One of the most popular ways for Native Americans to keep their meat for longer was by smoking it. The meat would be laid out and exposed to the smoke of a smoldering fire for from anywhere from a couple of hours to several days, depending on the meat and the volume of meat to preserve, notes Off The Grid News.
How did Native American traditions in food consumption differ from one another?
Tribes with access to high mountains could freeze food, though it did not usually last through an entire winter. Native Americans also buried food contained in clay storage urns lined with bark or grass to keep out rodents.
Salting was the most common way to preserve virtually any type of meat or fish, as it drew out the moisture and killed the bacteria. Vegetables might be preserved with dry salt, as well, though pickling was more common. Salt was also used in conjunction with other methods of preservation, such as drying and smoking.
One of the few positive aspects of winter on the frontier was that meat could be hung outside and frozen, or, as Catharine Beecher noted, “packed carefully with snow in a barrel.” Settlers with access to wood also cured their meats in smokehouses, a process that involved feeding a smoky fire under the meat for days —
Cured meats, as dried venison, bear meat, buffalo, fish and even oysters and clams were pulverized and boiled with suitable vegetables. Boiling could be done in skin or bark utensils, or even on a clay bed, by filling with cold water, dropping in the meat and then heating with hot stones taken from a near-by fire.
Among Plains Indians scalps were taken for war honours, often from live victims. The scalp was sometimes offered as a ritual sacrifice or preserved and carried by women in a triumphal scalp dance, later to be retained as a pendant by the warrior, used as tribal medicine, or discarded.
To preserve food at above freezing temperatures, caves, root cellars, buried caches and the like were used. First Nations people were able to freeze (northern BC), some were able to wind-dry (Fraser Canyon and South Okanagan), some were able to smoke and dry food (along the Pacific coast), and so on.
How did the Vikings preserve their food? “Meat and fish were preserved by smoking (the smoky upper reaches of the longhouse helped to keep meat hung there from spoiling), pickling in brine or whey (in which the lactic acid prevented food spoilage), salting, or drying.
This method involves combining curing salt and water to create a sweet pickle solution. To prepare the brine, use a large non-corrosive bowl, such as plastic or glass. To cure, inject the brine solution into the meat using a meat pump or soak the meat over a period of time.
Putting it in the fridge will extend to up to six weeks. Fish: Lightly cured fish can last up to two weeks in the fridge and several months in the freezer. More heavily cured fish, like salt cod, can last in the fridge almost indefinitely.
Before 1830, food preservation used time-tested methods: salting, spicing, smoking, pickling and drying. There was little use for refrigeration since the foods it primarily preserved — fresh meat, fish, milk, fruits, and vegetables — did not play as important a role in the North American diet as they do today.
Some ingredients commonly used in alternatively-cured meat products include sea salt, evaporated cane juice, raw or turbinado sugar, lactic acid starter culture, and natural flavourings, such as celery juice, celery juice concentrate or vegetable juice powder.
Storing Meat Without Refrigeration
Buffalo were hunted in many different ways: they were killed as they swam across rivers and lakes; they were driven into snow banks where their short legs failed them; they were driven into dead-end canyons where they were easily cornered; they were ambushed as they migrated along well-marked trails; they were herded