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4 common food preservation methods in African cuisine

For hundreds of years, food on the African continent has been preserved without the benefit of refrigeration. As? This article describes four common food preservation methods in Africa.

1. Sun drying

For many Africans, the sun is an important factor in preserving food. Shortly after harvest, grains such as millet, maize, sorghum, green gram, and wheat, as well as legumes such as beans and peas, are spread out in the sun to dry. If completely dry of moisture, these foods can last a long time, sometimes years, if stored in a cool, dry place and protected from pests.

Most homes had a barn built high above the ground, where food was stored. In addition to drying, it was also common to apply wood ash to legumes such as beans and peas to discourage insect infestation. The ash could easily be washed off before cooking the beans.

Various types of vegetables, root vegetables and fish can also be successfully preserved in this way. Root vegetables such as cassava or sweet potato may need to be thinly sliced ​​to facilitate drying.

2. Tuxedo

Smoking is another important method of preserving food. In the old days, after the hunt, hunters smoked large quantities of the meat to facilitate transport back home and also to preserve it. It was common to smoke game meat, while domestic animals were usually eaten fresh after slaughter.

Fish smoking remains a very important method of fish preservation, used throughout the continent.

3. Salting

Salt was often applied to food to preserve it, along with sun-drying and smoking. Many fishermen liberally salt the fish before sun-drying or smoking it, to further improve the chances of it not spoiling. Salting was also applied to certain vegetables during the sun-drying process.

4. Use grease

Some communities used fat to preserve food. These were mainly communities that herded animals, such as nomadic communities. For example, among the Somalis, when a camel was slaughtered, some of the meat was cooked in generous amounts of fat and salt. It was then stored for future use. The meat remained fit for human consumption due to the large amounts of fat in which it was cooked and stored, and the salt.

Many parts of Africa still do not have the electrical infrastructure necessary for sustained cooling. Traditional food preservation methods continue to play a vital role in keeping food edible for millions of people.

These methods, such as sun-drying, smoking, salting, and using fat, have not only stood the test of time, but are also inexpensive and sustainable without requiring too much energy.


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