After the Lions Gate A&S Defenders competition I got a lot of questions about how to salt meat. So I decided to put my research together into an article for the local newsletters. So, here it is.
The preservation of food has always been a major concern of civilization. Modernly we tend to rely on refrigeration to preserve our foods. Cooling was also a method for food preservation in the middle ages, however, for obvious reasons there were limitations. Other methods needed to be devised to preserve foods, especially regarding meat. In this article I will be focusing on the medieval method of salting meats to preserve them for later consumption. The methods I describe are those which would have been used in England and France in the late medieval period.
The salting of meat was a common practice in the middle ages. This allowed for the preservation, storage, and transport of meat without refrigeration. According to Food in Medieval England “it was a routine procedure on big estates for deer to be hunted according to season, when the meat was at its best, and the venison prepared and stored in larders till needed, and in this case heavier salting would be necessary” (Woolgar, Serjeantson and Waldron 181). The salting of venison was common in great households, so much so that there were quite often men whose sole job was the preservation of food. They would accompany the huntsmen so as to make sure that the deer were treated properly and would be preserved properly (Woolgar, Serjeantson and Waldron 181).