Historical aspects of meat fermentations

  • P. Zeuthen


Most reviews on fermented meats point out that drying and fermentation are probably the oldest forms of preservation (e.g. Bacus, 1984; Smith, 1987; Roca and Incze, 1990). The two processes are mentioned together, because in practice they are impossible to separate. To these may be added smoking, which undoubtedly is at least as old a preservation method as drying. The authors quoted above claim that these preservation methods are several thousands of years old. Smith (1987), thus makes reference to Homer’s Odyssey, ca. 900 BC, and sausages of the old Roman Empire. Leistner (1986a) citing Lissner (1939) mentions that ‘sausage’, as such, is an ancient word in many languages. Thus, Wurst is an Indo-Germanic word, probably derived from Latin, meaning ‘to turn’ or ‘to twist’. Sausage is also well-known as Kolbasa in Slavic, derived from Hebrew, meaning ‘all kinds of meats’. The origin of the Danish or rather Scandinavian word p0lse is uncertain, but is probably derived from the Latin word pulvinus, meaning a ‘cylindrical pillow’. Similarly, the origin of the word salami seems uncertain. Most authors, such as Leistner (1986a) say that it is derived from Latin, simply meaning ‘salt’, whereas Bacus (1984) claims that it is derived from the name of the city Salamis on Cyprus. Most authors (e.g. Adams, 1986) claim that the production of fermented sausages is thought to have originated in the countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea, although he also mentions Nham, the fermented pork sausage of Thailand as an example of other areas, where fermentation of meat was of local origin.


Lactic Acid Bacterium Meat Product Starter Culture Fermented Food Historical Aspect 
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© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 1995

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  • P. Zeuthen

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