Mike Branscombe

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since May 17, 2019
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Recent posts by Mike Branscombe

I've seen a lot of books, and own a few on curing meats.  None of the ones I own cover the questions I'm looking at - and most of the online resource I find, basically have the cure method that is for a strong brine - a graded brine, where the brine is strong and the actual cure time is short with the idea that the meat will be eaten right after it is cured.  What I'm trying to figure out apparently is called equilibrium brining, where the salt mixture is based on the weight/volume of the entire container, so - once the brine has permeated the meat completely, it is impossible to put too much salt in the meat, but the cure time is longer.  I think I'm looking at this more as a science question, what percentage of cure and salt content will preserve the meat?  I don't want to blindly follow someone's recipe - I want to understand how and why it works, and what the correct percentage of salt content in the brine and meat is correct to preserve it well.  Maybe there is no clear answer.  




 
2 days ago
looking for resources on curing and storing meats.  I've collected salt and sodium nitrate and nitrite, and pink salts, cure 1 and 2.  I'm looking at this from a survivalist perspective, not from a culinary perspective.  I've read directions, but always question the source of info - and there are always gaps in the directions where they don't really explain it to a level I'm satisfied with, maybe it is as much art as science.

For wet curing - if I had a 5 gallon water jug, and wanted to stuff deer meet into it - to wet cure/preserve.  Is there an actual ratio by weight of salt and pink salt for the meat and volume of water?  I've seen 2.5%, but not sure if that is a valid number.  With 2.25 percent being just salt and .25 being the pink salt.  

Also, can you just leave it in the container submerged long term, possibly many months - or at some point - are you better off to take it out of the container and hang it?

Corned beef from the store seems to come packaged with some amount of the brine in the container - so it makes me think it could just be left in the container, but I'm never sure if I'm looking at a valid resource on the internet - so, curious what other folks do - or sources of info they find reliable.

Also, I've never experimented with actually curing my own meats - from a culinary perspective.  Never been able to get past the idea that the meat could spoil.  Maybe I should get some steak tips and try to cure them just to experiment.  We don't really eat or like many cured meats.  Sausage and Corned beef are about it, but I don't see myself bothering to try to make sausage.  I'm just curious to know how I would preserve meat - if I ever had to.
5 days ago
I'm in Zone 5 in NH, so - none of the leaves will go through the winter as far as I know, don't think thyme is an evergreen.  Guess I'll just wait to clip them down when I see the leaves starting to go yellow and then keep the good leaves to dry.
6 months ago
May give you an opportunity to see what thrives naturally.  If some pests damage too much of one thing vs. another - cultivate what does better naturally.  Deer will eat all sorts of things - you may benefit from putting wire around small trees so the deer don't eat the tops off before they get started and to tall for the deer to eat the tops off.  With a large area, you may also put in some food plots that are easily accessible for deer, then they might go for the food you set up for them, and not eat what you want for yourself.  
6 months ago
Trails get you out onto your property.  I put some trails on my little 2.5 Acres and have been figuring out how to make different areas work for different purposes.  If I never spend any time there - those ideas would never have come up and it would just be all kind of a junky unkept wood lot.  Eventually, some areas will be food forest, and another area - under mature hemlocks, will be kept for screen, shade, and mushroom production.  Funny how getting to know a chunk of land over some years - it sort of seems obvious how different features lend themselves to various functions.
6 months ago
have some Sage, Basil, Thyme, Chives, Comfrey .. am drying in paper lunch bags currently.  thinking of best way to preserve it.  will probably put into little 1 ounce glass bottles with cork tops.  may do some whole and some ground.  Was thinking if I added a little salt and sugar that might help preserve it a little longer.  How do you like to actually store spices and foods you've dried yourself.

I also have questions about the plants themselves.  Here in NH, the basil will not come back, but the rest should winter fine.  Is there a time when I can just take all the growth off the top of the plants and not hurt them as far as coming back up next year goes?  
6 months ago
well, I've never done anything like that before, but my first thought and 2 cents is - figure out where you'll be camping there and set up a nursery as close to that as possible, any gear you have will probably be there so that would minimize effort in having to make wasted trips and travel to get to and from plantings and tools.  If that water supply is in the back away from the road, you may want to consider a small pump for irrigation, as I'd think the grassy area would have more sun and be more ready as a nursery area can be generated there easiest, but getting water there by hand could be labor intensive.  As small water pump should not be too much of an investment and would possibly save you a lot of time/nrg.  Then once you're there and have started a solid nursery area of plants, you can maintain that and explore and observe the larger area to get a vision of what could be done.
10 months ago
I'd bet the green grass around the little tree island is due to it holding more moisture than the open areas, maybe also holds a little warmer temperature; less wind etc.  
10 months ago
my guess would be the row spacing is based on how tall the plant is going to get, so - it allows for enough sunlight to get to the plant if they are planted in many large rows.  I think that is to get the maximum production from each seed possible, but for home gardens - I plant things closer to have less weeds to deal with.
10 months ago
plastic won't stand up, but it is cheap and quick.  real thing I wanted to try to get across is it is the air gap that really creates an insulation effect.  even the walls in homes, the insulation is there to slow convection in the wall, to slow the rate of thermal exchange through the air that fills the gap in the wall.
10 months ago