Salt & smoking I – an experiment
June 8, 2010
In the morning I noticed how the mould growing on the brine in which the tongues were stored had started to turn blue. According to some reliable sites on smoking and brine the best solution would be to change the brine and clean the meat. However, as I had been brooding over the use of salt in early medieval times I considered this a good chance to do some further investigations into the subject.
Instead of simply throwing the brine away I figured that in a society in which salt was a fairly scarce commodity, the recovery of any salt used would have been of utmost importance. By boiling the brine I should be able to recover some of the salt used to salt the meat, of course some would be lost to the meat, some to the vat, some to the cauldron and some due to incompetence from my side.
When the meat was put in brine I had used approximately 1,5 kg of salt, this amount could probably have been lower if I had been able to better monitor the amount of brine to meat. However due to a slight lack of control over the heat in the hearth I did not manage to keep it boiling at all times which made it take a bit longer than it would have done under more controlled circumstances. While I managed to boil away all of the water during the opening hours of the museum, there was no time left to scrape of the salt from the cauldron and measure it.
This will have to be continued at my next session in the museum.
Perhaps I ought to start my next session a bit earlier as I just realised that the salt may oxidise the metal vessel.