So, What are Leaf Scratchings?

Well thanks to Sue Lowe, here's what she tells us about the rarest of scratchings, Leaf Scratchings!

1. They are mouth-wateringly delicious!

2. You always used to be able to buy these scratchings from the butchers

They were chipped off a big block - I can remember them when I was a child, and so can my parents, who were born and raised in Wolverhampton.

From what I gather, they came about as a by-product of the lard making industry. Lard made from the "leaf" of the pig (the tissue surrounding the kidneys) is superior to other types of lard, and when the leaf is clarified to make the lard the tissues and bits of meat remain. I was told long ago that the remaining tissues were then compressed by a sort of cider press device (the reason they ended up in a big block) and were somehow cooked - although I imagine baked rather than fried. The result is flaky rather than crispy, with an intense porky flavour - reminiscent of parma ham.

coopers butchers leaf scratchings 03 768x576 - Leaf Scratchings from Coopers Family Butchers, Darlaston, West Midlands
coopers butchers leaf scratchings 02 768x576 - Leaf Scratchings from Coopers Family Butchers, Darlaston, West Midlands
coopers butchers leaf scratchings 01 768x576 - Leaf Scratchings from Coopers Family Butchers, Darlaston, West Midlands

Sadly, I believe the unpopularity of animal fats and also EU regulations contributed to the demise of these delicacies. In fact, I do remember one butcher's shop in Walsall that literally sold them "under the counter". However, I am happy to say that I do know of one butcher's shop in Darlaston that still sells them - they are Coopers of Darlaston and have a website, so have a look at it. They do three types of scratching: the regular rind type, leaf scratchings and something they call "chewy" - which is just like leaf scratchings only chewier (a bit like jerky) if you know what I mean. However, they do not always have the leaf scratchings as the raw materials are hard to come by.

3. They are very addictive!

4. They are available from...

Coopers Family Butchers, 195 Walsall Road, Darlaston, West Midlands, WS10 9SW
Tel: 0121 526 2181
Email: enquiries@coopersfamilybutchers.co.uk
Web: www.coopersfamilybutchers.co.uk/

A big thank you to Sue Lowe for the above information about Leaf Scratchings

We had no idea, before you got in touch!

We were sent some in 2015

Because Leaf Scratchings are the rarest of scratchings, we have never seen them. Luckily we were sent some by Carl Mildner to try. You can read about the leaf scratchings delivery here.

NOT Leaf Scratchings

I found these on ebay, you can click the image to see the listing if you like. They are not leaf scratchings, but pork scratchings called leaf scratchings.
As described above, real leaf scratchings are not made from pork rind.
not leaf scratchings - Leaf Scratchings from Coopers Family Butchers, Darlaston, West Midlands1?ff3=4&pub=5575510734&toolid=10001&campid=5338633649&customid=leaf 01&mpt=[CACHEBUSTER] - Leaf Scratchings from Coopers Family Butchers, Darlaston, West Midlands

What does a Cider Press look like?

If you don't know what a cider press looks like, see below.

in the information above, I'm guessing any sort of press could be used. A cider press has gaps in the sides to let the juice flow. But I'm pretty sure anything that squashes the 'leaf' would be OK. Maybe even a flower press?

1 Comment

  1. My Nan lived near East Park back in the late 50’s early 60’s. It was a big family and the house was always buzzing. Looking back (longingly now!) it was was a Black Country food Mecca.
    You name it we had it: massive pans of Gray Pays n Bacon, Pigs trotters and yellow split peas (which after a day or two of on and off boiling was like a gelatinous mass that you wouldn’t want to fall into!),Pigs Pudding etc,etc. But my favourite thing of all was when my uncle used to come home with a great big polythene bag of things called ‘Scratchings’. It was in fact rendered pork and was not salted. With a bit of salt they became the tastiest things ever and still are to this day – if you can get them that is. The last place I know of where you could get them until they retired was Bridgwater Bros. the Butchers down the Penn Rd in Wolvo.

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