Preserving the flavor

Published 7:57 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2010

The flavor of the country is full of delicacies that are worthy of savoring all year long. For the sake of economy, though, it’s best for some, especially those with big families or a lot of mouths to feed, to find ways to preserve family favorites.

Here in the South, those delicacies are getting harder and harder to come by. That’s why it’s sometimes a good idea to find and preserve those country flavors for those times when urges for souse, chitterlings or fresh-made sausage are high but it’s too hard to get them.

L&L Country Meats on Holland Road is one of those places that offers the tastes of the country that so many Southerners crave but big chain supermarkets and superstores just can’t carry. Tubs of lard, duck sausage, smoked turkey wings and more are all part of the regular fare at the little converted gas station that has become a haven for lovers of country meats and fresh produce.

Email newsletter signup

So, what plan of action should a passing traveler take when they fall upon the tiny establishments that offer country treats? Should they get enough vittles for one meal, to savor the fresh country flavor? Or should they buy in bulk, freeze it and enjoy it for months to come. Even the seasoning and spices used in the sausage-making and curing processes can only go so far in the preservation process.

According to Lorain Gardner, co-owner of L&L Country Meats, whether to buy in bulk is a matter of what’s important to you. “Of course, buying in bulk saves money, and the food lasts longer,” Gardner says. “But there’s nothing like the flavor of fresh country meats.”

So if you must enjoy the freshness of the foods offered at places like L&L, it best to remember that freshness remains only for a short period of time. Foods like sausage, which L&L makes fresh several times a week and sells roughly 320 pounds of weekly, should be kept refrigerated 7-10 days. Beyond that point, it should be properly wrapped and frozen to be kept fresh as possible.

When it comes to when and how to preserve your meats, the answer really lies in what you demand of your meal. Is it the undeniable flavor of fresh meats? Or is it getting the most value for your investment?

Either way, that southern flavor can be available for many months if they are kept free of freezer burn and overexposure to air.