We have a large freezer in the garage. It has….. issues. The main issue is that the shelves are the wire type with four pegs that are supposed go into little recessed holes on the inside of the freezer. If you put anything slightly heavy on the shelves, the weight causes the shelf to bow, and you lose a quarter- or half-inch of width which causes one or two pegs to come out of their place, toppling the entire shelf and its contents.
I like to store stuff in the freezer. It’s normally full. Or at least, it was. Recently, a few weeks ago, someone (probably me) went into the freezer, removed something, causing a shelf to fall out after shutting the door. This little avalanche knocked the freezer door ajar, which no one realized until it was too late. This is the second time this has happened.
Luckily, the door has a lock and we were able to locate the key. So hopefully this exact catastrophe will not happen again, because even if something falls forward inside the freezer when it’s locked, the door will stay bolted shut….. as long as we ALWAYS keep it locked.
Everything — including about half a side of beef, and over half a pig — thawed completely. By the time I discovered it, the small items kept on the door were barely refrigerator temperature (maybe a bit warmer in fact, and I couldn’t determine how long they’d been like this) and the large items were entirely thawed but nice and cold.
I ended up filling our garbage toter with more than $500 of spoiled food.
I had two fresh hams, at over 20 lbs. a piece, to be cured for prosciutto, along with the jowls and sides for guinciale and pancetta. These items were vacuum sealed and seemed properly cold, so I determined that I would have to get those started curing IMMEDIATELY (or they’d be lost) (this was just a couple days before I had to leave for Guatemala).
So I quickly gathered the things I’d need to get the pork into cure before leaving on the mission. I checked the hams two days ago:
They actually look really good. They smell cured. No off aromas at all. I used a good amount of weight on top of them. They are firm and actually feel good and cured right now, however, I’m giving them another 5 days and just a bit more salt. After that, they’ll get rinsed, coated in lard and crusted with coarsely ground black pepper, wrapped in cheesecloth, and placed in the curebrewzer for at least a year. The pancetta and guinciale will go in at the same time as well, but will hang for a far shorter amount of time.
AND, I just got word that our NEXT pig was just slaughtered and so I called the butcher with cutting instructions. Apparently this pig was fed a steady diet of goat’s milk and is nice and FAT. We will cure the hams, sides, and cheeks in the same manner, and maybe this time we’ll finally get some salami.