Monday, April 16, 2012

Setting Up to Fill the Freezer

   At least twice a year we set up the tables, coolers, and tubs for a day of 'filling the freezer'..also known as butchering day. With several years of butchering experience behind us, we have a layout plan that works pretty smoothly for us.
   First of all, it takes prepping. Our freezers are cleaned out and thinned down to make room for the fresh meat. Since freezers function best when full, we freeze jugs, bottles and bags of ice to maintain the freezer temp and get ice on hand for the processing line up.

   The night before, tables are set up and covered with paper. Trash bins are double lined and tucked under those tables while the butcher aprons are pulled from the drawers. Knives are sharpened and set to go while each table gets are tub of water for 'quick rinse' needs (hands, knives, etc.). Killing cones are hung on the back of our farm trailer with double lined tubs beneath and the fire pit is piled with dry wood - ready to start as soon as butchering begins.

   That morning a tub is filled with salted water (taste of the ocean salty) and ice. Meat will immediately go into this ice water bath to cool the temp and draw out the blood. This tub will be refreshed every few birds (or if doing large meat such as deer or goat, it is cleaned after every quarter). 

   A table near the ice tub holds bags and pens for labeling before meat is moved to the ice chest.

   Bags of ice go into chests near the package table. The rinsed and packaged meat will be chilled here before it goes into the freezer. This prevents the freezer temp from plummeting and the meat not cooling quickly.

   Once meat is well chilled, the bags are layered in the freezer: layer of ice, layer of meat, layer of ice, etc. In the end, the freezer holds the harvest of hard work and the promise of great meals to come. With a stations all set and a family member at each station, filling the freezer flows like a well oiled machine.

   When your homestead fills the freezer, what method or set up do you use?  


Kathleen said...

Wow, Michele, that is quite a process. I'm glad you have help with it. We raise lamb for market and have them processed, so our lambs go along and come home in nice white packages. I've always wanted to do chickens for the freezer, but haven't yet. Thanks for the info on setting up to butcher. I appreciate seeing your experience.

Simply Scaife Family said...

It is a big process, but well worth it. Goad and deer might be a lot like lamb..we have always wanted to raise one, but don't really know where to get one (not popular in our area, I guess). Thanks for visiting!