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Heavy Culture

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default Heavy Culture

Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 4th December 2009, 6:08 pm

What do you do when food goes mouldy? Chuck it away? or ration it as a delicacy?

A while ago (about a year I think) I made some pancetta from some front end of pork bellies I had no other use for. It was a very good experiment and produced a quite delicious pancetta, which, after curing I put in the fridge and used a lot of over a period of a month or two. But then the next batch of charcuterie came through and space had to be made so the last little roll of pancetta had to be evicted from the fridge to make space for other things.
rather than toss it out I hung it on the rack outside - figuring it would keep awhile, being reasonably fresh.
It soon developed a reasonable bloom, but being cured was not going 'off'. As the months went by the bloom deepened and other pigs came and went and it got rather overlooked. I confess after a while I no longer looked on it with great appetite, but figured it may as well stay as a spore donor to the new batches of salami and dried sausage that joined it.
After quite a while it began attracting negative comments from visitors (notably my dear Mama, to whom the idea of having several dozen pieces of meat in various stages of mouldering hanging outside ones windows is curiously anathema).
Today I finally thought, I might as well say farewell to the old thing (the pancetta, not Mama).

As you can see it is fairly well furred and does not look what most people might immediately consider appetising:

[img][/img]


When I cut it in half, more out of interest than anything else, however, it was quite a different story:


[img][/img]

The scent that was realised was immediately enough to rule out chucking it in the bin. It smelled absolutely gorgeous - rich and mature. And look at that colour!

So I sliced off a wafer-thin morsel...



Porco Dio! The taste was every bit as rich and mature as the smell but it just melted on the tongue - like Sophia Loren in her prime, all things considered.

So there you are - a salutary lesson. I could so easily have simply tossed the thing out. What a waste that would have been.

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Post by chickenofthewoods on 4th December 2009, 8:03 pm

I salute you for your hardiness. Laughing I suspect we're far too wary of things these days & I'm sure it's to the detriment of our internal flora. That being said, I have to admit that external appearances were not entirely appealing.

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Post by Compostwoman on 4th December 2009, 8:34 pm

Whoa!

I too, salute your internal workings

but not sure even I would have tried that.... chef2 🤢

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 4th December 2009, 9:50 pm

I did scrub off the worst of the mould with a screwed up newspaper before actually eating it - the point was that an external mould does not necessarily signify that the interior has gone bad. A gruesome exterior can conceal deep inner beauty.

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Post by Compostwoman on 4th December 2009, 10:31 pm

Wilhelm Von Rhomboid wrote:I did scrub off the worst of the mould with a screwed up newspaper before actually eating it - the point was that an external mould does not necessarily signify that the interior has gone bad. A gruesome exterior can conceal deep inner beauty.

Yep!

That just about sums me up............! Very Happy


Last edited by compostwoman on 4th December 2009, 10:43 pm; edited 1 time in total

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 4th December 2009, 10:39 pm

compostwoman wrote:Yep!

That just about sums me up............! Very Happy


Shocked Well, if you hear mr CW scrunching up some newspaper, this could be your lucky night...

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Post by Compostwoman on 5th December 2009, 12:41 am

Look closely at what I bolded , dear Billy..................!

Tis a bit subjective, I grant you...

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Post by Compostwoman on 5th December 2009, 12:45 am

Embarassed


Last edited by compostwoman on 5th December 2009, 5:00 pm; edited 1 time in total (Reason for editing : put the post in the wrong [place......)

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Post by chickenofthewoods on 5th December 2009, 12:55 am

I love the idea of quick wipe down with some scrumpled newspaper. Most folks would probably have gone with a scrubbing brush and a bucket of dettol.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 5th December 2009, 8:35 am

Scrunched newspaper is surprisingly good at removing surface mould.

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Post by chickenofthewoods on 5th December 2009, 10:12 am

As a matter of curiousity, did any of the 'bloom' reach the interior of the pancetta? I'm wondering if it has in any way contributed to the excellent flavour in much the same way the veining in blue cheese does.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 5th December 2009, 11:07 am

Yes and no - the bloom is solely on the outside of the meat itself and effectively 'protects' the interior from anything bad getting to it. However in the case of this pancetta the whole thing was a roll to begin with and the bloom had pentrated to the outer inner parts of the roll if you see what I mean.

There is argument that the mould improves the complexity of the flavour of the meat, but given the thick layer of fat twixt mould and flesh in this instance I don't think it does. I didn't bother removing any of the interior bloom though so was probably getting a hit of that mouldy tang mixed with the other flavours.

I am thinking of doing smoked cured back fat next - I have heard of it but not tasted it. Sounds like it may be divine (or make me end up looking like Divine).

Got another backleg that was in brine while we were away in the smoker this morning. But a bit disappointed that the pig I was supposed to be getting this week has fallen through (or been sold to someone else in my absence) due to a miscommunication with my farmer. Not going to be any more ready till the New Year now, which rather bu**ers up some of my charcuterie plans for the holidays quite considerably.

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Post by chickenofthewoods on 5th December 2009, 2:48 pm

That's a shame, is there no other source nearby that you can try? Mind you I ask this knowing full well that at this time of year most stuff is likely to be spoken for.

