Old-Fashioned Techniques: How To Prepare And Preserve Your Meat For Long Periods Of Time

Sunday, September 2, 2018
By Paul Martin


If you don’t have access to a fridge anymore, what will you do? How will you preserve your meat for later use? People have been using other methods to preserve their food for centuries. This knowledge can come in real useful.

You can start by taking a look in your kitchen. Examine how much food you have and think how much of it would spoil without refrigeration.

Meat would be the first one to go once you lose electricity, but spoiling can be prevented using old-fashioned techniques. Methods such as smoking and curing are just two examples used for a long time, and are efficient when it comes to keeping meat from spoiling.

First, you need to decide on a place where you will store your meat. Ideally, you will want to do it in the coldest area available. Good examples are the attic, a storage shed, a shelter etc. Use a thermometer to check the temperature in each place and decide on the best one.

How to Cure Meat

Curing is a technique which basically involves preserving the meat in salt. This was one of the most common ways of keeping meat fresh in the days before refrigeration. Some still use it today, but now it is more about enhancing the flavor of the meat, not about preserving it.

Meat spoils because it is a good place for bacteria to thrive in. Bacteria need water, and there is a lot of water content in the meat, especially the muscle fibers. This is solved by introducing salt. It will expel a lot of the water from the meat, and creates an environment where bacteria cannot develop and multiply.

Besides the meat, you will also need a mixture of curing salt and brown sugar. For example, half a pound of salt mixed with a quarter cup of sugar should be enough for ten to twelve pounds of meat.

The sugar is necessary in order to counterbalance all of the salt, and will also give the meat a distinct flavor. If you like, other sweet products can be used such as honey or maple syrup.

You can also add your favorite herbs and spices if you want, they will also give your meat a unique aroma.

There is another ingredient which, ideally, should be included: sodium nitrite. It is particularly effective at fighting off botulism – a very bad bacterium which you do not want anywhere near your meat. At the same time, high levels of nitrite can also be toxic, and you need to take special care with this step.

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