From Calabria, the ancient methods of food preservation in times of war

What we are experiencing these days is the result of the classic “war psychosis”: supermarkets stormed to buy flour, milk, pasta, oil (basic necessities) puh the phobia of being without them, mileage queues at gas and diesel service stations. All of this should make us think, not panic, but lead us to rediscover and put into practice ancient methods of food preservation, allowing us to keep home supplies unchanged for as long as possible.

Ancient methods of food preservation

And here is a classic case: meat “n’cantarata”, or salted pork, a common custom throughout Calabria. The procedure may seem complicated but it is very simple as you can see. Mrs. Luisa Muoio, surveyor from Cerisano, in the province of Cosenzapassionate about cooking and various traditions, especially those transmitted by her grandmother.

Just take a “salaturi”, a ceramic container, widely used in the past for food preservation and which today we often see as a decorative object in our homes, but thanks to which in the past grandmothers and mothers supported entire families by exploiting the benefits of salt. And it is no coincidence that the peoples of the Mediterranean identify with the history of salt, a food with a thousand uses for lack of modern refrigeration systems.

La carne “n’cantarata” in particolare si prepara nel periodo in cui viene ucciso il maiale in casa, tra dicembre e gennaio: si scelgono i pezzi del maiale che si vogliono conservare, come costine, muscoli e soprattutto la cotenna (la pelle del Pig). In the bottom of the “salaturu” you will put a layer of coarse salt, pork rinds and various pieces of meat; once the first layer is finished, it will be covered with more salt and continued with other layers of meat and pork rinds with the same procedure as the first layer until reaching the surface. At the end we will cover everything with a layer of coarse salt, closing the “salaturu” with the “tympanum”, a wooden lid, placing a weight (a stone) on it to keep everything pressed.

After a few days on the surface, it will form a layer of water from the brine of the meat, which will never be eliminated because it is thanks to it that the meat can be kept for several months.

Then when you want to eat a piece of meat, you just have to open the lid without removing the water on the surface and take the piece of meat by closing the lid, the extracted meat will soak under water to remove all the salt and the meat will appear fresh as if it had been slaughtered at that instant, then cook it as you wish.


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