By Lisa Marie Stahl
It's a tradition and it's been practiced for as long as I can remember. Making sausage is a routine thing which we do five or six times a year.
My colony makes sausages from ham and salami, to Saturday and Summer sausage. Ham and salami is made and served year round, while Saturday sausage is only made during the winter months.
The procedure of making sausage is very interesting to watch, but the skill and tricks of making a perfect batch takes time and practice.
To start, the beef needed is butchered and allowed to age in our large fridge for two weeks. Two weeks later we butcher the pork, and after it's been in the fridge overnight, we cut it up and grind it.
The batches are made in pounds of 100. After the meat and spices have been mixed together in a large dough mixer, it's allowed to mix for 20 minutes to a half hour. Then the meat is put into a huge sausage maker, which presses the meat together (taking out all the extra air) as it's pressed into sausage casings.
The sausage casings range from sizes of round thin and thick sticks to round coils. They range from six inches to two and half feet.
When they are ready to be smoked, they're hung several inches apart (they shouldn't touch each other) and close to the top of the smoke house. There it's smoked at a low temperature for up to 12 hours.
I'd have to say our Saturday sausage is the most popular at my colony. I've often been asked why it's called Saturday sausage; it's because during the winter it's served for lunch every Saturday.
Each Saturday we simmer the sausage for a half hour and eat it with a mouthwatering soup called "Gasha." During the week, we'll sometimes fry or barbecue the sausage. But no matter how it's made, year after year it remains a favorite by everybody.
As I mentioned before, making sausage is traditional and has been around for a while. It's a trade which is being passed on to the younger generation.
At the present time, one of the younger guys at the colony is being trained to make sausage and also how to smoke other meats such as chicken, turkey, fish, etc. Passing on a trade like this one and many others is one of the steps in keeping communal living alive and active.