Pirates ate salt-cured meat!
"Salt-cured meat or salted meat, for example bacon and kippered herring, is meat or fish preserved or cured with salt. Salting, either with dry salt or brine, was the only widely available method of preserving food until the 19th century."
"Salt inhibits the growth of microorganisms by drawing water out of microbial cells through osmosis. Concentrations of salt up to 20% are required to kill most species of unwanted bacteria. Smoking, often used in the process of curing meat, adds chemicals to the surface of meat that reduce the concentration of salt required."
"Salted meat and fish are a staple of the diet in North Africa, Southern China, and in the Arctic where they are associated with nasopharyngeal cancer caused by infection by the Epstein-Barr Virus. One study hypothesizes that a covector is anaerobic bacteria found in salted fish.(not a verified study)"
Staple of the Mariner's Diet:
"Salted meat was a staple of the mariner's diet in the Age of Sail. It was stored in barrels, and often had to last for months spent out of sight of land. The basic Royal Navy diet consisted of salted beef, salted pork, ship's biscuit, and oatmeal (see National Oatmeal Month or porridge recipe), supplemented with smaller quantities of peas, cheese and butter. Even in 1938, Eric Newby found the diet on the tall ship Moshulu to consist almost entirely of salted meat. Moshulu's lack of refrigeration left little choice as the ship made voyages which could exceed 100 days passage between ports."
- Beef jerky also is involved in salt preservation.
'Salt beef' in the UK and Commonwealth as a cured and boiled foodstuff is sometimes known as 'Corned beef' elsewhere, though traditional salt beef is different in taste and preparation. The use of the term corned comes from the fact that the Middle English word corn could refer to grains of salt as well as cereal grains."
History of Salt Curing
"Salt curing is one of the oldest techniques for curing meat. To cure pork, the pork is packed in salt and periodically turned for a period of months. As the curing progresses, water is drawn out of the meat, and salt penetrates inwards. The salt prevents molding and rotting, acting as a preservative to keep bacteria from living in the meat. Well-handled salt pork could last a year or more packed in barrels, making it a staple food in many regions of the world."
"Traditionally, salt pork was kept on board ships along with salt fish, salt beef, and sea biscuit as a ration; and this food was also used to supply armies and explorers with their basic protein needs -- it, along with hardtack, were standard rations in the American Civil War, and many Europeans acquired a taste for salt pork due to time spent on board ships, in remote colonies, and in the military. As a result salt pork is a common feature in the cuisine of former colonies and coastal regions such as the Caribbean, Portugal, and Spain."
"Today, many people use bacon instead of salt pork, since salt pork can be harder to obtain, and the higher level of salt and fat make it less healthy to eat regularly."
- Curing (food preservation)
- Dried and salted cod, one of the main preserved sources of protein for centuries around the Atlantic nations
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