As it is narrated in the Holy Qur’an, Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) had a dream, not once, but repeatedly where he was being asked by Allah (SWT) to sacrifice his son Ismail (A.S). This was a test of love and submission towards Allah. He surrendered to Allah SWT’s command without hesitating and prepared himself and his son for sacrifice.Eid ulAdha or as most of us call it Bakra Eid and will last for few more days as per different beliefs of Fiqh. Also this Eid marks the end of the period of Hajj (the 5th pillar of Islam).Since most of us will be sacrificing an animal to commemorate and remember Prophet Ibrahim’s trials, the next big question on our minds during this heat scorching temperature will be how to preserve the leftover Qurbani meat. Muslims all over the world perform the act of Qurbani where they slaughter an animal and celebrate the wonderful occasion of Eid-ul-Adha. They celebrate this devotion and belief of Prophet Ibrahim (A.S) and Ismail (A.S).The practice of Qurbani in Islam holds great value and is an act of devotion towards Allah (SWT). It is also an act of giving to others in their time of need.Each and every year, people all over the world take part in Qurbani – donating charities to share their Qurbani. Sheeps, goats, Camels and other Cattle are more divided among family, friends and those in need to ensure that the Eid-ul-Adha celebrations are enjoyed by all.The World Health Organization has called for strict rules around animal slaughter ahead of this weekend’s global celebrations for Eid Al-Adha—meaning festival of sacrifice.While the source of the virus that causes COVID-19 is not yet known, it is widely believed to be zoonotic- a disease that can jump from animals to humans—and has been detected in domestic pets, such as cats.Before understanding the common and household methods for preservation of meat, let us understand and keep few important points in mind from pre to post slaughter safe and Hygienic methods which are very important keeping in view the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Pre and Post Slaughter Precautions:
Pre-slaughter handling of meat animals includes procedures adopted during transportation, pre-slaughter rest and ante mortem inspection. In Developed Countries Sacrificial animals are taken to the slaughter house either on hoof or through road/rail/sea transport. While in our Country People usually prefer slaughtering at homes to mark and validate their attempt to replicate the Sunnat-e Ibraheemi (AS).Whatever the means, what is of paramount importance is that the animals must not be subjected to cruelty. If the animals are carried by road or any other possible means, care needs to be taken to avoid overcrowding which may lead to suffocation and physical injuries in the form of bruises, fractures etc. Tying or chaining of the animals is to be avoided. Pre-slaughter rest is the period before slaughter when animals are rested in order to improve the meat quality and reduce the chances of contamination with gastrointestinal bacteria.
During pre-slaughter rest fatigue could have negative influence on protective functions of the animals (low immunity) allowing rapid penetration of the microorganisms especially E Coli through mucous membrane of the intestine to the blood stream and ultimately to the organs.
Normal feeding and resting for 48 hours brings gradual freeing of muscles and other organs from microorganisms, improve bleeding and keeping quality of meat.
Pre-slaughter rest also helps in preserving glycogen level in the muscles and during the later phase this glycogen undergoes anaerobic respiration and results in production of lactic acids which has mild preservation effect on meat quality.
Under stressed conditions muscles do not receive enough oxygen which leads to higher lactic acid production often associated with comprised quality in terms of colour, texture and water holding capacity.
It refers to inspection of Sacrificial animals conducted prior to (12 to 24 hrs) slaughter to ascertain fitness or otherwise of the animals for slaughter. For Sacrificial of any animal on the eve of Eid-ul-Adha Several Islamic rules are there which manifest the validity of whether animal can be used for Sacrifice (Qurban) or not.
The purpose of post-mortem inspection is to ensure the detection of abnormalities and pass for human food only meat which is fit for human consumption.A careful and detailed post-mortem examination and inspection slaughtered animal and its parts thereof shall be made soon after slaughter. After Evisceration i.e removal of non-edible internal organs, Visual examination of edible parts shall be held in such a manner as to preserve their identity till the completion of the post-mortem examination so that they can be identified in the event of any visual damages, lesions, Unusual secretions viz a viz to be checked.
Common Household Preservation Techniques:
Before going for preservation of meat it must be kept in mind thatMeat can spoil instantly by a large number of factors, The spoilage of meat occurs, if the meat is untreated, in a matter of hours or days and results in the meat becoming unappetizing, poisonous, or infectious. Spoilage is caused by the practically unavoidable infection and subsequent decomposition of meat by bacteria and fungi, which are borne by the animal itself, by the people handling the meat, and by their implements. Meat can be kept edible for a much longer time – though not indefinitely–if proper hygiene is observed during slaughtering and preservation, if appropriate safety, preservation and storage conditions are applied.Microorganisms present in meat cause proteins and fats to break down, spoiling the meat, spoilage can reach levels that are unsafe or unsavoury for humans to eat. Blood is the main source for microbes to grow upon after slaughter, so proper washing with potable cold water is recommended before preservation. Mold is a natural part of the environment and plays an important part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter especially Meat and its products, Mold reproduce by means of tiny spores.When the temperature, moisture, and available nutrient conditions are correct, the spores can form into new mold colonies where they are deposited.There are many types of mold, but all require moisture and a food source for growth. Mold can spoil meat by spreading over the surface in fuzzy or colourful patches that change the taste and texture of the meat in a way that most people find unsavoury and consider spoiled. Some mold produce mycotoxins, chemical components of their cells walls, that can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. “Toxic mold” refers to mold which produce mycotoxins, such as Stachybotryschartarum. Exposure to high levels of mycotoxins can lead to neurological problems and death. Prolonged exposure (for example, daily exposure) can be particularly harmful.Besides these two, Improper packing techniques can also cause a chemical reaction in the meat called oxidation. The fats in the meat react with oxygen molecules and cause the meat to go rancid, producing discoloration and a rotten, sour smell and taste.
