Eid-el-Kabir is a period of celebration marked by bleating of rams and mooing of cows the world over. Preserving your sallah meat is key to avoid wastage. This celebration is the second of two Islamic celebrations celebrated the world over every year and considered the holier of the two celebrations.
This celebration honours the willingness of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham) to sacrifice his son Ismael as an act of obedience to Allah’s command. But, before Prophet Ibrahim could sacrifice his son, Allah provided a lamb to sacrifice instead. In commemoration of this intervention, an animal, usually a Ram, is sacrificed ritually and divided into three parts.
One share is given to the poor and needy, another is kept for home, and the third is given to relatives. The whole of this meat cannot be consumed in a day, hence the need for preservation. Meat can be stored for weeks and months if preserved properly. Below are some of the ways you can preserve your meat.
Storing meat in a freezer is the most obvious method of preservation in recent times. Before you preserve your meat by freezing, you’ll have to prepare the meat. Remove as many bones as possible before freezing as bones take up space. Wrap in a plastic bag or heavy duty aluminium foil before freezing to prevent your freezer from ‘burn’ If you don’t have any of the above, you can use air-tight containers such as plastic or freezer safe jars and cans, polyethylene wrap and bags to wrap the meat. Ensure the wrapped meat is air tight before freezing.
To preserve meat by smoking, start by curing meat with salt before drying to extend shelf-life. Then smoke the meat at 145 degrees Fahrenheit for 7 hours or 155 degrees Fahrenheit for 4 hours. Do not exceed 155 degrees Fahrenheit as this will cook the meat (wrong result). You can also use the wood or sawdust style to smoke the meat. Smoked meats can last 1-2 months if stored properly in air-tight containers. Smoking also adds flavour to meats. However, modern recommendations are to consume smoked meat sparingly as smoke contains carcinogens.
When preserving meat by salting, ensure every layer of the meat is fully covered with salt then place pieces of meat in air-tight storage jars or plastic storage bags. Keep the jars/bags in a cool place, with 36-40 degrees Fahrenheit for a month. Do not allow to freeze. Salt cured meat can last 3-4 months without refrigeration if kept in air-tight packaging. When you’re ready to cook, rinse the excess salt off the meat.
This form of meat preservation can be achieved by cutting the meat into narrow strips and boiling for 3-5 minutes to get rid of bacteria. Remove the meat from the water and let drain until dry. You can bake in an oven on the lowest setting for 8-12 hours or you could put some wood together to make a fire to dry the meat. Properly dried meat will feel sticky, hard. Meat that’s preserved by drying can last for 1-2 months if stored properly in air-tight containers.
Just like every other preservation method, you’ll have to prepare the meat. Ensure you have a pressure canner and canning jars. Fill the canner with 2-3 inches of water. Start timing the canning process once the pressure gauge reaches the desired level, remove the canner from heat and allow to cool. Don’t open until fully cool and depressurized naturally. Canned food stored in a cool, dry place can last up to a year.