Friday, November 28, 2014

The Australian Government. Criminal Acts Against The Australian People.

20 hrs · 
We have posted a link to Peter Wellingtons (Qld Ind) page where he refers to the decision in Qld Parliament last night to give mining companies unfettered access to the water of the Great Artesian Basin.
It now seems clear that the plan of the Abbott Federal Government and both the Baird Government in NSW and the Seeney Newman Government in Qld is to mine all the productive farmland and give all the available water across to the mining and coal seam gas companies.
Since there are no genuine attempts being to help the tragic plight of our drought stricken farmers, it would seem that the next part of that plan to simply allow the banks to sell them off and allow the Chinese to buy them.
Nobody in high places is denying these suggestions, however far-fetched they might seem to the most trusting and politically naïve amongst us..
It would seem the question of who will feed the Australian people in the future hasn't even crossed their minds.
So here is the truth: We have been plundered, we have had our assets and property rights stripped off us - and yet the voters - the good and decent Australian people - have never been asked their opinion about this. Not once.
All of this has been done by stealth and behind closed doors.
How did this really happen? Maybe one day the truth will come out. and its going to be shocking stuff.
Clearly, what happens next is not going to be pretty.
Please come on board and stand beside us in defence of our country. Your grandchildren will thank you.he 

Peter Wellington
Artesian basin on death row following LNP changes to Water Act
Last night the LNP committed environmental vandalism by changing the Water Act to give mining companies unfettered access to water.
This means that water in our great artesian basin that has been accumulated for thousands of years is under threat. Opponents of the legislation have estimated a volume equal to 10 Sydney harbours will be taken over the next 30 years.
Just over a decade ago, farmers were worrying about the diminishing supply of water from the great artesian basin. And yet this LNP Government has bowed to pressure from the mining giants and given them unfettered access to this water.
As one Darling Downs cattle producer said on the ABC today, there’s one rule for the miners and another for the farmers.
The lowering of the water table, means the farmers come a poor second and will have to compete with the big miners to survive.
And when the mines are finished and the water is all gone we will be left with an arid desert.
The Government boasts about new trading agreements with China to buy our agriculture products but how the hell can you have a viable cattle/sheep industry when the miners have turned the State into a big quarry. We’ll be buying our food from New Zealand who unlike the LNP Government value and protect their farm land.
Just another example why people need to put LNP last on the ballot paper.

Monday, November 24, 2014


Now is our chance to change things for Australia. Our government system is no longer working for the average citizen. PLEASE take this opportunity to SIGN this petition. We may not get another chance.
Regards, Keith.

As the recently held Getup Get Together, we spoke about all the usual issues like climate change, refugees/ asylum seekers, education and tax/ mining tax/ climate tax.

But at the end of the day, we thought the reason we have these issues at all is due to the political system being less transparent than ever.  The engagement levels being low across the board and politics being more of a sideshow* than a system of public debate for the greater good.

So we came up with these top 3 issues for the upcoming Federal election:

1.  We want to be able to vote for the issues not individual personalities or political parties.
2.  We want a system that holds politicians to account for their promises and sanctions implemented for politicians that lie. This includes honest costings of promises.
 3.  Pressure the media to stop sensationalising the news and report on the issues, the hard stories and stop focussing on the personalities.

If you support these issues too, please sign this, and when you vote this federal election, think about the issues more than the personalities of Julia vs Tony

*as Lindsay Tanner wrote...

Why is this important?

If we stopped politicking and started paying attention to the issues we could evolve into a great country, wealthy in knowledge and ability (not just minerals) and take ownership of our decisions as a country.
Lets vote for a better system, to later on actually be able to have a say in what decisions are made in Canberra on our behalf.

How it will be delivered

Supporters of this petition will both be delivered to politicians across Australia (electronically) but also become a part of the new system!
Please Go To This Like & Sign:

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Truth And Nothing But The Truth About 1080.

1080 Conspiracy

The Truth And Nothing But The Truth
By Hans Willems©2002

Imagine the following scenario. You have the most toxic poison known to man – so poisonous the United States security agencies considered classifying it as a terrorist weapon
Imagine this poison is odourless and tasteless and therefore impossible to detect, there is no antidote and there are no medical tests capable of detecting this super poison in the body. The poison works with stealth as it takes several hours to develop symptoms. This poison is so toxic that skin contact, inhalation, contact with the eyeball or ingesting as little as 0.06 (6/100) of a metric gram, said to be the size of a full stop, means certain death.
The poison takes a very long time to break down and it can not be diluted - its level of toxicity remains the same regardless of what it is mixed with.
Because the poison is slow acting it causes a prolonged and painful death. If this sounds like a horror story, you’re right. Such a super poison exists! Right here in beautiful, clean, green New Zealand the poison is spread far and wide from helicopters and planes. It’s name: sodium monofluoroacetate abbreviated to ‘compound 1080’.
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It takes a rabbit, a cat or a dog between three and forty hours to die from 1080.
The list of symptoms includes; restlessness, hyper excitability, trembling, rapid and shallow breathing, incontinence and diarrhoea, excessive salivation, twitching of facial muscles, involuntary movement of the eyeballs, bulging eyes with enlarged pupils, rapid blinking and discharge of mucus from the eye, lack of balance and coordination, abrupt bouts of screaming and finally bursts of violent activity after which the victim falls to the ground in a massive seizure with limbs rigidly extended from the arched body.

This tonic phase is then followed by a clonic phase in which the victim lies and kicks or paddles with the limbs, screams, crawls around with eyes rolled back and grinding teeth, protruding tongue and, in male victims, erect penis. Breathing will be rapid and laboured and the victim may be partly choking on saliva.
Then follows the terminal stage where the victim begins to breathe slowly and with limbs still extended dies of cardiac and/or respiratory arrest.

Compound 1080 has a scientifically and medically well documented and well-characterised mechanism of action through interference with the Krebs cycle in mammalians by causing a lethal accumulation of citric acid in the body, which in turn causes the violent convulsions and death from cardiac or respiratory arrest.
Tests have shown that dogs and rabbits accumulate 1080 in their bodies following sub lethal doses until lethal levels are attained. Tests reports by the US Environmental Protection Agency (US EPA) state that non-human primates and rodents have shown an increased tolerance (not immunity) to challenging doses following repeated sub lethal doses of the poison.
What would happen to people ingesting a sub lethal dose?
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Trabes et al. in a 1983 report presented a documented case of a 15-year old female attempting suicide by ingesting 1080.
After showing a variety of the symptoms previously described, the patient became comatose following  about five hours of suffering, regaining consciousness after three days and growing progressively alert over the next two weeks. Subsequent neurological examinations showed an array of neurological dysfunctions to extensive to mention here.After 18 months the patient presented with severe memory disturbances and persistent depressive behaviour combined with permanent cerebellar ataxia (loss of control of bodily movements).
Sodium monofluoroacetate was first synthetically produced in 1896 by a Belgian scientist and, initially used as a contact/systemic pesticide (David 1950), was patented in 1927 (Twigg & King 1961).