Trying really hard to shoo away mental images of you looking like Divine... Shocked

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 5th December 2009, 3:02 pm

There are other places but about four times the price. I get my pigs at a really very advantageous price. That's why I rather had to bite my tongue over the 'misunderstanding' ( I put in the order and chose the pig about 8 weeks ago, phoned to confirm two weeks ago just before we went away and to specify exact date of collection etc... how vague can that arrangement be?) - I was actually quite cross but don't want to kill the goose that lays the golden pigs (there's an odd image either way).

Oh well, we do still have about 180lbs of assorted porcine product and have the boar meat to process so won't entirely starve.

It just underlines the need to be able to get some land together to rear our own directly. Then we could control their diets much more as well - the ones we get are well-fed and I have no issues with their diet, but I would like to fatten a couple up on cream and walnuts and apples, and get them really big - start influencing the taste of the end product through their diet.
All question of money at the end of the day though.

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Post by Mike on 5th December 2009, 3:05 pm

Molds are all aerobic, only can grow normally on the outside. Or inside, grow very slowly limited by diffusion of oxygen into the interior. They may indeed prevent other sorts of organisms as many molds produce chemicals that kill or inhibit other organisms. Our first "anti-biotics" were all substances made by molds (pennicilin, for example).

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Post by chickenofthewoods on 5th December 2009, 3:19 pm

Just up the road from here one of the stables has sub-let part of their fields and they appear to be being utilised as a smallholding of sorts so there are pigs sheep cows and ponies all mooching about, with a separate run for chooks. I'm quite envious. What about the Landshare thing RC is doing at the moment, or would you like more control over the land than that is likely to offer?

Mike, pennicillin was a thought that had occurred to me too.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 5th December 2009, 5:50 pm

Obviously in an ideal situation we would like to own the land - it is nigh on impossible to get permission to build any kind of structure, even storage sheds, on rented land, for starters. Round here small, sub 5-acre plots command a huge premium however, - due to the demand for pony paddocks. Basically the start point for buying is around £15-20k, which we don't have, and our current debt repayments work out around £2k a month before we pay bills or eat, and we desperately need to build an extension, so buying land is sadly not going to happen any time soon.
We would rent if we could - I have seen land going for £25 a week for 2 acres but again they just want ponies on it - the moment you suggest pigs they back right off. We have a friend who rents a 3 acres old orchard for a pittance for her horses. It would be ideal for piggies - but to get the plots like that its who you know and we are incomers so the last in line.

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Post by chickenofthewoods on 5th December 2009, 8:39 pm

Ah, of course. You're not Local.

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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 5th December 2009, 8:43 pm

Indeed not. I have only five toes on each foot, and speak RP.

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Post by bbaybe on 31st December 2010, 7:39 pm

It may be Penicillin, it may be something else entirely, and possibly something deadly. Personally, I happen to be allergic to penicillin in all forms, so I need to be especially careful around all mold, since this allergy seems to make me more sensitive to other molds, too. That being said, I have been known to remove mold from vegetables and cheeses. I don't know if I'd want to try it with meat, though. Meat tends to be a bit more tricky, since mold can burrow more easily. It's not as dense as some vegetables. I think I would, at least, CUT the mold off, rather than wiping it off. Mold toxin can be deadly even without the mold. All in all, I would say you were lucky. If you don't become ill, perhaps you could save it for another experiment, similar to blue cheese.
[/b]

Just a thought.
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Post by Dandelion on 3rd January 2011, 3:05 pm

Unfortunately not everything improves with age. I bought a tin of baked beans last year which was the wrong weight when I picked it up, and rattled. I contacted the manufacturer, who said that it 'must have missed the sauce' during the process, and sent me a voucher for more beans. The tin (unopened) stayed on my desk as a point of interest (we live very boring lives....). One of my very minor resolutions this year was to deal with the tin, as the beans had stopped rattling and were now thumping around the tin when it was shaken in one lump. My youngest was there with her camera to record the moment...it was putrefaction and rust!!

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Post by Chilli-head on 4th January 2011, 10:10 am

I have a copy of "Classic game cookery" by Julia Drysdale, in which IIRC she describes scrubbing down a venison carcass with Milton to remove the mould before cooking it ... Some people obviously have stronger guts than me !
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Post by Wilhelm Von Rhomboid on 4th January 2011, 10:19 am

I think there is some confusion here between beneficial moulds and harmful moulds. If you look at a Stilton, those green streaks through it are mould. If you eat salami or saucisson sec, that white stuff on the outside is mould.

If you hang game to mature it then it is quite possible you will get some surface mould or even maggots. this does not necessarily mean the meat is not viable. I have blowtorched maggots of a venison carcass before and the only unpleasant bit was the popping sound they make under heat.

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Post by danksshady on 4th January 2011, 10:37 am

I don't throw away mouldy cheese or fruit/veg I just cut off the mouldy bit Embarassed
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Post by GB on 14th January 2011, 2:07 pm

"Popping sound!" Ewwwww Billy Shocked ugh!

Mind you, I did have a good hard look at a road killed deer a couple of weeks ago so why your blow torched maggots should make me shudder is a mystery Laughing

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