Latest news from Big Barn and our producers.

Bacon week: Week 11 of BigBarns food and Drink weeks

This week at BigBarn we are talking about beautiful, wonderful bacon. There is nothing nicer than the smell of bacon cooking on a spring morning (or anytime of the day if you ask me). One of the brilliant things about bacon is that it’s such a versatile product and it saves so many dishes from being terminally dry and boring. Pheasant or venison cooked with streaky bacon, mince and bacon pie, devils on horseback and of course quiche. All rescued by one delicious product.

Happy pigs and chicks make great bacon & eggs

Curing bacon at home is surprisingly easy and very rewarding! All it takes is a little patience, a belly of pork, sugar and spices and some saltpetre. All you have to do is place the belly in a bag with the sugar, spices and saltpetre leave in the fridge for a about a week turning occasionally before drying. Once the curing part is done rinse it off under some cold water and hang in a cool dry place (not your fridge) to dry for about 5 days and then enjoy your homemade bacon!

There are so many varieties of pigs in the UK each one with it’s own unique flavour, for example, the famous KuneKune which is actually native to New Zealand is a fatty pig which is perfect for making sausages, where as the Tamworth pig which is much larger in size is a real winner for making bacon. By buying local bacon and pork it not only encourages you to think about where your food comes from but also helps maintain the different breeds of pig throughout the UK and supports local farmers and a local economy.

The way Britain farm their pigs has undergone massive changes. Many farms have changed to free range piggeries rather then intensive farming. The animals are now getting a better life and in return we are getting better tasting and a far better product then before. However, many consumers in spite of being in favour of higher welfare don’t want to pay the slightly higher price.

Portion of Bacon and Eggs (selective focus; close-up shot)

We really need to keep challenging this perception, it’s important that people understand the true value of food and where it comes from, sometimes that means there’s also a price to be paid. Personally I would much rather pay more for a better quality product, unfortunately not all of us think like that or are aware of the difference. Danish bacon is sold in our supermarkets for far less then our own British bacon and consumers seem to love it because of the price. Little do they realise that so much of this bacon is reared in intense conditions and pumped with salty water to increase weight. This just adds another reason to push for locally produced meat and buying from your local butcher rather then the supermarkets. For a better future, better animal welfare and a far better product, it is worth it.

Bacon Connoisseurs Week is designed to help producers shout about their bacon and encourage you to ask questions about the bacon on sale. So please use the local food map to find your local bacon or browse Local Food MarketPlace to buy online.

If you have a favourite bacon recipe please make a video yourself and add it to our KIS (keep it Simple) Cookery video section to be in a prize draw as well as possibly be discovered as the next famous chef!

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