However the chemical proved to be so toxic it was deemed too dangerous and in Belgium and other western European countries 1080 was withdrawn from the market and not been legally available since.
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The United States Fish and Wildlife Service experimented with the poison during WWII and classified it suitable as a rodenticide and in 1944 attached the name ‘Compound 1080’.
The Facts And The Fable
Right now, the 1080 issue is a huge one among outdoor recreationists and it is not only crucially important to the health of the New Zealand population at large but also to the survival of our native bird and insect life, not to forget the survival of the overseas perception of our country as a clean, green place.

Our typical laissez faire - laissez passé attitude towards a government department is the very attitude that has allowed this hideous poison to be used in New Zealand for almost 50 years!
The poison 1080 is manufactured in the USA by Tull Chemical Co of Alabama USA and imported by Polygon Products of Lower Hutt. Of the two factories in New Zealand which manufacture the bait and mix it with the poison, one is located in the North Island (Wanganui) and one in the South Island (Waimate) .Both factories are State Owned Enterprises ( SOE’s) and the directors appointed by the government may include ministers of the Crown and MPs. While there may be a degree of moral/ethical conflict, legally all is above board and there are no ministers (past or present) who own the factory.
The manufacturer, Tull Chemical, clearly states in its instructions as to the poison’s proper use that the poison should be kept out of waterways and should only be used in secure bait stations and/or burrows underground.
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Despite those recommendations and despite regulations by the Civil Aviation Authority as to the safe dispensing of chemicals (CAA Regs Sec. 137.53) governmental, local and district bodies continue aerial drops, knowing full well it will get into waterways and be exposed on the ground.
CAA Regs. 91.235 state that it is an offence to drop anything from an aircraft without taking reasonable precautions.
Is it taking reasonable precautions knowing the poison will get in waterways, kill protected wildlife and endanger the health and well being of people?
The Wildlife Act 1953 (Sect. 6 Sched. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5) states that all wildlife specified in said schedules , including birds, is absolutely protected and that actions in breach are a punishable offence. Any reasonable person knows that blanketing an area with a deadly poison known as super toxic will kill birds.
Is it then reasonable that DOC et all escape prosecution by stating they have or had no intent of killing protected birds, despite knowing and having publicly stated, that native birds will die because of their actions?

Does a murderer or a drunk driver get away without prosecution because they had no intent of killing? If ignorance before the law is said not to be an excuse or justification, why is it so interpreted when government, provincial and local authorities are involved?
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Statement: 1080 Breaks down in water.
The poison will not break down in pure water. It only breaks down in impure water which has micro-organisms to facilitate the breakdown. Breakdown rate is subject to the quantity of these organisms and the water temperature. The colder the water, the longer it takes to breakdown the poison.

Sick animals head to water and when entering an area where a 1080 drop has occurred, it is common to find rotting carcasses of deer, possums, rats, stoats and native birds in streams and rivers. Rivers which in New Zealand are often the source of town and city water supplies.
1080 occludes (clings) vigorously to vegetation and wipes out aquatic, surface and sub-surface insects and worms. During aerial drops, bait dust laden with 1080 is carried for large distances in the air, settling onto trees, roofs, grass etc. and therefore can get into drinking water.

Statement: 1080 breaks down quickly in soil.

In optimum conditions it can break down in about one month.

For this to happen it is imperative that soil or water temperature is an optimum 23 degrees Celsius – something which, even in summer, what with New Zealand’s fast flowing waterways, is unlikely to happen under the tree canopy. Whenever research claims the poison breaks down in water fast, one should keep in mind that such tests have been performed in a laboratory under the most favourable conditions ie, a water temperature of 21 to 23 (DOC claims 11 – 20) degrees Celsius.
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In cool conditions 1080 takes months to break down. The poison remains in the forest’s leaf litter for three months or longer even under the most favourable conditions for break down (Mead’s Report, Whitecliffs, 1994).
The Meads report was particularly damning about the use of 1080 and it comes as no surprise that it was never published because the Department Of Conservation claimed it not of satisfactory scientific standards (Jenkins, August 2002).
This toxic menace kills anything that ingests it and the effect on birds and insects is dramatic. 
The poison is considered mobile and thus leaches into the soil where it inevitably settles in the cooler layers, remaining there for extended periods. In the light of this, it is not unreasonable to conclude that the poison keeps on leaching into waterways for a long time. It is equally reasonable to state that the poison is absorbed by trees and plants. 
Allegedly one New Zealand forestry company has stopped its contractors from using 1080 in possum control after overseas buyers complained about high concentrations of the poison in timber.
The ramifications of that don’t bear thinking about. Timber and wood pulp is used in paper and carton manufacturing and fruit boxes – another way for the poison to get into the food chain.
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Statement: 1080 is a safe poison.
Apart from the fact that it is a nonsense to call any poison safe, world authority Charles Eason (Landcare NZ) stated that 1080 is one of the world’s super toxins and needs to be treated with infinite care.

