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Sunday, August 5, 2012

Salt Packing

It is very dry around the country this summer, and most people are forgoing rigorous salt-packing for their non-canned items, such as a cut of meat.  "The moisture is not in the air", they say, "The mold will stay away!"

Even on very dry days there is still a risk of contaminating your precious food, especially when the air temperature is very hot.  If you are lucky enough to be transporting a hock of meat, it is best to take the time to properly salt-pack it if you aren't going to eat it within a few days.

People having been using salt to preserve food for thousands of years.  Salt has even been used as a form of currency when it was not readily available.  They say that wars have been fought, kingdoms toppled and vast stretches of the world's land discovered all because of the salt-trade.  What a wonder!

Salt is not nearly as valuable today, and you can find all the salt you need, for free, with half a day's effort.  Simply hit up all the fast food restaurants and find your salt packets in the same way you do ketchup or taco sauce packets.  A good way is to go when its busy and walk up to the counter as if you are already dining, and ask if you can have "more salt for your meal".  9 times out of 10, the cashier won't even realize you hadn't previously ordered anything.

Make the rounds to perhaps 10 fast food restaurants, and then go again later in the day when the shift has changed.  You will have all the salt you need.  If you are so inclined, share the rest of your bounty with a needy fellow in exchange for a tale or a song.

Salt-packing your meat is easy.  Simply drizzle your meat with a little oil or grease (water works fine, too, in a pinch), and then put a good 1/8" layer of salt on the top of the meat.  Don't be stingy!  The top layer of this salt can be re-used later, so don't be shy to use as much as you need.  Pack it down nice and firm into the surface of the meat.  Lay a cloth or piece of tin foil over the salt, then turn it over, and do the same on the other side.  Apply salt in a similar fashion to the sides of the meat, and then wrap it tightly.  Your meat will keep for months! (Although mine never seems to stick around that long!  Ha! Ha!)

Not only is your meat going to keep from spoiling this way, but this dry salt-marinade will actually make the meat more tender and tasty when you do end up boiling it.  Salt Packing: A Functional and Flavorful Discipline!

In solidarity,

Train Tom