Milking again, Brine for Ham, march 21, 2022

Day 81 of 365 blogs – With the calf moved to the corral, Missy was full of milk today. Unlike prior to weaning, Missy was milked out in 10 minutes with the milker. She never held her milk and she let down the entire time. Wow that was easier. What is not easier is keeping them separated. We do not have extra pasture to have them on right now with the rain and the fields not being ready for cows. So, two are in the corral and Missy, the queen mother, has the upper pasture and the barn. Everyone tells me the cows will do fine in the rain and they can eat hay there as well as anywhere else, but I hate doing that. However, to keep them together mean, literally means no milk. So, we make a decision and live with it. My neighbor stated we could get a ring put in the calf’s nose but that is not something we want to do either.

Nutritional Education

I am so excited to tell you that we are curing our own ham. We looked up how to cure a ham without sodium nitrate.  We have our picnic roast (ham) in a brine for three days in the refrigerator. Then just like the bacon, we dry it out in the refrigerator for 24 hours. Then we bake it, smoke it or freeze it. We will bake it because as good as smoking tastes, it is also carcinogenic. Therefore, for us we have chosen to self-cure, dry-out and bake.

pan of brine and ham
Picnic Pork in brine

Nutritional Education


  • 1 cup salt
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup fennel seeds
  • 1/4 cup mustard seeds
  • Pinch of crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 tsp dried rosemary or 1 sprig of fresh
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme or 4 sprigs fresh
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1/2 onion, cut into quarters
  • 2 ribs celery, coarsely chopped
  • 10 whole garlic cloves, lightly crushed with side of a knife
  • 1 gallon water

Combine all the ingredients in a large container or pot. Refrigerate for 3 days. Then take the meat out of the brine and dry on a rack for 24 hours. Now bake or smoke or freeze.

(From Wilson Homestead, from the internet, not ours)

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