Since We got an idea of how meat can be spoiled, let us see how preservation of meat can hel us in increasing the shelf life stability without any change in organoleptic characteristics and aroma. Before understanding preservation, one needs to understand about the shelf life of that product. Shelf life is simply the length of time for which meat will remain usable and fit for human consumption. The most common method of its preservation is household freezing. Bacteria grow best at temperatures between 40 F and 140 F, multiplying very rapidly at those temperatures. it’s so important to keep perishable foods like meat and dairy products refrigerated at temperatures below 4.4 C.At a household refrigerator’s temperatures—that is, 0 C to 4.4 C—bacteria can still grow, but that growth is slowed dramatically. It prolongs how long the food is good for, though it doesn’t stop bacterial growth entirely—that’s why you must use raw perishable food within a certain time frame, usually 3 to 4 days, even when it is properly refrigerated. If you think that you won’t eat the leftovers within the proper timeframe, consider freezing the food.Most bacteria can’t survive at lower temperatures, hence the preferred temperature for storing various meats ranges 3 C to 1 C, the coldest setting on your refrigerator. However it isn’t possible at common household level to store the meat indefinitely in the refrigerator as the texture and taste will end up changing with time due to fluctuations in room temperature and frequent opening of fridge door for other purposes. Ideally, ground meat can be stored for only 1 or 2 days in the refrigerator before either cooking or freezing. Roasts, steaks and chops can be kept refrigerated for 3 to 5 days before cooking and after cooking. For best quality, cooked meat and raw ground meat, freezing at temperatures less than -10 C to -15 C can be used within for preservation for upto 6 to 8 months. Usually, any frozen meat is safe indefinitely. The only thing which can be kept in mind during preservation is (flavour, texture, moisture, freeze burns) that decreases during prolonged storage.
1. The best way to store the meat is to thoroughly clean it and put it into small ziplock bags of of sizes as per your choice, freeze them right away. The meat can be pounded softly for giving it a flattening look which makes thawing easier at the time of consumption.
2. Another method is to place the cleaned meat pieces on a plate and keep them under a fan overnight after covering with a muslin cloth. This will dry out a little moisture from the meat and make it easier for uniform freezing.
3. Another common way of preservation can be mixing of meat pieces with the spices, condiment and herbs of your choice with oil and leaving them in the freezer, which will improve the keeping quality and taste as well. Finally Freeze the marinated meat by putting into a zip lock bag. This method will ensure incorporate of Aroma and taste well into the meat.The most important part before freezing is its packing method which is equally important in preservation process. Use of polyethylene bags and newspapers must be avoided, because polythene while freezing can result freezer burns due to its sensitive nature and migration of harmful chemical substances present in polyethylene into the meat. The ink from the newspaper has the tendency to soak harmful ink into the meat, which makes it quite harmful for consumption. Also FSSAI has issued timely guidelines for ban on using newspaper for packing of food items. The best possible and ideal way to pack the meat is in freezer is safe zip lock bags that can be purchased from any supermarket store, Use of makeshift wrap from aluminium foil can be also adopted.
4. Mincing the boneless cuts, with some spices, herbs and garnishing items like Coriander leaves, Mint leaves, Green chillies, chopped onions, and pack in available moulds into different shapes usually spherical, cylindrical and so on shapes followed by freezing. Minced mutton can easily be frozen for up to 6 months or more.
We assume every common household for having access to Refrigerator but not necessary. For folks who don’t have access refrigerator, possible alternatives are available to store meat for long time without freezing it. The practice of preservation has been since ancient times when no facility for refrigeration was available.
1. For preserving meat without a freezer, the best possible way is to dehydrate it by rubbing common salt over it, before salting boil meat in water for 10 mins followed by reheating it after 24 hours in water again for 15 mins. After this sprinkle the salt uniformly and preserve it in a jar at a cool place. It can extend shelf life of meat by 4-6 days.
2. Another way to preserve your meat for longer time more than few days, proper slicing of meat into thin cuts, and rubbing of saltfollowed by hanging on a wire hook in sun. The salt and sun will dry out the moisture from the meat and prevent it from microbial spoilage. The process of salting is called curing of meat and can be done with other substances like the addition of nitrates and nitrites(Food grade) commonly available in markets.
It is better to consume the frozen meats as early as possible. At some instances due to electricity breakdown if the frozen meat de-freezes, never ever refreeze it as it may cause freeze burns making it unsuitable for human consumption. Instead of refreezing try to cook it and freeze the cooked meat.