dehydrated tomatoes

Easy Dehydrated Tomatoes

Easy Dehydrated Tomatoes

These easy dehydrated tomatoes are perfect for summer tomato madness. Picture this: It's August. Your harvesting baskets are overflowing, it's too hot to break out the pot of water to scald, too hot to lug up the canning pot, too hot to stand over the stove. I'd just about give my left arm for someone to process my tomatoes during the summer.

This recipe for dehydrated tomatoes is incredibly easy and hands off. Use or oven, or make it even easier with a dehydrator. This is my favorite homestead-scale dehydrator. This is perfect for venison jerky, fruit and veg, herbs, and more. A good dehydrator is a staple for food preservation. 

Dehydrating food takes significantly less hands-on time and can store food indefinitely. Dehydrated herbs, fruit, vegetables, and meats can be great gifts. 

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oregano infused oil

Homemade Oregano Oil

Homemade Oregano Oil

Make your own culinary oils is such an easy and simple skill that makes you feel like you've made leaps and bounds toward self-sufficiency. If you're like me, you'll think, "How did I not realize it was this simple sooner!?". You can apply this homemade oregano oil recipe to any culinary herb oil. Be sure to always use dried herbs though, or it will spoil. This homemade oregano infused oil makes a great gift for your favorite home-cook in your life. It's also a great way to add a depth of flavor to any dish. 

In addition to being a great culinary addition, oregano has incredible medicinal benefits. Note that this is a homemade oregano-infused oil, not an essential oil. 

Oregano-infused oil is also great for your livestock - particularly chickens. Add a few drops to their water to ward off any respiratory issues. 


  • Respiratory Support
  • Skin Issues
  • Muscle Pain
  • Insect Repellent
  • Cramping

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How to Make Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade Vanilla Extract

Homemade vanilla extract was one of those things I spent years intending to make and never got around to doing. Plus, I'm not a huge baker - how would I ever use all of it? Turns out, I'm not the only one who has it on their long list of to-dos. This makes a perfect gift for any holiday! 

Short on time? Put it all together and gift it with a note that says "Use in Six Months". A jelly jar with a cute burlap ribbon is all you need for a sweet homemade gift. This homemade vanilla extract is a great addition to your kitchen in your step towards cleaning up ingredients, making things yourself, and taking one more step toward self-sufficiency. 

Snag these vanilla beans from Amazon. This 10 pack of Tahitian Vanilla Beans will get you through a batch of this recipe, with a few to spare. Dust off that bottle of rum you've never cracked open and you have everything you need. This recipe is so simple, you'll wonder why you hadn't tried it sooner. Trust me - you'll be amazed at the difference!

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beef cuts half cow

How to Cook the Perfect Steak

We're going to talk about how to cook a perfect steak each and every time. Straight from the beef farmer. Crack a window, you're going to smoke up your kitchen and it's going to be 100% worth it. Need a quick meal? Steak only takes a few minutes.

The Pan

The cast iron pans are the work horses of our kitchen. A nice, seasoned cast iron pan is worth it's weight in gold. Cast iron pans are going to give you that perfect even sear on your steak. If you don't have a cast iron, use a regular non-stick skillet. If you are looking for a solid, heirloom style cast iron, check out Lodge cast iron products. 

The Steak

Ribeye, NY strip, filet, Porterhouse - whatever cut you choose, make sure it's a premium dry aged cut straight from your local farmer or butcher. The quality of the steak is going to make all the difference in tenderness and flavor. We cook to a medium rare temperature. 

The Prep

Take it out and get it to room temperature for 10 minutes. Season it heavily with coarse salt and pepper right before you cook it. Get your cast iron pan HOT. We usually go for medium high heat. When you see the pan just start to smoke, it's ready. When you drop the steak in, you'll want a very loud searing noise.

How to Cook the Perfect Steak 

For medium rare, we shoot for about three minutes per side.

Once your pan gets hot, drop in a tablespoon of olive oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Let that heat up and drop the steaks in. 

Let them sear for three minutes, then drop in a spring of thyme, three pads of butter, and two crushed garlic cloves. A few times over the next three minutes, take a spoon, tip your pan, and baste all that butter goodness on top of the steaks. Finally, take your tongs and flip your steak up on the sides for a few seconds. If you don't have the thyme, try rosemary. If you don't have rosemary, skip it. 

Give it one last good baste. Then take it out and set it on a plate. Spoon a little of the butter on top. 

How to Tell it's Done

Here's a fun quick trip for temperature. Touch your thumb to your pointer finger tip (like you're giving the "OK" hand sign), feel the inside pad at the base of the your thumb, that's what rare feels like. Touching your thumb to the tip of your middle finger, medium rare. Thumb to ring finger, medium. Thumb to pinky, well done. 

