Scale, cut off the heads, open down the back, and remove most of the spine, to have them keep better. Lay them in salt water two hours, to extract blood. Sprinkle with fine salt, and let them lie over night. Then mix one peck of coarse and fine salt, one ounce of saltpetre, (or half an ounce of saltpetre and half an ounce of saleratus,) and one pound of sugar. Then pack in a firkin. Begin with a layer of salt, then a layer of fish, skin downward. A peck of salt will answer for twenty-five shad, and other fish in proportion.
As in most country families, when meat is salted for the year's use, pork is the meat most generally and most largely relied upon, considerable space is devoted to its proper preparation. Special attention is given to various modes of curing and preserving it.
Take what is called the leaves, and take off all the skin, cut it into pieces an inch square, put it into a clean pot over a slow fire, and try it till the scraps look a reddish-brown; take great care not to let it burn, which would spoil the whole. Then strain it through a strong cloth, into a stone pot, and set it away for use.
Take the fat to which the smaller intestines are attached, (not the large ones,) and the flabby pieces of pork not fit for salting, try these in the same way, and set the fat thus obtained where it will freeze, and by spring the strong taste will be gone, and then it can be used for frying. A tea-cup of water prevents burning while trying.
Pork with kernels in it is measly, and is unwholesome.
A thick skin shows that the pork is old, and that it requires more time to boil. If bought pork is very salt, soak it some hours. Do not let pork freeze, if you intend to salt it.
The gentleman who uses the following recipe for curing pork hams, says it has these advantages over all others he has tried or heard of, namely, the hams thus cured are sweeter than by any other method; they are more solid and tender, and are cured in less than half the time. Moreover, they do not attract flies so much as other methods:
Moisten every part of the ham with molasses, and then for every hundred pounds use one quart of fine salt, and four ounces of saltpetre, rubbing them in very thoroughly at every point. Put the hams thus prepared in a tight cask for four days. Then rub again with molasses and one quart of salt, and return the hams to the cask for four days. Repeat this the third and the fourth time, and then smoke the hams. This process takes only sixteen days, while other methods require five or six weeks.
The following is the best recipe for the ordinary mode of curing hams; and the brine or pickle thus prepared is equally good for corning and all other purposes for which brine is used. Some persons use saleratus instead of the saltpetre, and others use half and half of each, and say it is an improvement: