Home >> Encyclopedia Americana, Volume 26 >> Sunstroke to Switzerland >> Swine_P1


hog, bacon, lard, pork, fat and corn

Page: 1 2 3

SWINE. General Swine are of immense importance in the commerce of the world. In the United States alone there are some 65,000,000 of swine on the farms and in the hamlets. This figures some two-thirds of a hog for every human being in this nation.

Swine products are many and various,— fats, particularly lard, is one of the chief pro ductions. A real fat hog produced on corn in the pastures of the corn belt may yield as much as 50 pounds of fat in every hundred pounds of his live weight; hams which are eaten fresh, boiled, fried, cured with hickory and other smokes, are relished the world over; bacon, the toothsome breakfast dish of Anglo Saxons, has no substitute: sausages; spare ribs; pepsin extracted from pigs' stomachs for the medicinal doctoring of human stomachs; the bristly coat is used for brushes and as filler for cushions; the bones are ground for fertilizer; the hide is made into leather; in truth every ounce is utilized, nothing goes to waste.

The source of the hog is shrouded in con siderable mystery, although the true swine, the wild boar and his kind (Sus scrofa), probably developed in the Asiatic continent. Fossil re mains have been found in Europe and India although not on the North American continent. The Peccaries found in Mexico and other southern countries are not to be confused with the true domesticated hog that is of such great commercial value. The Peccary is of American origin. The historic swine, therefore, that gave rise to the present day common hog may be basically considered as the wild boar (Sus scrofa) with which was infused in the early days the swine of China, Japan and eastern Asia (Sus Indicus). An eminent Chinese scholar estimates that swine were domesticated in eastern Asia about 2900 B.C., whereas the European records indicate a period of domesti cation about 1500 a.c. To these early efforts of the human race we owe much for the improve ment and development of the now-a-day swine.

The flesh of swine has been used by all peoples apparently who came in contact with them. The Greeks and the Romans were adepts of the fine art of preparing and serving pork.

Pork is of particular advantage to civilized peoples in that it can be preserved by salting, smoking and other forms of cures so that it may be kept in edible condition for many years. Hams rightly cured appeal more and more to the epicure as the years unfold, so that hams five and six years from the ulcillinge are par ticularly appetizing. In the ordinary consump tion of pork, however, hams seldom reach their first birthday before being eaten. Salt pork and smoked meats from the pig are shipped all over the world and many a nation owes con siderable of its prosperity to its pork com merce.

Types and The domestic hog is entirely different from his wild progenitors. And yet domestic swine are widely different even among themselves as regards their gen eral body conformation. Swine have been pro duced to meet the demands of the market as well as to fit into certain environments so as to utilize the home-grown feeds to the greatest advantage. We have, therefore, two great pre dominating types developed to their highest efficiency in Europe and particularly America,— these being the so-called bacon and lard types. Naturally the bacon hog is fine for bacon and lean meat ingeneral, while the lard hog is best for fat (lard) and fatty sausage. The bacon hog flourishes in those sections where there is an abundance of small grains such as barley, oats, wheat and plenty of milk, whereas the lard hog is primarily of American origin, de veloping simultaneously with Indian corn or maize, a feed most excellently adapted to the production of fat, being highly concentrated and composed of these materials, namely the starches and fats, that are converted through the pig's metabolism into the lard and corn belt pork sausages. Denmark, England and Canada are all good bacon type regions,— Denmark principally because of her milk by products and England because of her excellent pastures and cereals and Canada because of her cereal grains and milk products.

Page: 1 2 3