Thursday, September 12, 2013

Real Life CSA: meat, month 4

I can't believe we're already on our fourth month of the meat CSA from Clarion River Organics. It snuck up on us to the point where we had to "emergency can" two batches of grape jelly from juice we had in our chest freezer to make room for the meat delivery. We did it, and now we have some more room for this month's meat share. 

The three chickens were all roasters this time. We also found out from the farm's update email that last month's share had three roasters as well. The last share will be three stewing chickens, but that's good as we'll be getting into chili and stew season anyway! 

Pretty excited about the beef share too, seeing that we got my favorites: burgers and steaks.

We got four premium steaks this time - beef loin rib steaks, and beef loin T-bones, as well as 20 quarter pound burger patties. We always make our own patties from ground beef, but Mark and I both are happy to have some of the convenience of pre-formed patties in the freezer (without having to worry they will end up recalled for e.coli!).

While the steaks and burgers were pretty exciting, the greatest discovery (and biggest preparation challenge) this time was in the pork share. 

We've got our regular sausages, ground pork, and pork chops, plus some country style ribs. But take a look up at the top right. What have we here?

Pork jowels.(Cheeks.)

Oh yeah, and a pork heart.

I felt like a zombie, reaching into the box and pulling this baby out in particular. I mean, look at it. It actually kind of looks fake, like a Halloween prop!

This is when you start practicing what you preach with eating farm raised meats - everyone loves steaks and chops and Christmas hams, but what about the other parts of the animal that are perfectly edible, but that can make us shudder at the thought of consuming?

I'll admit. I don't know the first thing about how to prepare pork jowels or pork heart. Mark thinks from the look of the jowels it's something that will be cooked low and slow. As for the heart, I've had beef heart before, so I'm wondering if it will be similar in texture, if not taste.

We're going to do some research on preparation, and I'll report back. I'm looking forward to the challenge!

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