Most Importantly. Let it Rest...5-10 minutes. Then slice and serve. 

How to Make Lard

What are you supposed to do with pork fat? In this article, we're going to cover how to make lard, the benefits, how to use lard, and why you want to make it from home using pork fat. It's easier than you think! 

Customers filling out their wholesale pork cut sheet will often reach out and ask if they should get the pork fat and what they can do with it. People are often surprised to hear that lard is one of the easiest food items to make and that the health benefits far surpass those of plant-based vegetable oils and even Crisco. While hunters will grind pork fat into their venison sausage, lard has many uses in the kitchen. 

how to make lard

What is Lard

In short, lard is rendered down pork fat. Heat and time, y'all. While lard purists will lean only toward leaf fat, fat from inside the cavity, we've always made lard from the leaf fat and back fat, fat just under the skin of the back.

A hog will generally produce on a few pounds of leaf fat, but hog farmers can expect a hog to yield about 15 pounds in back fat. Using all of fat the animal provides will get you plenty of lard. 

While all breeds of pigs have enough fat to render into lard, there are two general classifications of pigs - lard and bacon. Lard breeds are raised for cooking oil and mechanical lubricants. They are compact, thick, grow quickly on corn, and produce a significant amount of fat.

Bacon breeds are long, lean, and muscular. The breed we raise, Yorkshire, is a bacon breed. Developed to grow slower to produce more muscle than fat and to eat a variety of foods, such as high protein feed, dairy by-products, vegetables, small grains, and legumes. 

Most breeds raised today are bacon breeds. Shortly following World War II, Western civilization began to vilify animal fats and push shortening, thus resulting in a decrease of lard breeds. Rendering pork fat into lard and beef fat into tallow was considered unhealthy. In the last several years, nutritionists and researchers have restored the view of healthy animal fats.  


Where to Get Pork Fat

Farms, like us, who sell direct to consumer often carry packs of pork fat for purchase, or offer the option to purchase bulk pork where customers can select to get the pork fat. Not local? Search for local pig farmers in your area. Local butchers will also carry pork fat and likely have an abundance.  

how to make lard

Health Benefits of Lard

Animal fats, including lard, have serious health benefits compared to their inflammatory cooking oil counterparts. That's right y'all, butter is better. Animal fats, like lard, are lower in inflammatory omega 6 fatty acids and don't contain the trans fat that is found in many vegetable oils. Pork fat is one of the richest dietary sources of Vitamin D when the pigs are exposed to sunlight. 

Animal fats have a very high smoke point, reducing the likelihood that it will oxidize when cooked. They also help lower cholesterol levels, promote healthy cells, and reduce the risk of heart disease and Alzheimer's. 

Fasten your seat belts. Alternatively, hydrogenated oils, like margarine or shortening, are produced starting with vegetable oils - soy, corn, cottonseed, or canola. These oils are already rancid from their extraction process and mixed with nickel oxide, tiny metal particles. The oil and nickel oxide mix is subject to hydrogen gas in a high-pressure, high temperature reactor. Next, soap-like emulsifiers and starch are squeezed in to give it better consistency. High temperatures again for a steam-clean to reduce the odor, bleach to remove margarine's natural grey color, and finally flavors and dyes are added so it resembles butter. 

You'll only find lard, tallow, and butter in our kitchen. That's for sure. 

What to Do with Lard

Use it exactly as you would any cooking oil. It's high heat, doesn't oxidize easily, and is a whole food. Fry up your eggs, prep your baking pans, or use it for fried chicken. You can also use it in making the flakiest pie crusts, biscuits, and more. One thing to mention is that lard, cooked properly, will not give your food a pork flavor. 

How to Make Lard

Lard is so easy to make, it doesn't even require a recipe card. Pro tip: Work with cold pork fat, it is much easier to work with. Take your pork fat and cut it into one inch, or smaller cubes. Put them into a crock pot. Set the crock pot to low. Over time, the liquid and solid will separate. The liquid is the lard, the solids are the cracklin's.

This process will take a several hours. Periodically, give it a stir. Over time, the crackin's will sink and then rise. When they rise, the lard is ready. If you aren't sure, you'll start to notice that the cracklin's aren't rendering down any further. Use a cheese cloth to strain and carefully pour the liquid into quart mason jars. As the liquid cools, it will turn into a beautiful white solid. Put the lid on and store in your pantry for 6 months. 

Throw the crackin's in a skillet and fry them up - delicious!