Apart from the previously mentioned properties 1080 is so poisonous that each pellet of bait is said to contain enough poison to kill up to six healthy adult humans. Since it does not break down in the body, there is a high risk of direct or secondary poisoning to non-target creatures. 
The following is but one example of the many ecological and environmental disasters caused by the Department of Conservation. After one poison drop over Kapiti, DOC under public pressure released the following data referring to bird mortality:
10 - 20 per cent kiwi, 20 per cent kaka, 90 per cent weka, 50 per cent+ native robin, 90 per cent certain wren species (mohua, tomtit), 100 per cent fern birds and 27 per cent stitch birds. 
As to the above figures DOC (Jenkins 2002) claims, for reasons obvious, that fernbirds are (not were) not found on Kapiti. 
The implications of the 50 per cent kill of native robins in the Kapiti poison drop alone are a sure-fire recipe for extinction.
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The robins’ gene pool, reduced every five years (considered the optimum frequency for spreading 1080) by 50 per cent over a period of 50 years, would mathematically reduce the gene pool by more than 99 per cent over that period. Result? The bird’s extinction. 
This is not a hypothetical situation as there are several other incidents like this caused by the very people in charge of fostering native bird life; DOC. 
There are alternative methods of possum eradication and for keeping game numbers to acceptable levels for everyone concerned. These have worked in the past and they will work again, provided DOC and the government, who uses its monopoly on processing this poison as a money spinner, show the will to seriously attack the possum problem. Bait stations can be operated in any area accessible by helicopter and a decent bounty on possums is not only a healthier and cheaper alternative, it also creates jobs. 
It would behove all involved in using this poison to consult with previous and present commercial possum trappers as to the solutions to the problem. Sadly however, complaints, objections and suggestions as to more environmental and healthier solutions fall on the deaf ears of departments and authorities that are in the habit of bulldozing their way ahead regardless. 
Research in this matter revealed that after nearly 50 years of use of what probably is the most toxic substance known, there was until very recently no blood testing procedure in place in New Zealand. 
What’s more, there is only one laboratory capable of analysing these tests, Landcare.
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In 1999 a US EPA report stated that 1080 should not be used because there is inadequate safety data available to determine hazards to non-target fish, birds and mammals, and because of the absence of a validated analytical method with detection limits low enough to determine concentrations of the poison. 
The Department Of Conservation, through a column by Mr Chris Jenkins in the Rotorua Daily Post, August 2002, claims the department took over 1000 water samples after major aerial 1080 drops and Quote[…no evidence was found of prolonged 1080 contamination.] unquote. 
This is but one example of the department’s way of stating half-truths and/or befuddle the public at large. 
Firstly, the observant reader will note that there was contamination. 
Secondly, do we take it that DOC’s sampling methods are more sophisticated than those of the US Environmental Protection Agency?
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Mr Jenkins, in his report, then continues to state that rules forbid any dropping of 1080 within 50 metres of waterways. 
Not only is this writer intimately familiar with the New Zealand back country but also with the workings of helicopters. 
I can therefore indisputably state that if the department were to adhere strictly to that rule, and it should, what with the infinite number of minor waterways all shedding their water ultimately in rivers, aerial poison drops in the greater New Zealand back country would be next to impossible. 
The US EPA considered the quality of safety data on 1080 inadequate and outdated and therefore has cancelled the registration of 1080 for all baits in the USA, except for limited use in livestock collars. 
In that context it is interesting to also note Mr Jenkins’ statement that Quote[…field samples show that 1080 does not leach through soils in measurable amounts (ie, amounts so small that they are undetectable] unquote. 
Even if we were to accept the doubtful fact that DOC’s testing procedure’s are more sophisticated than those of the US EPA, is the public supposed to be assured by that statement? Especially in view of the fact that a minute 0.05 grams of this poison is deadly to humans and tests have shown 1080 to work accumulatively in non-human primates?
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Long term Effects
A report on the link between Parkinson’s disease and pesticides (Meriel Watts, Soil and Health
2001, volume 60, No 1, page 16 – 18) states the gathering evidence of worldwide medical research, implicating 1080 among other pesticides, as an important trigger factor in the development of this devastating and irreversible condition. Other forms of chronic neurological disease are also implicated.

Quote: [A steady stream of studies from around the world have shown again and again that a common thread among victims of Parkinson’s is a history of exposure to insecticides and herbicides (Montague 1999.] unquote. 
In addition, sodium monofluoroacetate is declared by the State Of California to…cause cancer and or is reproductive toxic.
Make no mistake; it is not only the people involved in the direct handling of the poison who will be affected. As the poison will stay around for extended periods in the areas where aerial 1080 drops have taken place, it will also affect trampers, hunters and bird watchers. In fact, anyone venturing in the outdoors.
That alone should be enough of an argument to stop the use of this highly toxic substance in New Zealand by way of aerial blanket drops.
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If not, then consider the fact that more than 99 per cent of all 1080 used worldwide is aerially spread in clean, green New Zealand. That should serve as enough of a warning to those who justify its use by never telling the whole truth. 
Or could it be that those using it so extensively don’t know the full truth themselves? 
One DOC officer involved in aerial poisoning tried to justify the use of sodium monofluoroacetate by saying; ”You should be more worried about fluoride in your drinking water”. Little did he know that it is precisely fluoride that 1080 ultimately breaks down to in water and the question arises how much or how little of a fluoride concentration is acceptable in our water. 
Its only a matter of time before somebody dies through contact with the poison. When that happens there will be no Cave Creek cop-out for DOC and the only just verdict will have to be murder. 
The Government gets up in arms about nuclear propelled ships entering our ports, about shipments of uranium passing us by umpteen thousands of miles away and about Genetic Engineering because there’s political gain to be had. What happens if ever anything goes wrong with a shipment of 1080 to our shores? Yet the Government’s silence on the matter is deafening because it is the financial beneficiary.
Worse is the fact there is only one political party with responsible policy on the matter, Outdoor Recreation NZ.

If anyone cares to find out more about this scourge go on the internet and use the Google search engine and type in “poison + 1080”. What you’ll find out won’t be pretty.

What will become clear is that there are literally thousands of pages of anti 1080 content. This writer has still to find a single page advocating 1080 as the conservation blessing the Ministry and Department of Conservation et all want to sell it for to New Zealand.
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In the final analysis it seems a great irony that this highly dangerous substance is solely used by the very organisations that are supposed to look after the country’s environment and human and animal health.
I for one, having seen a dog die after just carrying a dead possum carcass in its mouth, wonder where the SPCA is in all of this. Or is the death of a pet more horrific than that of an animal living in the wild?
The greatest of ironies however, must surely be the seal of justification through the support of those self-proclaimed scions of conservation, the Forest and Bird Society (F&B), with former president Kevin Smith as principal advisor to Sandra Lee, the last minister of conservation.
To add injury to insult, Janette Fitzsimons (e-mail 22-05-2002) states that the Green Party has no policy on the matter.
No threat to the environment, real or perceived, can be so great it needs to be fought with an even bigger evil of 1080’s calibre.
Minds are like a parachute; they only work when open.
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About 3000 words
Hans Willems©2002
58 Hendley Road, Patoka
Phone: 06 – 839 8918 Fax: 06 – 839 8920 
©Kaka 1080 Group 2008

It Was Only A Matter Of Time ! A Major CSG Blowout !!!! Also, check out the links.

NEWS FLASH, NEWS FLASH. You wont see this in Des houghton of the couriermail articles, or the Chimpchilla News. Nor will you see it on lamestream media. There has been a major CSG incident near Chinchilla. An incident involving both Arrow and Origin so I have been told. It involves the blowing of an aquifer, a water bore blowing out very impressively so i am told. The CSG compliant unit has attended and it is reported to me, they have told the Gas Co's to fix the problem. Of course there is no make good for this and monetry compensation is the only solution. I have been informed the figure of $1,000,000 is the proposed compensation. But my concern is will $1,000,000 silence this issue, is that all the future of our nation is worth. Also if it is as it has been reported to me, a whole of aquifer damage, what about all the food that was going to be grown from this aquifer. What about all the other farmers in the area who rely on this aquifer to remain productive. My personal opinion is it is TIME FARMERS stood up and said, MONEY is not the amswer, shutting this industry down is the answer. Instead I suspect the monetry value will be all that is required to silence this issue, destroy the lives of numerous productive farmers as the problem spreads, and all the while slimy no account journalists will continue to spread the co-existence bullshit. So how much truth is in this allegation, enough for me to hear it from both the CSG industry and farmers alike. Will I pursue this, no, I dont use underground water, our bore is already poisoned, both the industry and the government have covered that up. This claim is for FARMERS who will be impacted to chase up, for any journalist if there are any left in lamestream to follow up. It is common knowledge. For those of you who dont live in a gasfeild, you will not realize this industry leaks information at an alarming rate, my personel belief is that people working in the industry are just trying to relieve the burden on their soul by leaking information. So has anyone got the balls to follow this up, probably not, but we are talking an aquifer, not a water bore, we are talking an aquifer.

