork. You definitely cannot eat all of it in one sitting. What do you do now? You preserve it. Here are ways you can keep the pork meat from spoiling over a long period of time.
REFRIGERATING raw pork may preserve it up to just 3 days. If it is already cured ham, it may stay up to 4 days. Hotdogs, bacon and smoked sausages may keep up to 7 days.
If you want to let it stay longer, FREEZING is one good solution. Your freezer has to be 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. Make sure you use plastic packaging that is food grade and for freezer use. This material is a bit thicker than the usual plastic bag. You can also use freezer paper which you wrap around your pork, with the waxed side close to the meat. Pork meat can last up to 6 months frozen.
If you are not in a hurry to consume your pork, you can BRINE it, which takes a bit longer than salting. Cut the pork into slabs and place in a jar. Make brine from 3 quarts of water, 1 lb of pickling salt and half a cup of brown sugar. Pour this over the pork that is inside the jar, making sure it is covered all the way. Store the jar in a cool area with 36 degrees Fahrenheit temperature. After one week, remove the pork slab and stir the brine to mix ingredients together, and then put the pork back in. Do this every week for a month. If at any time before that the brine becomes too thick, throw the brine. Wash your pork well, and make new brine, and do the process again until you finish the month.
SALTING pork requires cutting it into slabs then using pickling salt and brown sugar. For storage, you can use jars. For 12 lbs of pork, you mix half pound of the pickling salt and one-fourth cup of brown sugar. Spread this liberally over the pork. Cover it with cheesecloth and place inside the jars. Store the jars in an area with temperature of 36 – 38 degrees Fahrenheit, where it can stay for a month. Don’t freeze it; just put the jar in that cool area.
CANNING is not limited to fruits and vegetables. Cook the meat in high temperature to kill the bacteria. Then put it inside cans to store.
A pork jerky is done by DEHYDRATING the pork meat. Slice the pork no bigger than one-fourth inch. Discard the fatty portions as these spoil easily. Tenderize the meat, then marinate with salt, spices, oil, vinegar or lemon juice, or wine. Place the marinated meat inside the refrigerator overnight. Heat the meat by boiling it for 5 minutes. Drain it dry on paper towels. Then place the pork slices on dehydrator trays or if you are using the oven, place on cake racks on baking sheets. You may use the oven at 140 degrees Fahrenheit, or the dehydrator. You would know it is done when the meat cracks, but only bends, and not breaks. It may take 10 – 24 hours, but start checking on your meat after 3 hours. When it is dried up, remove oil by patting it with paper towel. Cool the pork strips, then place in jars or food-grade plastic bags. You can also vacuum seal it for added longevity.
Before you perform any of the preservation methods, make sure you have quality pork, and your preparations use clean utensils and materials. Fresh pork is pinkish and has no smell. If it has a ‘best before’ date, follow it. Jars have to be washed thoroughly, or if you are re-using an old one, sterilize it. Plastic bags have to be food grade, and if you are using the freezer, it should be freezer-safe, too. Otherwise, the bag might break and contaminate everything else inside, and your pork meat will be contaminated by the others, too. Wash your hands and wash the pork itself. Use different tools when handling raw meat and cooked meat.
If you want to enjoy your meat with less hassle, freezing is the best option. Remember, once you defrost it, don’t refreeze.