Curing can be traced preservation of milk pdf to antiquity, and was the primary way of preserving meat and fish until the late 19th century. They also contribute to the characteristic pink color. Most meats cannot be kept at room temperature in excess of a few days without spoiling.
If kept in excess of this time, meat begins to change colour and exude a foul odour, indicating the decomposition of the food. While the short shelf life of fresh meat does not pose a significant problem when access to it is easy and supply is abundant, in times of scarcity and famine, or when the meat must be carried over long voyages, it spoils very quickly. In such circumstances the usefulness of preserving foods containing nutritional value for transport and storage is obvious. Curing is able to significantly extend the life of meat before it spoils, by making it inhospitable to the growth of spoilage microbes. Sur un fond noir se détache le profil ocre d’un jeune homme tenant de la main gauche le groin d’une tête de porc posée sur un tabouret, et de la droite un long couteau, haut levé et près à s’abattre sur la hure.
Young man preparing a pig’s head after a sacrifice. Several sources describe the salting of meat in the ancient Mediterranean world. A trade in salt meat occurred across ancient Europe. Rome in large quantities, where it was sold in different cuts: rear cuts, middle cuts, hams, and sausages. This meat, after having been salted with the greatest care, was sometime smoked. These goods had to have been considerably important, since they fed part of the Roman people and the armies. Their herds of sheep and pigs were so many, they could provide skins and salt meat not only for Rome, but also for most of Italy.