The Dangers Of Using 1080 Poison In Our Environment.

My sincere thanks to R.C. Hurly and my good friend Russ Tyenna for bringing these problems to my further attention.

1080 poison is dangerous, it has been banned in other countries, and yet the New Zealand and Australian governments are still using this poison. It is dangerous to all native wildlife, domestic stock, fish and humans. I have banned the use of 1080 on my property, the government is not pleased with me, they told me so on the phone. Please watch these videos.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Simple techniques for production of dried meat

My thanks to Ben Priest for this link.

2. Simple techniques for production of dried meat

Drying meat under natural temperatures, humidity and circulation of the air, including direct influence of sun rays, is the oldest method of meat preservation. It consists of a gradual dehydration of pieces of meat cut to a specific uniform shape that permits the equal and simultaneous drying of whole batches of meat.
Warm, dry air of a low humidity of about 30 percent and relatively small temperature differences between day and night are optimal conditions for meat drying. However, meat drying can also be carried out with good results under less favourable circumstances when basic hygienic and technological rules are observed. Intensity and duration of the drying process depend on air temperature, humidity and air circulation. Drying will be faster under high temperatures, low humidity and intensive air circulation.
Reducing the moisture content of the meat is achieved by evaporation of water from the peripheral zone of the meat to the surrounding air and the continuous migration of water from the deeper meat layers to the peripheral zone (Fig. 6).
There is a relatively high evaporation of water out of the meat during the first day of drying, after which it decreases continuously. After drying the meat for three or four days, weight losses of up to 60–70 percent can be observed, equivalent to the amount of water evaporated. Consequently, moisture losses can be monitored by controlling the weight of a batch during drying.
Continuous evaporation and weight losses during drying cause changes in the shape of the meat through shrinkage of the muscle and connective tissue. The meat pieces become smaller, thinner and to some degree wrinkled. The consistency also changes from soft to firm to hard.
In addition to these physical changes, there are also certain specific biochemical reactions with a strong impact on the organoleptic characteristics of the product. Meat used for drying in developing countries is usually derived from unchilled carcasses, and rapid ripening processes occur during the first stage of drying as the meat temperature continues to remain relatively high. For that reason the specific flavour of dried meat is completely different from the characteristic flavour of fresh meat. Slight oxidation of the meat fats contributes to the typical flavour of dried meat.
Undersirable alterations may occur in dried meat when there is a high percentage of fatty tissue in the raw meat. The rather high temperatures during meat drying and storage cause intensive oxidation (rancidity) of the fat and an unpleasant rancid flavour which strongly influences the palatability of the product.
Meat drying is a complex process with many important steps, starting from the slaughtering of the animal, carcass trimming, selection of the raw material, proper cutting and pre-treatment of the pieces to be dried and proper arrangement of drying facilities. In addition, the influence of unfavourable weather conditions must also be considered to avoid quality problems or production losses. The secret of correct meat drying lies in maintaining a balance between water evaporation on the meat surface and migration of water from the deeper layers.
In other words, care must be taken that meat surfaces do not become too dry while there is still a high moisture content inside the meat pieces. Dry surfaces inhibit the further evaporation of moisture, which may result in products not uniformly dried and in microbiological spoilage starting from the areas where the moisture content remains too high.
Adherence to the following meat-drying techniques should avoid failures in the production of dried meat and ensure obtaining products of good quality with a long shelf-life. The following description of the basic technology of meat drying includes the salting of the meat before drying. Presalting is not absolutely necessary, but has certain advantages, particularly for the drying of meat strips and large flat meat pieces and is therefore strongly recommended for this type of product.
As a general rule only lean meat is suitable for drying. Visible fatty tissues adhering to muscle tissue have a detrimental effect on the quality of the final product. Under processing and storage conditions for dry meat, rancidity quickly develops, resulting in flavour deterioration.
Dry meat is generally manufactured from bovine meat although meat from cameloids, sheep, goats and venison (e.g. antilopes, deer) is also used. The meat best suited for drying is the meat of a medium-aged animal, in good condition, but not fat. Meat from animals in less good nutritional condition can also be used for drying, but the higher amount of connective tissue is likely to increase toughness.
It is very important that raw material for the manufacture of dry meat is examined carefully for undersirable alterations such as discoloration, haemorrhagic spots, off-odours, manifestation of parasites, etc. Such defects must be trimmed off.
Carcasses have to be properly cut to obtain meat suitable for drying. Owing to their size, beef carcasses are more difficult to handle under rural conditions than carcasses of sheep, goats or game. In the absence of chilling facilities, beef carcasses must be cut and deboned immediately after slaughter.
Carcass cutting
The carcass is first split into two sides along the spinal column and then cut into quarters. Fore- and hindquarters are separated after the last rib, thus leaving no ribs in the hindquarter. For suspension the hindquarter is hooked by the Achilles tendon and the forequarter by the last two ribs (see Fig. 5).
After the quarters are suspended so that they do not touch the floor or anything around them, they are trimmed. Careful trimming is very important for the quality and shelf-life of the final product. The first step is to remove with a knife all visible contamination and dirty spots. Washing these areas will spread bacterial contamination to other parts of the meat surface without cleaning the meat (Fig. 7).
After completing the necessary cleaning of the meat surfaces, knives and hands of personnel must be washed thoroughly. Using a sharpened knife, the covering fat from the external and internal sides of the carcass and the visible connective tissue, such as the big tendons and superficial fasciae, are carefully trimmed off.
It is recommended that this operation should start with the hindquarters and follow with the forequarters. The aim is to remove the bones with the least possible damage to the muscles. Incisions into the muscles are inevitable but only at spots where the bones adhere and have to be cut off.
Deboning of the suspended hindquarter should start from the leg and proceed to the rump and muscles along the vertebral column.
Deboning of the forequarter must start with cutting and deboning the shoulder separately, followed by cutting off the rib set, together with the intercostal muscles.
Deboning of the forequarter is completed by removing the meat from the neck and the breast region of the spinal column.
Anatomic cuts, which were separated from the carcass, are suspended again (Fig. 8) and the big individual muscles are carefully cut out, while the smaller muscles are left together. The next step consists in cutting the muscles into thin strips. This operation is crucial for the appearance and quality of the final product. All strips to be dried in one batch must be cut to an identical shape. Care must also be taken to obtain rather long strips of meat.
There are two ways of cutting muscles or smaller muscle groups into strips:
  • cutting the meat after placing it on an appropriate clean chopping board (Fig. 9); or
  • cutting the muscle in the hanging position (Fig. 10).
In both cases the muscles have to be split exactly along the muscle fibres. The strips must be cut as uniformly and as smoothly as possible and the diameter of the strip must remain the same throughout the length.
