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Fall pigs: why now is the time to get your hog!

Pasture raised heritage breed Mangalitsa pigs: sow and piglets

Way back when, long ago, in the mists of time, the folks who homesteaded the land had hogs.  Fat hogs.  Hardy hogs.  Hogs that didn’t need a lot of pampering and could live off the land.  Even in the fall, going into winter, there were no worries about taking care of the pigs.  Once it froze and the grasses finished curing and the flies disappeared, it was time to process the fat pigs and wean the little pigs for next year.

Welcome to the world of the Mangalitsa.  These guys are heritage pigs that thrive on heritage living.  They don’t fear the cold of winter.  They can thrive on a variety of feeds.  The sows take care of their young well.  In fact, the whole herd watches out for the young.  The other day two sows, one with piglets, gave me a  hard time when I went into look at them.  Then I realized the puppy had followed me in.  They didn’t appreciate her presence!  The Mangalitsa is the ultimate homestead hog for our farm.

You can get your own piece of heritage today! Fall is a fine time to start your Mangalitsa for next year.

  • For one thing, there’s not as much competition, so prices are lower.
  • Also, they grow fine on the extra veggies and other feeds you can scrounge. We feed hay, meat scraps, household scraps (the old “slop bucket”), apples, and root crops.
  • Due to their heritage genetics, they don’t need you to break the ice in the waterer.  If there’s snow, they are set.  (That flies in the face of common thought, but we’ve proven it.  Nature rarely provides running water in the winter and these guys are still adapted to survive.)
  • They do need shelter and bedding, but a hut and a bale of straw will suffice.  They don’t need a heaeted barn.
  • In the spring they’ll grow exponentially and be ready to butcher before you know it!  The yield of rich red meat and creamy lard will be worth the wait.

Check out these posts to see how the Mangalitsas have performed at Baker’s Green Acres:

Pigs and Cute

Fill Your Freezer

Pig Breed Comparison

Now’s the time to get your Baker’s Green Acres heritage hog for next year!  Check with us for fall specials on weaner pigs, half grown feeder pigs, and breeding stock.

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Lard FAQ: What you asked about fat

Mangalitsa lard fat

Lard FAQ: What you asked about fat

 

“What is lard?”

“Where does lard come from?”

“Are lard and tallow the same thing?”

You ask great questions!  Here’s the quick answers:

What is Lard? Lard comes from pork fat.  The fat can come from the back, covering the loins (pork chops), or from around the internal organs (specifically the kidneys, hence the name “kidney fat”).  The leaf, or internal, lard is a drier fat more commonly used for baking.  The back fat renders into a more all-purpose lard.  However, both are

Where does lard come from? The fat can come from the back, covering the loins (pork chops), or from around the internal organs (specifically the kidneys, hence the name “kidney fat”).  The leaf, or internal, lard is a drier fat more commonly used for baking.  The back fat renders into a more all-purpose lard.  However, both are useful for baking, frying, soap making, and any other use you have for shortening.

Pork fat is raw and has to be rendered, or processed to separate the fat from the protein and water.  Read more about that here.

Are lard and tallow the same thing? No, Tallow is beef fat.  Lard is pork fat.  Chicken and duck fat are a bit more straight forward as to their origins.

Here’s the video I recently made to answer these questions and more:

Read more about how to render lard here: Lard 

Get a great recipe for donuts fried in lard here: Lard and Donuts

Here’s a video on how to render lard, Praise the Lard (rendering lard),” “Tips for rendering fat.”

Get your rendered lard here: Mangalitsa lard, 1.5 lb.Get raw lard  and leaf lard here (ON SALE THROUGH SEPTEMBER, 2017!).Mangalitsa lard fat

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Chicken nuggets recipe: gluten free and paleo

Chicken nuggets: gluten free

Chicken Nuggets: Paleo and Gluten Free

The girls and I did our first Facebook Live video today! What’s for dinner?? Homemade chicken nuggets!  We did a gluten free version that is a known favorite and experimented with a paleo version.  The Paleo chicken nuggets turned out pretty good, too!  Our first attempt at a live video wasn’t all it could be, but you’ll get the idea.  Plus, we talk about some other cooking and nutrition topics along the way.  Scroll down for a printable copy of the recipe.  Head over to the Baker’s Green Acres store to get your boneless skinless chicken breast, chicken tenderloinschicken legs or thighs, and Mangalitsa lard so you can make this tasty meal for your family!  (Spring Break Special: until March 31, 2017 use the coupon code “chicken” to save 15% on any chicken you order!)

