Principles of Ancient Egyptian Food Storage

The process of food preservation is a system used to conserves a quantity of food for some future time and date. There has always been some sort of food preservation employed in just about every culture and nation of the world since early times. In generally, we find various methods used such as canning, cold storage, drying, fermenting, freezing, pickling, salting or smoking according to the location where the culture resides. Some areas blend in with certain types of preservation while others are better suited for alternative methods.

The early ideas pertaining to preservation centered on preserving the food in a manner that likely imitated the exact method used by nature and duplicated how it was naturally accomplice. Original practices made maximum use of cold storage, drying, freezing, fermenting or drying. These were natural processes which occurred often in common fruit. Ancient Egyptian records have reveal their use of salt curing, smoking, pickling, drying, or fermenting as the popular methods used in those days. Drying food methods have been claimed to be one of the oldest means on earth to preserve food with tomb dating instructions discovered in China over 2000 years ago. These Chinese instructions described the various processes involved in salting, drying as well as pickling bamboo shoots. Many 16th century records indicate that the European conquerors in Maya used a method of smoking foods in order to preserve peppers. Methods such as sun drying, smoking, or salting have been used on most perishables including many species of fish.

Salt has traditionally been employed for preservation of meats and fish since ancient times. Various cultures would obtain their supply of salt either directly from the earth deposits or from seawater which had been dried out. The salt has traditionally been employed to create various brines or used in the drying processes for fish in particular.

The ancient Egyptians often used a method known as “banking” in order to preserve much of their perishable foods. The process consisted of digging a hole in the ground and then lining it with wood, leaves or possibly straw so as to make a sort of barrier between the food and the soil. Caves represented the more natural form of “banking” and were used whenever they were available to preserve foods. Foods would be successfully stored in containers made from skins, reed baskets or in various pottery vessels and then placed either in caves or in the holes dug in the ground. Liquids naturally required a much more diverse approach and their types of containers were entirely different.

Pests such as insects, damage as a result of moisture or weather, mold or fungus would often lower the quality of the saved foods and these hindrances had to be taken into account when planning for future food storage. If you stop for a moment and think carefully at how these early civilizations stored their food perhaps we too as survivalists could create a similar storage to serve the same ends.

Copyright @2010 Joseph Parish

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