The length of the strips may differ, though it should not be less than 20 cm and not more than 70 cm. Meat cut into shorter strips requires considerably more time for hooking than the same quantity cut into longer strips. However, strips which are too long may break because of their weight.
Beef muscles suitable for drying are usually no longer than 50 cm (except the sirloin strip attached to the spinal column). However, strips longer than 50 cm can be produced by cutting the muscle along the fibre in one direction, without cutting through the end of the muscle (Fig. 11). Using this technique long strips can be obtained, but their length should not exceed 70 cm for reasons of stability. The thickness of the strips determines the duration of the drying process. Since thick strips take considerably more time to dry than thin ones, it is important that strips to be placed in the same batch are of the same cross-section, with only the length differing. Insufficiently dried or overdried pieces will be the result if this rule is not followed.
FIG 10
FIG 11
Cutting muscles into long, thin and uniformly shaped strips requires experience and skill. Knives with broad blades are best suited for this purpose.
Under dry climatic conditions two basic shapes of meat pieces proved to be the most suitable for natural drying:
  • strips with a rectangular cross-section of 1 x 1 cm; and
  • flat-or leaf-shaped pieces with cross-sections of max. 0.5 cm x approx. 3, 4 or 5 cm.
Because meat is always consumed slightly salted, the raw material may be presalted before drying. This procedure not only contributes to a more tasty product, but is also desirable from the technological and hygienic standpoint. Pure common salt is used for this purpose, either dry or dissolved in water. In the case of meat for drying cut into strips or flat pieces, the use of a 14-percent salt solution is preferred.
Dipping the meat into the salt solution serves first of all to inhibit microbiological growth on the meat surfaces. For that reason salting has to be carried out within five hours after slaughter, as after that period massive microbiological growth occurs which cannot be reduced by salt treatment. Secondly, presalting is a protection against insects during drying. The freshly cut meat surfaces are very attractive to various insects, in particular domestic flies, which feed on the moisture excreted from muscle fibres. These insects cause considerable contamination of the meat and may also deposit their eggs into it. Meat is no longer such an attractive environment for insects after it has been dipped into the salt solution. The salt concentration on the meat surfaces keeps them away.
Furthermore, a thin layer of crystalline salt is formed on the surface of the meat during drying. The salt crystals are hygroscopic and absorb part of the water excreted from the meat, preserving the meat surfaces by keeping them dry. Dry meat surfaces inhibit the growth of bacteria and moulds which is one reason for the preservability of presalted and dried meat.
The salt solution is prepared by adding the necessary amount of edible common salt to water and dissolving it by intensive stirring. To obtain the recommended salt concentration of about 14 percent the amount of salt necessary for different volumes of water (expressed in litres) is indicated below:
71 140
81 300
91 460
101 630
As soon as the salt is dissolved in the water, the meat strips are dipped into the solution (Fig. 12), soaked for about five minutes and then drained. Draining should be done by placing the strips into a plastic sieve in order to allow the brine to drop off for collection and re-use (Fig. 13).
The handling of the meat strips before drying has to be carried out under strictly clean conditions in order to avoid contamination and ensure a long shelf-life of the dried product. However, if accidental contamination of certain pieces occurs, further processing can only be undertaken with certain precautions. A special bucket with salt solution should be available in order to soak the contaminated pieces of meat, after having rinsed them previously in clean water. However, it must be borne in mind that the original quality of contaminated pieces cannot be restored. For that reason such pieces should always be dried separately, and not stored for a long period, but should be used as soon as possible in the preparation of meals.
The traditional way of suspending meat for drying by hanging strips over tree branches, wire or rope is not recommended because meat remains in contact with these supporting devices or may touch each other and thus not dry properly in these contact areas. Consequently, the chosen method should be to suspend the meat strips individually from one end, thus ensuring, through appropriate arrangement on the drying facility, free air circulation along the whole length of the pieces and fast and uniform drying. The contact of meat pieces with each other during drying must absolutely be avoided, since these areas will remain wet and humid for a prolonged period, thus making them a favourable environment for spoilage, bacteria and flies.
FIG 12
FIG 13
The suspension of the meat strips can be done in different ways, either with hooks, loops or clips (Fig. 14).
Suspension using metal hooks
This is a very simple but efficient way of suspending the meat strips. The meat strips are hooked at one end, always the thicker end for stability, and suspended on a horizontal wooden stick, tightrope or wire.
The metal hooks can easily be made, preferably from galvanized (non-corrosive) wire. Wire of 1 to 1.5 mm diameter is cut into pieces 15 cm long with a slanting cut so that the ends are sharp to allow piercing of the meat. In order to obtain an S-shaped hook, both ends of each piece are simply twisted around a circular stick (Fig. 15).
Suspension using loops
For this purpose a thin string or a somewhat stronger thread is best suited (Fig. 16). The string is divided into pieces about 30 cm long with the ends knotted. The string is fixed to the stronger end of the meat strip by a double loop and pulled tight in order to prevent the meat from slipping out of the loop (Fig. 16D/E).
Suspension using metal clips
Clips 4 to 7 cm wide are best suited. They are easily placed on the stronger end of the meat strips. Whereas metal hooks and rope loops can only be used for the suspension of rectangular or similar shaped strips, the metal clips are very practical for the suspension of flat, leaf-shaped pieces. The special advantage of hanging leaf-shaped pieces by means of a clip is that the edges of the meat do not fold in during drying.
It has already been pointed out that placing meat pieces for drying over wire, ropes or branches of trees is not recommended. Apart from problems of free air circulation under trees, some pieces may be intensively exposed to direct sun, whereas others are screened by the foliage. Furthermore, wind will transfer dust, twigs or leaves on to the meat and insects and birds will cause further damage. A general disadvantage of this very simple method of meat drying is that it is practically impossible to shelter the meat in case of storm or rain.
FIG 14
FIG 15
FIG 16
It is therefore recommended that natural meat drying be done by using simple premises and equipment, which can be made locally. The following descriptions give the different types of meat dryers.
These meat dryers are constructions of wood, metal and/or concrete, stationary or mobile, without or with a roof. For strips suspended by hooks or with a loop attached or fixed by clips, removable horizontal bars, either made of wood or metal or horizontal wire strings are needed.
Sun meat dryer made of wood or metal
This dryer consists of four wooden forks planted into the ground which are connected with two longitudinal, wooden traverses of about 4 m. Wooden or metal sticks for hanging the meat streeps are placed on the traverses at a distance of 15 cm from each other (Fig. 17A). If there are not sticks available, strong metal wire or plastic rope can be spanned between the two longitudinal traverses and two additional transversal traverses should be fitted for reinforcement (Fig. 17B). Similar constructions, but with iron parts and traverses instead of the wooden ones are suited for the more industrial type of meat drying (Fig. 18A/B). These constructions can also easily support a roof and meat drying can be done on two or more levels. However, care has to be taken that the traverses at the lowest level are not less than 1 m from the ground.
Mobile meat dryer
This type of dryer, which can be easily assembled or dismantled, can be moved to places where the animals are slaughtered. Although wooden constructions can be used for this purpose, for easy assembly and for a firm base metal constructions using 40-mm tubular iron bars are more convenient (Fig. 19).
