In days, long, long ago, before people had domestic refrigerators, people had to think of creative ways of storing precious meat so that the shelf life could be extended. In fact, it was not only meat that was preserved this way, but also fish. The preferred method of salting the meat or fish was by either using dry salt or brine of concentrated salted water. Sometimes the method is called ‘corning’ especially when coarse salt was used. Meat done in this way is still commonly called corned meat.
This method of curing meat is very effective as salt inhibits the growth of microorganisms through a process of osmosis. Sometimes the salted meat is also smoked. Especially in more traditional outdoor kitchens where wood is the cooking fuel of choice, meat is hung above the fireplace so it can be smoked.
My grandmother and mother both made salted meat, and I have come to absolutely love the flavour of salted meat. And so now, I make salted meat for my own family. It is not uncommon to add other ingredients to the salted meat. Garlic, bay leaf and pimento or allspice are some of the ingredients used in salting meat, apart from the salt itself, ofcourse.
I recently made some salted beef. It is really delicious in soups and stews and I would love for you to try it. You can watch this VIDEO to see how I made mine or you could follow the instructions below.
Here is what you will need for salting meat
Fresh beef (with or without bones)
salt (at least 20% of the weight of the meat)
Pimento, ground, or whole
12 bay leaves
The method for salting meat
Sterilize a box that has a secure lid. Plastic and glass containers are suitable
Add the fresh, clean beef to the box.
Add the salt, sprinkling all over, then next add the ground or whole pimento seeds. You can crush some of the seeds in a clean tea towel to add to the box. Once all the ingredients are added, stir well to combine or you can use your hands to rub the salt into the meat.
Meat cured this way will last for weeks or up to 2 months. It does not need to be stored in the fridge but of course, if you have the space in your fridge, it can be stored there.
You can start to use your salted meat in a matter of 7 days. Be sure to boil the meat and get rid of that water before you are ready to add it to your desired dish. The flavour will still be lovely but you will not have all that salt to contend with.
Can you imagine if we had to resort to methods like this to preserve meat? What with the current energy ‘crises’? Well, you learnt here how you can preserve meat!
Please do let us know if you tried it and remember, you can always watch the video to remind you of the steps.
See you next time.