Meat Preservation in Ancient Egypt

Reference work entry

The ancient Egyptians consumed all types of meat: mammalian, piscian, and avian. It was an important source of protein, but one that was not always equally available to all levels of society. While piscian and avian meat sources were readily obtainable through fishing, hunting, and trapping, mammalian meat was sometimes harder to acquire due to restrictions on hunting wild game and the expense of killing livestock. Thus, mammalian meat tended to be more frequently consumed by the wealthy elite, although it would have been consumed by other social classes on feasts or at festive occasions.

Once slaughtered, the meat had to be consumed immediately to prevent spoilage, or it had to be processed and preserved for later use. There were several ways of preserving meats available to the ancient Egyptians – drying, salting (dry and wet), smoking, a combination of any of these methods, pemmicaning, or using fat, beer, or honey curing. Preserved meat provided a supply of protein for lean times,...

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