[Sca-cooks] potted meats

Stefan li Rous StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
Sun Nov 19 23:15:58 PST 2006

Anne-Marie mentioned:
  <<< ... and of course, there are the potted meat products, many of  
preserve by way of large amounts of fat in addition to the spices, etc
9which may be just a flavoring, granted!) >>>

The fat isn't what preserves the meat. The fat acts similarly to  
canning in that it's purpose is simply to act as a seal to keep out  
the bad microbes from the food. Another item could replace the fat.  
Fat was just convenient to use. Unfortunately, it took about half a  
century for folks to realize that the fat or butter had to be added  
while the food was still hot.  The mistake which was often made in  
the early potted foods was to let the food cool before the melted fat  
or butter was poured over the item in the pot, thus allowing a chance  
for microbes to start to grow on the meat before they were sealed in  
using the fat. Ideally, all the microbes are killed when the meat is  
cooked, then further contamination is sealed out by pouring the fat  
or butter over the meat.

For more details on period potted foods, see:
potted-foods-msg  (16K)  5/21/04    Cooked foods put in pots and  
sealed w. fat.

THLord Stefan li Rous    Barony of Bryn Gwlad    Kingdom of Ansteorra
    Mark S. Harris           Austin, Texas           
StefanliRous at austin.rr.com
**** See Stefan's Florilegium files at:  http://www.florilegium.org ****

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