Head Cheese: Photo Essay


Head Cheese is easy to make and tastes wonderful with raw cheese or kimchi!

This recipe is safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS.

Head Cheese is easy to make but does require some time. Plan for one day to unfreeze the head, one night to brine the head and one day to cook and process.

Brine Solution
3/4c kosher salt
1/4c local honey
1/4c Himalayan pink salt
1-2 gallons filtered water

After the pig’s head has completely unfrozen, wash carefully and shave off any excessive hair. Soak the head in cold water for two hours. Mix up the brine solution. Use a small amount of boiling water to melt the honey and dissolve the salts. After two hours soaking in cold water, wash the head again and place the head in the brine solution. Add one to two gallons (or a bit more) of cold water to cover the head. Use a heavy plate to weigh down the head below the level of the brine solution. Leave the head in the brine solution for at least 8 hours or overnight. Remove the head and wash again. Discard the brine solution after use.

4 medium organic onions
2 organic celery ends
6-8 organic garlic cloves
1 bottle dry red wine
1 bunch garden parsley
1T organic thyme
2tsp organic black peppercorns
8 organic bay leaves
1tsp organic cloves
sea salt, to taste
1T Great Lakes Gelatin
2c warm broth
2T organic peppercorns, cracked (optional)

In a very large stock pot place the brined head with the vegetables, spices and wine. Add enough water to cover the head. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer for about four hours or until the jaw bone falls off. Remove the head and let cool. Carefully strain the broth and discard the spent vegetables and spices. Skim the broth of fat, if necessary. Add some sea salt to taste. Add one tablespoon of gelatin to some cold water and let sit for at least five minutes before addling to two cups of broth. This will ensure a firm jelly.

When the meat has cooled remove all the skin, fat, connective tissue and bones. (These remains make good pet food so freeze in appropriate portion sizes for your pet.) Coarsely cut or pull the meat into pieces. Place the meat into a terrine or glass baking tray. Press the meat down firmly before pouring on the broth. Reheat the broth if necessary to pour over the meat. Pour enough broth to cover the meat. Refrigerate overnight. After the gelatin has partly set up, add the optional cracked peppercorns to the top.


Give Piggy 24 hours to unfreeze before you start processing.


Piggy needed a good wash and a shave! Soak Piggy in some cold water for 2 hours, then wash again.


Put Piggy into a food grade, 5 gallon pail with the brine solution.


Place a plate on Piggy to keep him under the brine solution. Leave Piggy in the brine solution for at least 8 hours or overnight.


My husband got the portable cooker ready for use. We don’t like cooking in the house during the summer months. This helps keep the house cool without air-conditioning.


Piggy got a long rinse before being put in a very large pot with some vegetables, spices and red wine. Use just enough water to cover Piggy.


I prefer to use a very heavy lid for long simmering.


This is what the stock looks like just before the boiling point. Piggy needs to cook for about four hours or until his jaw falls off.


This isn’t a proper stock pot with a heavy bottom for long simmering. This pot was designed for deep frying turkeys. We use it for processing chickens for freezer camp. The bottom of the pot is very thin and I was concerned the meat might get scorched. I found a case iron crepe pan to work as protection for the bottom of the pot.


Piggy’s jaw didn’t fall off after four hours of cooking so I gave an extra hour. Piggy gave about 2 gallons of broth. I’m thinking the broth will make wonderful French Onion Soup and Wild Mushroom Soup.


I cleaned the skin, fat, connective tissue and bone from the meat. I had enough meat for one bread pan. (Piggy’s cheeks had already been removed.) These discarded parts got portioned and put in the freezer for our warehouse cat. She will have many meals from Piggy’s remains.


In the morning, the head cheese was ready! Next time I’ll add cracked peppercorns for the top!

Homemade Seasonal Fruit Gummies


These homemade gummies are made with plums, sour cherries and raspberries.

This recipe is safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS.

Gummies are easy to make and are a nice (healthy) treat for children (and adults).

Homemade Seasonal Fruit Gummies

2c seasonal fruit juice or any clear, organic juice
8T Great Lakes Gelatin
In a small bowl, mix the gelatine with about 1/2c cold water and let the gelatine mixture sit for at least 5 minutes. Make some fruit juice using the recipe from Gelatin Jelly Dessert. Heat up the fruit juice to a boil. Remove from heat and add the gelatine mixture. Stir very well and pour into a glass bread pan. Refrigerate the gummies overnight before cutting into tiny squares. Store covered in the fridge.

Gelatine Jelly Dessert


This gelatine dessert is made with a mixture of frozen plum, sour cherries and raspberries. Gelatine Dessert is refreshing on hot, summer days!

This recipe is safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS.