What's for dinner? We're making homemade chicken nuggets with a gluten-free and a paleo breading. The recipe will be on the farm news blog this afternoon at www. Bakersgreenacres.com.

Posted by Baker's Green Acres on Friday, March 24, 2017

Chicken Nuggets with Paleo Breading
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

This popular dinner treat is easy to make at home, even if you aren't eating grains.

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Mark & Jill Baker
Ingredients
  • 1 lb. Mangalitsa lard
  • 1 lb. GMO free, pasture raised boneless, skinless chicken breast
  • 1 cp. almond flour
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic: diced fresh or dried
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper
Instructions
  1. Place the lard in a deep frying dish and heat over medium to medium high heat to pre-heat to 350-400 degrees.

  2. In a gallon size ziploc bag, combine the dry ingredients.  Set aside.


    GMO free chicken nuggets recipe paleo ingredients
  3. Slice the chicken breast across the grain into slices about 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into smaller pieces if desired. 


  4. Place pieces into the bag and shake until the chicken is thoroughly coated.  Allow to set for a minute or two so the coating adheres to the pieces.

  5. When the fat is hot, carefully place the pieces in it.  Cook for about 3-4 minutes until the meat is white up the sides.  Turn and cook for about 3 more minutes.

  6. Remove the pieces from the fat and drain on a cooling rack or on absorbent paper.  Enjoy with your favorite sauce: mustard, honey mustard, BBQ, or ranch.

    GMO free, pasture raised, gluten free chicken nuggets
Recipe Notes

Try using other non-grain "flours" such as potato flour or coconut flour. Each has a unique flavor to add.

 

 

Homemade Gluten Free Chicken Nuggets
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
20 mins
Total Time
35 mins
 

Homemade Gluten Free chicken nuggets are easy and tasty.  With just a few ingredients you can have a healthy dinner that will be a family favorite!

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs. GMO free, pasture raised boneless chicken breast or tenderloins
  • 1 cp millet flour
  • 2 tsp. sea salt
  • 2 tsp. garlic: fresh or dried
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 1 tsp. each spices: thyme, marjoram
  • 1.5 lbs. Mangalitsa lard
Instructions
  1. Place lard in pan such that there is 1-1 1/4 inch of fat in the pan when melted.  Heat over medium-medium high heat to a temperature of 350-400 degrees while preparing other ingredients.

  2. In a large ziploc bag, combine the flour, salt, and spices.  Set aside.

  3. Slice the chicken breast across the grain in roughly 1/2 inch slices.  Cut into smaller pieces if desired.  Tenderloins don't need to be cut.  Place pieces in the bag of flour and shake until they are all coated well.  Let set for a minute or two.

  4. Be sure the fat is hot enough, then carefully lay the strips/nuggets into the hot fat.  When the pieces are nicely browned on the bottom and the meat is white up the edges, carefully turn them over.  Fry on the other side until nicely browned.   It should be around 3 minutes for each side.

  5. Remove pieces from pan and drain on a rack or on absorbent paper. 

  6. Enjoy with your favorite sauce: mustard, honey mustard, BBQ, or Ranch!

    GMO free, pasture raised, gluten free chicken nuggets
Recipe Notes

Possible substitutions for millet: potato flour or flakes, corn meal, rice flour.  You can use wheat flour if the gluten is not a concern to you.

Change out the spices to keep it interesting: basil, fennel, and corriander; rosemary and sage; curry and extra cayenne.

