16 April 2011

Eating Ten Year Old Meat

How to Know Spoiled Meat

If you do not do something to preserve fresh meat, it tends to go bad rather quickly. Early humans discovered that eating fresh kill was healthier than eating days or weeks old flesh. Italians in Naples may be discovering the same thing:
Italian police arrested a Naples butcher after discovering worm-infested meat for sale in his store that was 10 years past its expiry date, the ANSA news agency reported Friday.

Shocked food safety inspectors discovered pasta and biscuits crawling with parasites, rotting meats and dairy products, and olives covered in mold in the store of horrors.

The butcher tampered with expiry dates on the products in order to keep on selling the items, even though some were a decade old, the report said.

Police arrested the butcher on suspicion of endangering public health. _FoxDC
Of course, the worms just add to the protein content. But seriously, how did the butcher preserve meat so well that it could be sold to conscious humans after ten years?

Curing Meat
Thousands of years ago, man figured out that salting and smoking meat could retard spoilage and improve flavor. One old-fashioned and time-tested method is the salt barrel. Packed in a barrel of salt, meat will last almost indefinitely. However, salt is a commodity like anything else: unless you have access to an unlimited supply of it, the salt barrel is a very resource intensive method of food preservation. Meat is often salt cured and smoked, but by itself, that is more for flavor than actual preservation. Ironically, the relatively low temperatures at which meat is smoked actually encourages the growth of one very serious pathogen: Botulism.

...To effectively preserve meat in a survival situation, you need only have two things: Salt and Sodium Nitrate. With these two ingredients, you can produce an unbelievable variety of cured and preserved meats that are ready for long term storage or immediate consumption, and eaten “raw” or cooked.

...To dry-cure the meat:
Wrap it in cheesecloth. This is to discourage insects. Hang it in a humid, cool environment. 70% humidity and 55 degrees Fahrenheit are ideal. Humidity may be increased by placing a container of salted water near the meat. Somewhat paradoxically, higher humidity actually yields better results. It may slow the curing process a bit, but in the absence of sufficient humidity, the outer surface of the meat will dry and lock moisture in, causing spoilage. A cellar or even an uninhabited cave is an ideal curing chamber. An unused refrigerator will work as well.

Depending on climate conditions, size, and type of meat, this can take anywhere from a week to several months. A ham should be cured for six months; a pork belly or duck breast only needs a week. It is ready when it has reduced its weight by a third, or just feels “cooked.” You may cook the meat after it is cured, or eat it as is. You can store it by leaving it to hang in the curing environment. It should last almost indefinitely, and add flavor and variety to your diet. _SurvivalBlog
So, according to the author of the piece above, dry cured meat "should last almost indefinitely." That is reassuring, should the power ever go down for 10 or 20 years.

Apparently butchers cannot get away with selling 20 year old meat, but if you are willing to practise the art of dry-curing until you become an expert at the craft, you may be able to put in a good supply of long-term meat, without depending upon a deep freeze to keep the meat edible.

Just something to consider as the moocher in chief doubles down on his lifetime revolutionary goals.

More: Drug-resistant bacteria are commonly found in supermarket meat and poultry. Is food irradiation the answer? Perhaps yet one more reason for stocking your survival compound with a small modular nuclear reactor.


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Blogger Loren said...

Sausage, ham, bacon, cheese, among others were all designed to preserve food in an edible state for long periods of time.

It's so odd that so many foods originally designed not to spoil are now required to be refrigerated.

Saturday, 16 April, 2011  

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