If you are interested in raising animals of your land for food, then certain culinary techniques are essential to learn. Cured meats have an extended shelf life and do not require refrigeration nor fossil fuels. Curing is a form of food security that may become essential in the upcoming years. Curing is the act of food preservation of meats + fish with the use of salt, sugar and/or nitrates. Nitrates, although a naturally formed substance is not optimal for long term consumption and can be omitted from the recipe and still produce a flavorful and completely safe product. Curing is the magical process in which time, salt, temperature, and humidity play a role in the end result.
Another process, smoking cured meats and fish by creating a barrier on the outer layer, making it harder for harmful bacteria to enter the valuable meats. This process has been documented by the Plains Indians who would hang their harvest inside their teepees to smoke during the drying process. Both cold and hot smoking are effective techniques, but will yield a different end result.
This recipe is as simple as it gets and can be hung in your basement to age and be ready to eat in just a few short weeks.
Home Cured Duck Breast
- 2 Buck Breasts (trim the fat to 1/4 inch thickness)
- 1 pound Sea Salt
- 2 Bay Leaves, crumbled
- 1 Tbsp crushed Black Pepper
- 2 tsp ground Allspice Berries
- Enough Cheese Cloth to cover each breast
- Hemp or kitchen twine
1. Clean up the duck breasts, by trimming off some off the fat. Pat the breast dry with a cloth.
2. Mix together the seasonings and the salt
3. Place a handful of the seasonings into a glass or non-reactive dish
4. Put the duck breasts on top of the salt, then add the remaining to COMPLETELY cover the breasts.
5. Cover with a cloth and place in the fridge for 24 hrs.
After 24 hrs has past, remove from the salt coating and wash off any excess salt under running water. Dry with a paper cloth.
6. Cut 2 large squares of cheese cloth and cut 4 pieces of twine 6 inches each
7. Roll each duck breast tightly in the cheese cloth then tie each end.
8. Hang the duck in a cool dark place for 1-2 weeks. **I hung mine in my attic where it is dark,cool, and with a little airflow roughly 45-50 degrees (It’s winter here in Maine).
9. After a week, check on the duck breast. It should be slightly firm and not mushy. If it feels mushy allow it to continue to hang and cure.
10.Once complete, slice thin and serve with your favorite condiments.