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What’s for dinner: a whole chicken turns into oven fried chicken

So, you know cooking with REAL food is good for your health and tastes better, but, golly, it’s so much more expensive!  Well, I have a long answer to that involving health care dollars, environmental costs, human welfare costs (immigration issues, migrant workers, sharecropping farmers).  But, what I’m going to show you today is how to turn a $16 whole chicken into $25 worth of chicken parts, along with one of our family’s favorite recipes.  Anyone who’s been to a Homestead Hog Harvest class and cooked with me knows I’m not so much of a recipe person, but I’ve reconstructed it below, along with my suggested alterations.

Oven Fried Chicken: Gluten Free

This is an easy, healthful way to make a classic favorite. 

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Author: Mark & Jill Baker
Ingredients
  • 3.5-4.0 pound Pasture raised whole chicken
  • 1.5 cups ground millet or millet flour
  • 2 tsp. mineral sea salt: Himalayan pink salt or Real Salt
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 2 tsp garlic: fresh or dried
  • 1 dash cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 1 tsp thyme, marjoram, rosemary, and/or sage (optional)
  • fat to cover pan bottom: bacon fat, lard, butter, sesame oil, grapeseed oil
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

  2. Combine flour or meal, salt, pepper, and spices in a gallon size plastic bag.  Shake well. 

  3. Cut whole chicken into serving pieces.

  4. Place chicken pieces into bag, seal, and shake well to coat the chicken thoroughly.  Set aside while you prep the pan.

  5. Put enough fat (Mangalitsa lard, butter, sesame oil, or grapeseed oil) in a 9x13 pan so that it is about 1/8 - 1/4 inch deep.  Place in oven to melt the fat if using a solid one.

  6. One by one, dredge the chicken in the fat, skin side down.  Set into pan skin side up for baking.  If there's a little fat in the bottom of the pan when you're done, it's ok.

  7. Place in oven and bake for 30-45 minutes, until the skin is crispy brown and the juices run clear when you poke a piece of chicken. 

  8. Enjoy!

Recipe Notes

Other options for the flour: corn meal, almond meal, wheat flour (it's no longer gluten free, but it'll work).

Feel free to adjust the salt and spices to taste.  We like lots of salt and garlic, so I add more of that.  The spices I use depend on the mood of the evening. Experiment with new ones, like parsley, basil, fennel, and corriander for a more Mediterranean taste.

Spices are a great way to add more nutrition and more variety to your diet.  Walk on the wild side and try adding one new one a week, or play with different combinations.  This recipe is very accommodating that way.

DO NOT use olive oil.  The ones mentioned are healthy for you and stand up under the heat of cooking.  Olive oil breaks down and goes rancid when heated.  It's great for raw foods and salads, not so much for cooking.

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Lard and donuts

A few weeks ago we had a yucky winter Sunday afternoon and needed something to do.  Since Mark was in a lard rendering mood, we took advantage of the abundance to make DONUTS.  I almost never buy donuts as the white sugar, white flour, and unknown frying fat resign the delicacies to “edible non-food” status.  You can eat them, but there’s no good nutrition in them and the “white” ingredients are just plain unhealthy.  So, we make them when we enjoy them.  And, nothing fries food like lard.  

Here’s the video of our adventure:

Yeast Donut Recipe

Mix together:

  •  1 cp. lukewarm milk (preferably raw)
  • 1/2 cp. raw cane sugar
  • 1 tsp. RealSalt mineral sea salt

Stir in until dissolved:

  • 2 pkgs (2 Tbsp.) yeast

Stir in:

  • 2 farm fresh eggs
  • 1/2 cup soft raw, grass-fed butter

Mix in first with a spoon, then by hand:  

  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups unbleached flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)
  • nutmeg, cardamom, allspice, cloves to taste (optional)

Add the flour in 2 additions, using the amount necessary to make it easy to handle.  Handle and knead the dough as for bread.  

After the second rising, roll the dough out to about 1/3″ thick.  Cut for donuts and fry in hot lard (390 degrees) until brown on both sides.  Drain, then place on absorbent paper.  Serve warm plain, sugared, or glazed.  

Recipe adapted from Betty Crocker’s Picture CookBook.  See this cookbook for more directions, and for our favorite quick bread donut recipe.