Spring Hill Farms

  (Newark, Ohio)
Heritage Breed Pastured Pork, Chickens, Grass Fed Beef
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Nitrite and Uncured Bacon and Ham - Scam

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Hickory Smoked Bacon
Bacon and ham have been demonized most recently because of the nitrites used to cure them.This has brought about the 'nitrite free' products you can find at your local health food store. Are they really healthier? The short answer is no. Nathan S. Bryan, PhD, University of Texas Houston Biomedical Research Center, pulls no punches when he states, "This notion of 'nitrite-free' or 'organically cured' meats is a public deception.

The truth is these meats are cured with celery salt and a bacteria starter culture which turns the nitrates in the celery salt to nitrites.

There is a wide range of how much of the nitrates from the celery salt are converted to nitrites. But the end result is much more than would be added from a traditional method of nitrite salt. So even though it's labeled nitrite free it's loaded with nitrites.

Dr. Bryan says. Yet his biggest concern is not nitrite content but the possibility of bacterial contamination. "I think it is probably less healthy than regular cured meats because of the bacteria load and the unknown efficacy of conversion by the bacteria," he says.

If you have followed my blog for very long you know I'm a proponent of bacteria being one of the keys to enhancing or wrecking your immune system.

In this case you risk wrecking it.

This is a prime example of big business taking some highly publicized and flimsy science at best and then using it to capitalize on a trend.

The following excerpt is from Kaayla T. Daniel, PhD, CCN, the Naughty Nutritionist™

Bring Home the Bacon

Then why do so many health experts condemn bacon and other cured meats because of their nitrite content? Well, why do fats and cholesterol still get a bum rap?

The reason is bad studies and worse publicity, with the latest shoddy work out of Harvard a prime example. According to Dr. Bryan, the body of studies show only a "weak association" with evidence that is "inconclusive." As he and his colleagues wrote in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "This paradigm needs revisiting in the face of undisputed health benefits of nitrite- and nitrate-enriched diets." So what's the last word on America's favorite meat? Indulge bacon lust freely, know that the science is catching up, the media lags behind, and, our ancestors most likely got it right.


Until next time...

Spring Hill Farms

 


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The Tamworth Breed History - Another Take

 
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Tamworth Boar circa 1914
The Tamworth is probably the purest of the modern breeds of swine, it having been improved more largely by selection and care than by the introduction of the blood of other breeds.

One historian claims that the foundation stock was introduced into England from Ireland by Sir Robert Peel about 1815, but others speak of it being plentiful in the Midland counties of England previous to that date. Sir Robert Peel is said to have maintained a herd of this sort near the town of Tamworth (from whence the breed takes its name), in South Staffordshire, until the time of his death, in 1850. During a long period the breed was little seen outside of the counties of Leicestershire, Staffordshire and Northhamptonshire. It was at that time a dark red and grisly animal that was able to thrive on pasture during the summer and beachnuts and acorns found in the forests, during the fall and early winter. The original stock was long in limb, long and thin in the snout and head, and flat in the rib. The pigs were active, hardy, good grazers and very prolific, but were slow in maturing. Being rather spare in body they carried very little fat, and when fatted and slaughtered they are said to have produced a large proportion of flesh.

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Tamworth Sow circa 1914
In later times, after the country had become enclosed and the land began to be brought under cultivation, a quieter pig, with a greater disposition to fatten was desired. In the effort to produce such an animal, crosses of pigs having a strong infusion of Neapolitan blood were introduced. It is also said that a few breeders used a white pig that had been improved by Bakewell. The result of the mixture was a black, white and sandy pig. In the hands of of breeders in certain districts of Staffordshire all but the the red or sandy colors were bred out, and pains were taken by selection to increase the feeding qualities of their pigs, and by the middle of the last century a very desirable class of pig had been evolved. It is claimed on good authority that a sow of the Tamworth breed won first prize at the northampton show in 1847 in a class which included Berkshire, Essex, and other improved breeds.