“It is always best to soak the gelatine first, and then stir it in a small saucepan by the side of the fire in a very small quantity of water until dissolved.”
Mrs Beeton’s Book of Household Management (1861)

Most of us know gelatine desserts by the modern brand name, Jello. Gelatine (or jellies) were once a very popular dessert but have fallen out of fashion. These desserts are very easy to make and are a good way to consume more gelatine while using up excessive, seasonal fruit. The trick to making a good jelly is to use one tablespoon of gelatin for every two cups of hot, fruit juice.

“Jellies may be described as solutions of gelatine in water, with wine, fruit and other additions, and their clear, brilliant transparency one of their chief recommendations.”

Gelatine Jelly Dessert

3c assorted seasonal fruit: raspberries, sour cherries and plums
3c filtered water
1 organic lemon peel, grated
1T local honey (optional)
3T Great Lakes Gelatin
In a small bowl, mix the gelatine with about 1/2c cold water and let the gelatine mixture sit for at least 5 minutes. In a large sauce pan, bring the seasonal fruit, lemon zest and water to a boil. Simmer for 20-30 minutes. Strain the cooked fruit through a sieve, lined with cheese cloth. Compost the fruit pulp and reserve the fruit juice. Add the honey and gelatine mixture to the hot fruit juice and stir well. Pour the juice mixture into small glass bowls. Refrigerate until firm. Serve the jelly desert cold.

“Calf’s foot jelly, which is stiffened by the gelatine extracted from the feet by boiling, has the advantage of being perfectly pure, but it is no more nourishing than the jelly made from bought gelatine. When nourishing jelly is required, it is better made from good veal stock.”

Macadamia Candy


Macadamia Candy has a buttery flavor with a satisfying crunch, while not being too sweet. Warning: it’s hard to eat just one piece!

This recipe is safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS.

This recipe is a reworking of Walnut Chocolate Toffee using macadamia nuts. I had the good fortune of getting some macadamia nuts on a recent trip to Hawaii. If you are going to the Big Island, I would recommend going on a tour to Hamakua Macadamia Nut Company and bring back a big bag of macadamias!


Butter a piece of wax paper before pouring in the candy to avoid excessive sticking.

1/2c organic butter
1/4-1/3c local honey
1/2tsp sea salt
1T organic whipping cream
1T organic vanilla extract
1c organic macadamia nuts
As I’ve said before, making candy is a bit of a science and a bit of an art. Some people use the cooking time or temperature to decide if the candy is ready. Others use the color of the candy — that of a brown paper bag — to tell when the candy is ready. Another method is to drop a small amount of candy into a bowl of cold water and test the firmness of the candy between the thumb and forefinger. I find using the cooking time, the color of the candy and the water test (when in doubt) works best for me.

Butter a piece of wax paper and place it inside a 8″x8″ glass baking tray. In a sauce pan, warm the butter, honey and sea salt and bring to a boil. Stir all the time and boil for 7-8 minutes. This longer boiling time will result in a harder candy. Remove the candy from the heat and add the cream and vanilla extract and mix well. Be careful, the hot mixture will spit and foam up.

Stir in the macadamia nuts and quickly transfer the candy to a buttered, waxed paper. Made sure the candy is smooth and put the tray into the freezer. In about 10-15 minutes the candy will be ready to cut. Remove the wax paper and candy from the tray and place onto the counter for easier cutting. Cut into 32 pieces. Serve when completely cooled.


Remove the wax paper and candy from the glass tray before cutting. It’s easier to cut the candy before it has completely cooled.

Nutty Meatloaf


Meatloaf is an excellent lunch or travel food and is very nice by itself or served with raw cheese. Bring meatloaf to your next picnic!

This recipe is based on Spicy Meat Loaf from Nourishing Traditions by Sally Fallon-Morell.

This recipe is safe for someone on the Specific Carbohydrate Diet or GAPS.

2 pounds pastured ground beef
1 large organic onion, chopped
1 stalk organic celery, chopped
1 large organic carrot or yellow beet, chopped
1/4c butter or lard
1 organic bird’s eye pepper, crushed
1tsp organic thyme
1tsp organic peppercorn, freshly ground
1tsp sea salt
1c organic walnuts, chopped
2-3 pastured whole eggs
Grease a glass bread pan with butter or lard. Preheat the oven to 325F. Saute the chopped onions, celery, carrots and spices in butter or lard. In a large bowl mix the raw ground beef with the sauted vegetables. Add the walnuts and eggs one at a time. Mix very well and form the mixture into a log shape before placing into the bread pan. Press the mixture down firmly. Cook for 45-60 minutes. Let cool before slicing. Serve warm or cold with cheese or homemade spicy ketchup.


Meatloaf can be dressed up with some homemade spicy ketchup.