People learned how to harvest meat and fish by means of drying, many centuries ago. High-quality cooked jerky foods have a very beneficial effect on the human body. They are not exposed to high temperature, therefore they retain all active enzymes that stimulate the work of the brain and spinal cord, normalize the condition of cartilage and other connective tissues, positively affect the functioning of the gastrointestinal tract.
Sun-dried meat, fish and poultry, features of drying, preparation of a product for drying, selection of a place, features of preparation and drying of large and small fish.
It is authentically known that in ancient Egypt, in the north of Europe and America, people have long mastered this technology in order to preserve the meat of large animals that cannot be eaten at a time: buffalo, bulls, bears, deer, whales. The Indians made pemmican from dried or dried meat, dried fruits and coated the mixture with lard. In Africa, tribes make bilton dried meat. The most famous term in the world for a ready-made jerky meat product is jerky.
. However, when smoked, there is heat treatment and smoke treatment, and dried meat, fish and poultry are prepared exclusively in sunlight and air movement.
Under the influence of ultraviolet radiation, a fermentation process takes place in proteins, and fat is evenly distributed throughout the thickness of the meat. As a result, the product acquires a peculiar taste and texture; it can be stored for a rather long time. Cured fish products can be eaten without additional cooking, and cooking cured meat is a simple matter and does not take much effort and time..
Preparation of meat, fish and poultry for drying, selection of a place for dried products.
Preliminary preparation of raw materials for the drying process is completely similar to the similar process during smoking. First, fresh meat, poultry or fish must be salted or marinated, then remove excess salt, dry a little and cut into thin strips or small pieces. After this, the raw materials should be placed in an open sunny place. When choosing a place for drying, you need to consider that products should be well blown by the wind.
The structure for drying can be placed in the open air, under a canopy, to adjust the attic or porch. In the winter, you can dry foods in the oven if there is convection and a special temperature regime is observed. When drying outdoors, care must be taken in advance to protect future delicacies from insects. To do this, you can wrap the marley products in several layers, use curtains or boxes, covered with mosquito nets. The main condition is that the raw material must always be in the air stream. Sometimes fans are used to provide this condition..
It is known that the natural air flow is stronger the farther from the ground, therefore, it is recommended to place the jerky products as high as possible and so that they are blown by the wind from all sides. For this reason, do not lay meat on pallets, trays or boards when drying. Air should have free access to products from all sides. It is desirable to suspend the products, and small fish can be tied in several pieces or laid on a stretched mesh so that the pieces do not touch.
An important rule for the preparation of quality dried stocks is also air temperature. The average temperature should be within 40 degrees. If the temperature is higher for a long time, the protein denaturation process begins, as a result of which the product will be spoiled, unsuitable for long-term storage, pathogenic microorganisms can settle in it.
In dry windy weather, it takes 2–4 days to completely dry small pieces of meat and small fish. If the chunks of meat or fish carcasses are large enough, it can take up to 15 days to dry them. High-quality jerky meat is immediately visible – it is transparent, but juicy, pleasant color, with a dry crust, without clouding. Qualitatively dried fish has moderate salinity – about 10% and quite oily, has a clean smooth scale. Humidity of meat and fish after drying should be no more than 38%.
The types of meat, fish and poultry most suitable for drying.
Any kind of meat is suitable for curing, the main thing is that it be fresh, mature, taken from a healthy animal. It is recommended to cut it into strips or flat pieces – so it will dry out faster and the quality will be better. It is recommended to cut the bird into pieces.
The most suitable fish for this type of processing is mackerel, virus, mullet, roach, bream, ram, capelin, fisherman, pike perch, bream, common carp, asp, roach, scavenger, sabrefish, perch, bleak, rudd, ide, pike and carp. In sturgeon and salmon, the abdomen is usually taken for drying. Freshly caught fish are not suitable for processing. She should stay in the air for 4–5 hours.
Features of the preparation and drying of large and small fish.
Fish up to 25-30 cm long can be salted whole, and larger ones before salting must be gutted and cut into pieces. In fishery, mackerel, chirus, ram and roach, gills and entrails must be removed through the gill holes. It is also necessary to make a longitudinal section on the back. If the carcasses are not large, then it is preferable to fade them in whole or in layers, making an incision along the back along the spine.
Large fish can be cut into transverse pieces weighing about 200 g. Large carcasses should be gutted, cut from the back. Then roll in salt (for 1 kg of fish – 200 g of salt), fill the abdominal cavity with salt and rub into the incision on the back. It is best to dry the fish in the spring or early summer, as the fish caught in the middle of summer – early autumn, after drying, gets a bitter taste.
In addition, there are features of harvesting fish in the summer. In the warm season, even small river fish should be gutted. The fact is that during this period parasites are contained in the intestines of fish. That’s why it’s better to gut any size fish for safety..
Drying fish can be salted with a dry and wet method. When salting in a dry way, you need to rub salt against the scales into the fish, put the carcasses as densely as possible in a wooden box, pour the layers with salt, lay the wooden circle on top and crush it with oppression. The box must be placed for 5-7 days in a cool place, so that the fish salted properly.
For salting in a wet way, you need to string several pieces of fish on thin twine, put in a marinating container and pour brine (standard proportion: 2.5 kg of salt per 10 liters of boiled cold water). Set on top oppression, withstand 2-3 days. Then remove the fish from the brine, wash with cold water or soak if the meat is too dense.
Dry the soaked carcasses, layers or pieces and hang them on the twine so that there is a distance of at least 1 cm between the carcasses. You can hang fish in two ways: by passing the twine through the eye sockets or stringing it by the tails. There is no fundamental difference here, you can choose the method of suspension at your discretion.
Subject to all the rules, small fish lasts 2 weeks, large – 4-5 weeks. Immediately after drying in the open air, fish is not consumed – it needs to be allowed to ripen. This usually takes from 3 weeks to 1 month. It is necessary to dry outdoors in the shade on moderately warm days, but not in the heat. The best period for drying fish is considered to be the beginning and mid spring, when dry, warm but not hot weather is established.
Sun-dried meat and fish are very healthy and tasty products, but, unfortunately, not everyone can enjoy these delicacies. Due to the specific cooking method and high salinity, they are contraindicated for people suffering from impaired purine metabolism, hypertension, kidney disease or urolithiasis.
Based on materials from the book We procure poultry, meat, fish. Smoking, canning, drying, cooking sausages.