Preserving Meat Without Refrigeration
If you haven’t considered what would happen without power, start by looking in your kitchen. Your refrigerator would no longer work. Meats and perishables would spoil quickly. While we all want to think we won’t ever be without electricity, no one can predict when the next major world war or other catastrophe will occur.
A major catastrophe that shuts down power plants would be devastating—that is, unless you are prepared and know how to survive. You should learn how to preserve meat without refrigeration. Salting and brining are two efficient, simple means of preserving meat for your family’s sustenance.
Before You Start
You are going to need a source of fresh meat. Beef and pork are both good options. If you have gotten into homesteading, you may have your own pigs and cows; however, you can also purchase fresh meat from a butcher or a co-op that sells beef and pork fresh off the hoof.
Next, you should examine your house thoroughly using a thermometer. As you go from one area to the next, record the temperature. Make sure you check the attic, any unheated areas of your house, your storage shed, and any other shelters on your property. You are looking for the coldest areas; this is where you will store your meat.
Salting Pork for Preservation
Many people have forgotten this old method of preserving pork. It is one of the easiest methods available and doesn’t take much time. You will need fresh pork, pickling salt, brown sugar, and crocks or jars for storage.
First, cut the pork into slabs. Generally, four- to six-inch slabs work best. Mix 1/2 pound of pickling salt with 1/4 cup of brown sugar. This is enough to cover twelve pounds of pork. Liberally cover the pork with this mixture. Next, pack the meat into sterilized crocks or jars. You should make sure it is tightly packed. Cover the meat with cheesecloth.
Using the temperature chart of your house, determine where to store your crocks. You need to keep the meat in an area that is about 36°F – no higher than 38°F. You also do not want an area that could see freezing temperatures. Leave the meat in this cool storage for at least one month. After that time, you can wrap the meat in plastic or moisture-proof paper and leave it stored all winter. You now have salt-cured pork for any occasion.
Many older people remember having a smokehouse on their land when they were young. Meat would be salted and hung to cure in these cool, dry areas. You could build a storage room for handing meat without too much work. The room should have excellent air circulation and stay cool without freezing.