This type of dryer consists of two rectangular frames (2 x 2 m) placed 4 m apart from each other. They are connected with four longitudinal and eight transversal metal traverses in two levels from the ground (approx. 1 m and 2 m), thus permitting meat drying on the two levels (Figs 19 and 20).
FIG 17
FIG 18
This dryer has the capacity for drying the meat of two beef carcasses at the same time. It is recommended that the upper level of the dryer be used for the suspension of meat from the hindquarters and the lower level for meat from the forequarters.
Meat dryer with protection against external influences
In regions with strong and frequent winds, meat placed on the dryer must be protected from contamination by dirt, dust, sand, etc. In these cases it is recommended that the side walls of a roofed dryer (e.g. roof of corrugated aluminium, Fig. 21) be covered with plastic foil up to a height of 0.80 m to 1.20 m from the floor. It is important to ensure that the upper parts of the dryer remain open for air circulation. Protection against insects is provided by covering the sides of the dryer with insect screen (Fig. 22).
FIG 19
FIG 20
In the dryer the meat strips are hung on horizontal plastic ropes, wires or sticks by means of hooks, loops or clips. As shown above, ropes and wires have often to be supported because of the heavy load of suspended meat, and they are not easily removable, which may cause difficulty in handling the meat to be dried.
Compared to flexible wires or ropes, firm wooden or metal sticks (Figs 15 and 16) have proved to be the better solution for the following reasons:
  • the sticks can be moved out of the dryer in order to suspend the meat pieces;
  • the suspended meat pieces maintain the correct distance from each other on the firm stick and there is no need for supports for the sticks;
  • sticks with the suspended meat can easily be moved, for example to a smoke house or for shelter in case of a storm or heavy rain; and
  • weight losses can easily be monitored during drying by weighing the stick plus the meat without being forced to remove the meat strips.
The round wooden sticks can be made locally; they are usually 2 m long and 2 cm in diameter. This size permits the suspension of 25 to 30 pieces of meat. Metal sticks are in two different shapes, one tubular, made of galvanized water-pipes, and the other T-shaped. They are more expensive than wooden sticks but they last much longer.
The following rules for the arrangement of the meat pieces apply to both wooden or metal sticks:
  • the number of meat pieces suspended must always remain the same for all sticks in the dryer (for instance 30 per stick), for reasons of optimal air circulation and easy control of theft, etc.;
  • the distance between the individual suspended pieces must remain the same and be sufficient for free air circulation; and
  • the longest and thickest pieces of meat have to be placed toward the ends of the stick whereas the thinnest and shortest pieces are kept in the middle, in order to expose the larger pieces to the stronger air circulation on the external part of the dryer (Fig. 23).
FIG 21
FIG 22
FIG 23
Drying of meat of the shape described in this chapter takes four to five days. After this period the dried meat is ready for consumption and can be packaged, stored or transported (Fig. 24). At this stage the product should meet the following quality criteria.
The appearance of the dried meat should be as uniform as possible (Fig. 25). The absence of large wrinkles and notches indicates the desired steady and uniform dehydration of meat.
The colour of the surface, as well as of the cross-cut, should be uniform and dark red. A darker peripheral layer and bright red colour in the centre indicates incorrect, too fast drying, with the formation of hard rind which hinders evaporation from the deeper layers of the product. In this case the central parts have a brighter colour and softer consistency and are, because of the higher water content, more susceptible to microbiological spoilage when packaged or otherwise stored. A softer consistency can also be recognized by pressing the meat with the fingers. These pieces should be kept for one more day in the dryer for finishing. The consistency of properly dried meat must be hard, similar to frozen meat.
Taste and flavour are very important criteria for the acceptance of dried meat by the consumer. Dried meat should possess a mild salty taste which is characteristic for naturally dried meat with no added spices. Off-odours must not occur. However, a slightly rancid flavour which occurs because of chemical changes during drying and storage is commonly found in dried meat. Dried meat with a high fat content should not be stored for a long period but used as soon as possible in order to avoid intensive rancidity.
Dried meat must be continuously examined for spoilage-related off-odour, which is the result of incorrect preparation and/or drying of the meat. Meat with signs of deterioration must be rigorously sorted out.
After taking the dried meat strips out of the dryer, a selection of the pieces based on length can be undertaken.
Packaging serves to protect the product from contamination to which the meat might be exposed on its way from the producer to the consumer.
Numerous materials are used for packaging dry meat, such as paper, plastic foils (Fig. 26), aluminium foils, cellophane and textiles (Fig. 27). The longest shelf-life is obtained using vacuum-packaging. Transparent plastic material and cellophane are more appealing to the consumer. For details about packaging see Chapter 4.
FIG 24
FIG 25
Packaging is employed for both the retail and wholesale trade. The weight per package of dry meat for retail sale usually does not exceed 1 kg, whereas those for the wholesale trade weigh 5, 10, 25, or 50 kg.
If plastic bags are used for packaging, the pieces of dry meat should be cut to a certain length so that they can be best arranged in the bags. Cardboard boxes are very useful for additional packaging.
During storage special care has to be taken to prevent dried meat, which is not packaged in water-proof containers, from becoming wet, resulting in rapid growth of bacteria and moulds. For this reason the premises for storing dry meat have to be rain-proof. It is further advisable to cover the piles of packaged dry meat with plastic sheets, as additional protection against moisture and dust. Dry meat protected in this way can be stored for more than six months.
FIG 26
FIG 27
During storage individual packages must be opened at least once a month and the organoleptic quality of the goods examined. These controls enable the persons responsible to evaluate storage conditions and to assess the shelf-life of the dry meat.
For controlling temperature and air humidity, it is useful to have a thermometer and hygrometer installed on the premises (see also Chapter 5). A maximum-minimum thermometer is recommended to obtain the highest and lowest temperatures recorded between two readings. The temperature and relative air humidity should be carefully registered bearing in mind that dry meat is extremely sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, especially of the ambient temperature and relative humidity.
Dried meat manufactured as described above has to be rehydrated to resemble fresh meat again. Rehydrated dried meat has almost the same nutritive value as fresh meat.
Rehydration is in most cases combined with cooking. The procedure usually starts by putting the dried meat, which may be cut in smaller pieces, into a pot (Figs 28 and 29). The meat in the pot is then covered with water and boiled. The rehydrated and cooked meat and the broth are used, together with other additives which may vary according to local consumption habits, for the preparation of tasty dishes.
Other types of dried meat, which are manufactured by a combination of drying with special treatments, are consumed raw, without rehydration and cooking. Some examples of this group of products are given below.
Meat drying after presalting, as described above, is the simplest and most efficient method of meat dehydration. Additional treatments used for some special dried meat products are curing, smoking and the utilization of spices and food additives.
Specific antimicrobial agents in smoke or spices or the antimicrobial properties of the curing substance, nitrite, may allow a less intensive dehydration of the meat. The resulting “semi-dry” products are in most cases consumed without rehydration, whereas rehydration is indispensable for common dried meat. In many countries, including developed countries, “semi-dry” products such as unsmoked and smoked raw hams (e.g. Parma ham, jamon serrano or smoked hams of the central European type), unsmoked or smoked dry sausages (e.g. salami, dry chorizo) or dried cured beef (Bündnerfleisch of Switzerland) are not only popular because of the products’ durability but particularly because they are delicious, high-quality meat specialities.
