The transformative power of salt

This arresting sculptural presence is in fact a hog cheek, cured for a week in salt, pepper, garlic, and thyme, and hung from a piece of 2 x 12 left from making the garden beds inside the metal mesh wastebasket from my office (which I washed.) Now it sits in the crawl space under the house for a week to dry a bit, and then it’s guanciale.

Next to it is a 5 liter crock full of carrots, beets, baby turnips, radishes, scallions, pak choy, fennel, green beans, horseradish, Swiss chard, dill, a still green cayenne pepper- all from the garden- and a 5% salt solution. The crock in question has a nifty trough around the lip for water, making a seal so bubbles can escape but contaminants can’t get in. It also has weights to keep the veggies submerged. I’m going to check on it in a week as well. It’s exciting and gratifying, this growing and preserving of food, and best of all it’s better tasting and better for you (and for the planet) than any other way of eating.

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