By Karamagi Akiiki Ednah
Step 1 Identify your meat of preference that you would like to preserve
Step 2 Wash it and trim away loose ends to get a neat finish
Step 3 Pat it with a clean towel until completely dry
Step 4 Rub on it a mixture of desired aromatic dried and crushed plants like basil, rosemary, sage or even parsley. This gives it taste.
Step 5 Thoroughly rub salt onto it and finish by placing a layer of salt all over so as to stop the activity and reproduction of enzymes in the meat. The women in the rural areas use the local salt, known as “ekisura“.
Step 6 Hang the meat and let it air-dry for about three weeks. This should be in a room with temperatures of about 15 degrees centigrade. This is to enable effective curing and also for increased hygiene purposes. Also, check at least every two days or so for smell – it must maintain a desirable scent.
Step 7 Then it is ready for consumption. You will notice that it will have layers of salt on top. Wash off this using lot of running water and towel pat it to dry completely. Cook as desired.
Use of salt is a famous way for preserving meats in Uganda. This is especially in the rural areas where they cannot afford to buy a fridge. Meat by nature has enzymes that can easily spoil if not well preserved. One way therefore to stop its action is through application of salt.
Salt deactivates bacteria through the process of osmosis, whereby water is passed in and out of semi-permeable membranes. When raw meat is exposed to a high concentration of salt, the salt dissolves into the water in the meat, creating a salty solution that exerts pressure on the cell walls, disrupting the equilibrium in which the bacteria survive and feed. The outward pressure prevents the bacteria from drawing in any nutrients, and without nutrients, they are prevented from reproducing. Any spoilage that would normally take place due to bacterial growth is suspended in time.
Brine (salt / (salt + moisture)) of 3.5% will normally prevent serious pathogens (e.g., Clostridium botulinum) from growing. Brines of more than 10% will normally prevent all pathogenic bacteria from growing.