In developing countries, where the preservation aspect is even more important because of the lack of a cold chain, treatment carried out in addition to the drying of meat will be somewhat different and in some cases (e.g. intensive smoking over fire) the product quality is lowered rather than improved. The reasons for this additional treatment are in many cases adverse climatic or environmental conditions which do not allow the drying of meat without additional treatment. There are also of course other reasons for additional treatment, such as special flavours or special mixtures with non-meat ingredients, which may be preferred locally.
Cured dried meat
Curing is the impact of nitrite on meat, in particular on the muscle pigment, myoglobin, which results in the formation of the pigment myochromogen and gives a stable red colour to muscle tissue. In addition, nitrite inhibits to some extent microbiological growth in the meat, but does so efficiently only in combination with low temperatures and/or low water activity (see Chapter 4). These effects are of particular importance for the shelf-life of raw hams and dry sausages and may also be of importance for non-intensively dried biltong, the South African dried meat, which may also be manufactured with nitrite or nitrate.
Apart from occasional use in biltong, it can be concluded that curing is not important in the manufacture of traditional dried meat products. The reasons are that a bright red colour is not desired in dried meat (because it will be rehydrated and used for cooking meals) and drying is generally so intensive that the inhibiting effect on microbiological growth is unnecessary. Curing substances must be handled very carefully as they are toxic even in low concentrations. Very small dosages are sufficient for the curing effect, about 200 ppm, that is, 2 g or less in 10 kg meat.
FIG 28
FIG 29
Smoked dried meat
Smoking of meat is a technique in which meat is exposed directly to wood smoke which may be generated by a variety of methods. In smoke produced from wood there are various substances which contribute to the flavour and the appearance of the smoked meat product and which have a certain preserving effect on the product.
However, the preserving effect of common smoking is not very significant when storing the product without a cold chain. On the other hand, intensive or prolonged smoking may considerably increase the shelf-life of the product, but it also has an unfavourable effect on flavour. Whereas a light smoke aroma generally enhances the organoleptic properties of the product, intensive smoking has a negative influence on the quality, especially in the case of prolonged storage in which concentrated smoke compounds develop increasingly unpleasant tarry flavours.
In view of the above, smoking in order to preserve meat can only be considered as an emergency measure when no other preservation methods can be carried out. This may be the case during wet weather or generally under a humid climate, or when the preservation has to be completed as fast as possible because of the need of immediate transport, for instance after game-hunting.
Intensive meat smoking is always a combination of two effects, drying the meat by reducing its moisture content through hot air and the condensation of smoke particles on the meat surface together with their penetration into the inner layers of the product. Both have preservative effects and prolong the shelf-life of the product.
To smoke the meat, large strips and/or pieces, with and without bones, are dried by smoking in special drying/smoking places. The smoke is produced in these cases by glowing wood. Often, meat is prepared quickly by drying and smoking over a fire. In this case, the meat is not only smoked, but “half-cooked” or roasted. Normally, meat from this treatment is not well prepared and has to be consumed soon after drying, otherwise it will spoil quickly.
The quality of traditionally smoke-dried meat is generally poor. This is not only owing to poor meat quality or inadequate smoking devices, but mainly because smoke-drying is a rather rough treatment for the meat. The process is fast and has a certain preserving effect, but at the cost of quality.
Quality losses are even more obvious when failures in preparing the raw material occur. When, for example, the thickness of the meat parts to be smoked ranges from about 3 cm to 15 cm, uniform drying will not be achieved. The smaller pieces will be overdried and the thicker ones may still remain with a high moisture content in the product centre. The results of faulty drying and smoking are a too strong smoke flavour, lack of rehydration capacity of the smaller parts and fast spoilage of the thicker parts. For effective smoke-drying, the meat thickness should not exceed 7 cm to achieve products which are stable for a certain period without refrigeration.
Apart from primitive smoking places with just a fire below the meat, the construction of special smoking kilns has been suggested for smoke-drying of meat.
The effect of light smoking could be of interest for the production of dried meat. Light smoking is not suitable for meat preservation without a cold chain, but it adds a smoke flavour to the product and inhibits the growth of moulds and yeasts on the product's surface owing to the fungistatic smoke compounds. Thus light smoking may be used for the prevention of growth of moulds during the storage period of dried meat, especially under humid climatic conditions.
Dried meat with spices and additives
Various methods, typical for different regions, exist to produce this type of product. General guidelines for manufacture cannot be given because of the great variety of preparations, but the idea behind all of them is to combine the necessary preservation of meat with a typical flavour. In some cases the additives act as an absorbent with the aim of faster drying, and some spices may also act against bacterial growth.
Some examples of dried meat or dried and further processed meat manufactured in Africa, America and the Near East are described. No mention is made of the various dehydrated meat products well known in the Far East. These products are somewhat different owing to their sugar component. They will be the subject of future FAO studies.
(Somalia and other East African countries)
Odka is basically a sun-dried meat product made of lean beef and is of major importance to nomads in Somalia. In the face of perennial incidence of drought in the Horn of Africa, odka has become important since it is often prepared from drought-stricken livestock.
The production of odka is similar to the simple drying technique described earlier. However, the meat strips cut for drying are bigger and dry salting is usually applied instead of brine salting. After only four to six hours' sun-drying the large pieces of meat are cut into smaller strips and cooked in oil. After this heat treatment drying is continued and finally sauces and spices are added. For storage odka is again covered with oil and, when kept in a tightly closed container, it has a shelf-life of more than 12 months.
(Ethiopia and other East African countries)
Qwanta is manufactured from lean muscles of beef which are further sliced into long strips ranging from 20 to 40 cm and are hung over wire in the kitchen to dry for 24 to 36 hours. Prior to drying, the strips are coated with a sauce containing a mixture of salt (25 percent), hot pepper/chilli (50 percent) and aromatic seasoning substances (25 percent). After air drying the meat pieces may be further exposed to a light wood smoke and are then fried in butter fat and dried again to some extent. At this stage the product is ready for consumption or storage.
(Nigeria and other arid or semi-arid zones of West Africa)
Kilishi is a product obtained from sliced lean muscles of beef, goat meat or lamb and is made on a large scale under the hot and dry weather conditions prevailing from February to May. It is produced by sun-drying thin slices of meat. However, recent experience indicates that kilishi can also be produced industrially using tray-drying in a warm air oven. Connective tissue and adhering fatty material are trimmed off the meat which is cut with a curved knife into thin slices of about 0.5 cm thickness, 15 cm length and as much as 6 cm width.
