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Preserving Meat - The Complete History

Preserving meat has been around since the beginning of time. Man first killed animals and they had to consume all the meat straight away as there was no way to store it.

Families would fest as they did not eat meat every day. Prehistoric man had a diet of berries and roots and meat when they could catch it.

Chickens were easy to domesticate and cows pigs and sheep followed.  In the colder countries in the northern hemisphere, it was easier to store meat as the meat could be stored in a cool chamber under the house or in a separate cool building near the house.

The way the made this was by building a stone wall and a stone roof and packing soil all around it to create a cool interior, there were air holes in the rock to allow air to flow so that moisture would evaporate.

Rabbits were also an easy catch as they were plentiful. People lay snares for them to catch them when they came out to play at night. Rabbits are easy to gut as you make one cut up the middle of the chest and pull on the insides out, you can then pull the outer skin off easily over the top of the rabbits head.

Pigs were used to eat all the scrapes off the villagers as they would consume anything. The meat was then used to make ham and gammon joints and the whole pig carcass was used in celebrations and was cooked on a spit.

The cow was prized for their milk and meat. Excess bulls would be slaughtered as the cows were kept to allow the breeding stock to increase. Milk production was a byline of this and keep villages supplied throughout the summer months.

Sheep were used for their wool and they kept villagers warm throughout the winter months. They were also used for meat when the animals got older.

All these meats were stored throughout the seasons. In the southern climates, meat was dried on branches of trees and later in modern dying rigs.

This meant meat could be stored for a lot longer and could be enjoyed whenever you were hungry.


  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. This is knowledge that may be needed again in the future.

  3. Hi....I remember having lots of rabbit as a child my grandad used to catch them..Rabbit is very much like chicken you just have to be careful not to over cook but a tasty meat :)


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