Fortunately the class of men who had undertaken the improvement of some of the other breeds, by sacrificing almost everything to an aptitude to fatten, did not undertake the Tamworth, hence the preservation  of the length and prolificacy of the breed. Improvement was accomplished by reducing the length of limb, increasing the depth of body, and improving the feeding qualities of the animals.    

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Tamworth Barrow circa 1914
For a number of years previous to 1870 the breed received comparatively little attention outside its own home. About that time the bacon curers opened a campaign against the then fashionable, short, fat and heavy shouldered pigs, which they found quite unsuitable for the production of streaked side meat for which the demand was constantly increasing. The Tamworth then came into prominence as an improver of some of the other breeds, in which capacity it was a decided success owing to its long established habit of converting its food into lean meat. This breed at once assumed an important place among the best sorts in Britain. The Tamworths were given a separate classification at the Royal and other British shows about 1885. In general outline they are long, smooth and fairly deep, having a moderatly light fore end and deep ham; their carriage is easy and active on strong, straight legs. In color the Tamworth is golden red, on flesh-colored skin, free from black spots.

The Tamworth belongs to the large breeds, reaching weights almost equal to the Yorkshire. Mature boars in show condition should weigh from 650 to upwards of 700 pounds, and the sows about 600 to 650 pounds. Sows and barrows that are wisely and well reared are ready for the packers at about 7 months of age, weighing from 180 to 200 pounds.

The points of excellence for the Tamworth, as in the case of the improved Yorkshire, should conform as nearly as possible to the requirements of the bacon trade, without overlooking constitutional vigor and easy feeding qualities. - J. B Spencer B.S.A., July 1914
 

 

 

 
 

Tamworth Pig Taste Test

Tamworth sow circa 1920 

Did you know? The Tamworth is one of the great ‘dual purpose’ pigs producing stunningly good pork as well as equally tremendous bacon. In the mid 1990’s the Tamworth came top in a taste test carried out by Bristol University using both commercial and rare breed pigs in a scientifically controlled experiment. It was later suggested that further investigation should take place to establish just what it was that gave the Tamworth meat such a distinctive taste putting it way above all the other breeds.

 
 

Tamworth Pigs and Bacon

This is a good video showing the primal cuts of a half hog. Chef Johns comments on the quality of the bacon on the Tamworth side he is cutting.

 


 
 

Everything but the squeal

Everything but the squeal - Margie Wuebker

Copyright October 2010 Country Living Magazine

To read the article on their website click here 

The driveway at Dean and Marilyn Wyler's Coshocton  County farm fills with cars and pickup trucks as friends and relatives arrive for butchering day with visions of pork chops, sausage, ribs, roasts bacon, and ham dancing in their heads.

 The Saturday after Thanksgiving is butchering time in these parts, and ambitious workers are needed to process 11 hogs in assembly line fashion and then share the fruits - or rather the meat of their labor.

 The Wyler's, who live near [more] go to page 44

 
 

Let's have pig's head for dinner honey.....

For those who think chops, bacon, sausage, and ham when they think of pork....

 

I introduce you to Andrew of Slim Pickins

Andrew gets a pig from us every year and has it scalded instead of skinned which keeps all rind on the pig. Most folks aren't used to that anymore.This guys uses the whole pig.. feet, tail, head you name it, he has a dish. His latest post is the head.

 

Check it out here

 
 

Pigs all processed for the year... now for the new babies!

Well once again summer has flown by and fall is turning to winter. As soon as it starts freezing at night I'm glad all the market hogs are gone and only breeding stock is left.

I'd much rather  be frying bacon in the morning than moving pigs and thawing water tanks. Sows are so easy to take care of it doesn't seem much like work except when it rains and the mud won't go away.

Actually I have one Old Spot left that goes to meet the sausage maker on December 18th. The customer wanted his pork with the "rind on" so I have to send him to a shop that will scald v.s. skin him. He is hoping to dry cure the hams and a few other neat, old, techniques that produce old style pork. Since the Gloucester Old Spots are very old line pigs they should be great for the job. Once that gets under way I'll put a link to the blog that will detail it all.

The end of February or first of March new pigs will be born and we start all over!

 


 
 
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