Traditionally, the slices of meat are spread on papyrus mats on elevated platforms or tables in the sun for drying. However, these papyrus mats may lead to hygienic problems, especially after repeated use. Therefore, easily washable corrosion-free wire nets or plastic nets are recommended for horizontal drying. The vertical drying method is also recommended in this case.
Sun-drying of kilishi could also be improved by the use of solar dryers as shown in Figs 19 and 20. These devices will increase the rate of drying of the product and keep insects and dust from the product.
In the first stage of drying, which takes two to six hours, the moisture of the meat slices has to be reduced to about 40 to 50 percent. The slices are then put into an infusion containing defatted wet groundnut cake paste or soybean flour as the main component (about 50 percent), and is further composed of water (30 percent), garlic (10 percent), bouillon cubes (5 percent), salt (2 percent) and spices such as pepper, ginger and onion. The “dried” slices of meat should absorb the infusion up to almost three times their weight.
After infusion, the wet product is again exposed to the sun to dry. Drying at this stage is much faster than at the first stage. When the moisture content of the slices has been reduced to 20 to 30 percent, a process which takes two to three hours depending on weather conditions and the dimensions of the product, the slices are finally roasted over a glowing fire for about five minutes. The roasting process helps to enhance desirable flavour development and to inactivate contaminating micro-organisms. Roasted kilishi is therefore superior in flavour to the unroasted version.
After roasting, the final moisture content ranges between 10 to 12 percent. It will decrease during storage at room temperature to as low a level as 7 percent. When packaged in hermetically sealed, low density plastic bags the product remains remarkably stable at room temperature for a period of about one year (see Chapter 4).
(Southern African countries)
Biltong is a well-known salted, dried meat prepared from beef or antilope meat. Most muscles in the carcass may be used but the largest are the most suitable. The finest biltong with the best flavour is made from the sirloin strip and the most tender is derived from the fillet.
The meat is cut into long strips (1 to 2 cm thick) and placed in brine, or dry-salted, which is actually the most popular method. Common salt, preferably coarse salt (1 to 2 kg for 50 kg of meat), or salt and pepper are the principal ingredients used, although other ingredients such as sugar, coriander, aniseed, garlic or other spices are included in some mixtures to improve flavour. In most cases nitrate or nitrite is added to achieve a red colour and the typical flavour of cured meat. The addition of 0.1 percent potassium sorbate to the raw meat is permitted in South Africa as a preservative. The salt/spice mixture is rubbed into the meat by hand and the salted strips are then transferred to a suitable container. It is recommended that a little vinegar be sprinkled on each firmly packed layer in the container.
Biltong is left in the curing brine for several hours, but not longer than 12 hours (otherwise it will be too salty), and then dipped into a mixture of hot water and vinegar (approx. 10:1). The biltong is now ready for sun-drying for one day. Then the strips are moved into the shade for the rest of the drying period. The product is usually not smoked, but if it is smoked only light cold smoking is recommended, which takes one to two weeks under sufficient air circulation. The biltong is ready when the inside is soft, moist and red in colour, with a hard brown outer layer.
Biltong is sold in sticks or slices. The usual shelf-life is several months without refrigeration and packaging, but in airtight packages the product stores well for more than one year. Biltong is not heated during processing or before consumption. It is eaten raw and considered a delicacy.
(Turkey, Egypt, Armenia)
Pastirma is salted and dried beef from not too young animals. In some areas camel meat is also used. The meat is taken from the hindquarters and is cut into 50 to 60 cm long strips with a diameter of not more than 5 cm. The strips are rubbed and covered with salt and nitrate. The dosage of the nitrate in relation to the meat is 0.02 percent, that means 2 g of nitrate for 10 kg of meat. Several incisions are made in the meat to facilitate salt penetration.
The salted meat strips are arranged in piles about 1 m high and kept for one day at room temperature. They are turned over, salted again, and stored in piles for another day. Thereafter the meat strips are washed and air-dried for two to three days in summer and for 15 to 20 days in winter. After drying the strips are piled up again to a height of 30 cm and pressed with heavy weights (approx. 1 tonne) for 12 hours. After another drying period of two to three days the meat pieces are again pressed for 12 hours. Finally the meat is again air-dried for 5 to 10 days.
After the salting and drying process, the entire surface of the meat is covered with a layer (3 to 5 mm thick) of a paste called cemen, which consists of 35 percent freshly ground garlic, 20 percent helba (i.e. ground trefoil seed), 6 percent hot red paprika, 2 percent mustard, and 37 percent water. Helba is used as a binder of the paste; the other ingredients are spices, but garlic is the most important as it is antimycotic. The meat strips covered with cemen are stored in piles for one day, and thereafter are dried for 5 to 12 days in a room with good air ventilation, after which the pastirma is ready for sale. Thus, the production of pastirma requires several weeks. However, not much energy is required since most of the salting and drying is done at room temperature. The final product has an average water activity (aw) of 0.88 (see Chapter 5). The aw should not fall below 0.85 or the meat will be too dry. The salt content should range between 4.5 and 6.0 percent. The product is mould-free for months at ambient temperature even in summer. Pastirma thus has a better microbiological stability than biltong.
(Brazil and other South American countries)
Charque consists of flat pieces of beef preserved by salting and drying. The fresh, raw meat from the fore- and hindquarters is cut into large pieces of about 5 kg, which should not be more than 5 cm thick. The pieces are submerged in a saturated salt solution for about one hour in barrels or cement vats. On removal from the brine, the meat is laid on slats or racks above the brine tank to drain.
For dry-salting, the flat meat pieces are piled on a sloping, grooved, concrete floor under a roof. To form a pile, salt is spread evenly over the floor about 1 cm high. Then a layer of meat is put on the salt. The meat is covered with another (1 cm) layer of salt followed by adding another layer of meat, and so on until the alternate layers of salt and meat reach a height of about 1 m. The pile is then covered with a few wooden planks and pressed with heavy stones.
After eight hours the pile is restacked so that the top meat goes to the bottom of the pile. The restacking process with fresh layers of salt is repeated every day for five days.
The salted meat is then ready for drying. Before initiating drying, the meat pieces are subjected to rapid washing to remove excess salt adhering to the surface. The meat pieces may also be passed through a pair of wooden rollers or a special press to squeeze out some surplus moisture and flatten the meat slabs. The meat is then spread out on bamboo slats or loosely woven fibre mats in a shed or, in industrial production, exposed to the sun on wooden rails which are oriented north-south, thus permitting an even solar coverage.
Initial drying, directly in the sun, is limited to a maximum period of four to six hours. This period of exposure may be subsequently lengthened to a maximum eight hours. Temperatures in excess of 40°C on the meat surface should be avoided. To ensure even drying over the extended muscle pieces, the meat is placed on the rails during the morning and removed again in the afternoon. The meat pieces are exposed to the sun each day over a period of four to five days. After each period of exposure the pieces are collected, stacked in piles on concrete slabs and covered with an impermeable cloth to protect them against rain and wind and to hold the heat absorbed.
When sufficiently dry, the meat pieces are either sold without prior packaging or wrapped in jute sacks. Plastic sacks are not suitable, because the product still contains a certain proportion of its original moisture content, and this moisture must be allowed to drain freely from the product. Charque keeps for months under ambient room conditions and is resistant to infestation by insects and growth of moulds.