Warning: Some people may be offended or disgusted by the contents of this article…
Tom and I spent a lovely night in the kitchen last night. No, we did not make a romantic candle-lit dinner… You see, we really enjoy eating sausages. Late last year we made up some spice mixes and with the help of our butcher we made some very yummy sausages from meat of one of our cows. The most expensive (and not originating on our property) item however, were the sausage casings.
So when we killed one of our goats yesterday, Tom decided to get the intestines of the goat and try to process them so that we can use them as sausage casings. Traditional sausage casing are made from pig or lamb intestines, and for the past 50 or so years they have been making collagen casings from pig or cow hide, bones and tendons or more recently from seaweed. The collagen casings are cheaper due to labour requirement, which are less than for processing intestines, as we discovered last night.
Tom washed the intestines with water, running it through the inside and along the outside, whilst gently scraping off any fatty or other adhesions to the outside of the casings. The job was very labour intensive, it took a long time to clean the casings properly and without piercing the thin wall. Finally we had the rinsed casings sitting in a bowl, awaiting further processing.
I made up some brine (salt in lukewarm water) ensuring the salt dissolved completely in the water. We inserted a funnel into the top of the casing and put the bottom of the casings into a 2 litre glass jar. We ran the water through the funnel until the whole casing was filled with brine and it started to come out at the other end. We repeated that process for all the casings we had. We found that the water was quite murky, so we emptied the casing again and repeated the process with new brine in a clean glass jar.
As the photo shows, we now have sausage casings in brine, waiting to be deployed as sausage skins. We now understand why sausage casings aren’t cheap, the process took us a few hours and was very fiddly. However, our forefathers did it, so why can’t we?
©2012 Permaculture Research Institute Sunshine Coast – Permaculture and self reliance: making sausage casings