Meat Preservatives and Other Formulations From Antiquity














Meat Preservatives

(Most of these are considered injurious by the United States Department of Agriculture and should therefore be used with extreme caution.)

The Preservation Of Meats.

—Decomposition of the meat sets in as soon as the blood ceases to pulse in the veins, and it is therefore necessary to properly preserve it until the time of its consumption.

The nature of preservation must be governed by circumstances such as the kind and quality of the article to be preserved, length of time and climatic condition, etc. While salt, vinegar, and alcohol merit recognition on the strength of a long-continued usage as preservatives, modern usage favors boric acid and borax, and solutions containing salicylic acid and sulphuric acid are common, {360}and have been the subject of severe criticism.

Many other methods of preservation have been tried with variable degrees of success; and of the more thoroughly tested ones the following probably include all of those deserving more than passing mention or consideration.

1. The exclusion of external, atmospheric electricity, which has been observed to materially reduce the decaying of meat, milk, butter, beer, etc.

2. The retention of occluded electric currents. Meats from various animals packed into the same packages, and surrounded by a conducting medium, such as salt and water, liberate electricity.

3. The removal of the nerve centers. Carcasses with the brains and spinal cord left therein will be found more prone to decomposition than those wherefrom these organs have been removed.

4. Desiccation. Dried beef is an excellent example of this method of preservation. Other methods coming under this heading are the application of spices with ethereal oils, various herbs, coriander seed extracted with vinegar, etc.

5. Reduction of temperature, i. e., cold storage.

6. Expulsion of air from the meat and the containers. Appert’s, Willaumez’s, Redwood’s, and Prof. A. Vogel’s methods are representative for this category of preservation. Phenyl paper, Dr. Busch’s, Georges’s, and Medlock and Baily’s processes are equally well known.

7. The application of gases. Here may be mentioned Dr. Gamgee’s and Bert and Reynoso’s processes, applying carbon dioxide and other compressed gases, respectively.

Air-drying, powdering of meat, smoking, pickling, sugar or vinegar curing are too well known to receive any further attention here. Whatever process may be employed, preference should be given to that which will secure the principal objects sought for, the most satisfactory being at the same time not deleterious to health, and of an easily applicable and inexpensive nature.

To Preserve Beef, Etc., In Hot Weather.

—Put the meat into a hot oven and let it remain until the surface is browned all over, thus coagulating the albumen of the surface and inclosing the body of the meat in an impermeable envelope of cooked flesh. Pour some melted lard or suet into a jar of sufficient size, and roll the latter around until the sides are evenly coated to the depth of half an inch with the material. Put in the meat, taking care that it does not touch the sides of the jar (thus scraping away the envelope of grease), and fill up with more suet or lard, being careful to completely cover and envelop the meat. Thus prepared, the meat will remain absolutely fresh for a long time, even in the hottest weather. When required for use the outer portion may be left on or removed. The same fat may be used over and over again by melting and retaining in the melted state a few moments each time, by which means not only all solid portions of the meat which have been retained fall to the bottom, but all septic microbes are destroyed.

—I.—Barmenite Corning Agent: For every 100 parts, by weight, take 25.2 parts, by weight, of saltpeter; 46.8 parts, by weight, sodium chloride; 25.7 parts, by weight, cane sugar; 0.8 parts, by weight, plaster of Paris or gypsum; 0.1 part, by weight, of some moistening material, and a trace of magnesia.

II.—Carniform, A: For every 100 parts, by weight, take 3.5 parts, by weight, sodium diphosphate; 3.1 parts, by weight, water of crystallization; 68.4 parts, by weight, sodium chloride; 24.9 parts, by weight, saltpeter; together with traces of calcium phosphate, magnesia, and sulphuric acid.

III.—Carniform, B: For every 100 parts, by weight, take 22.6 parts, by weight, sodium diphosphate; 17.3 parts, by weight, water of crystallization; 59.7 parts, by weight, saltpeter; 0.6 parts, by weight, calcium phosphate; with traces of sulphuric acid and magnesia.

IV.—“Cervelatwurst” (spice powder): For 100 parts, by weight, take 0.7 parts, by weight, of moistening; 3.5 parts, by weight, spices—mostly pepper; 89 parts, by weight, sodium chloride; 5 parts, by weight, saltpeter; 0.7 parts, by weight, gypsum; and traces of magnesia.

V.—Cervelatwurst Salt (spice powder): For 100 parts, by weight, take 7.5 parts, by weight, spices—mostly pepper; 1.6 parts, by weight, moistener; 81.6 parts, by weight, sodium chloride; 2.5 parts, by weight, saltpeter; 6.2 parts, by weight, cane sugar; and traces of magnesia.

VI.—Rubrolin Sausage (spice powder): For 100 parts by weight, take 53.5 parts, by weight, sal ammoniac, and 45.2 parts, by weight, of saltpeter.

VII.—Servator Special Milk and Butter Preserving Salt: 80.3 per cent of crystallized boracic acid; 10.7 per cent {361}sodium chloride; and 9.5 per cent of benzoic acid. (Its use is, however, prohibited in Germany.)

VIII.—Wittenberg Pickling Salt: For 100 parts, by weight, take 58.6 parts, by weight, sodium chloride; 40.5 parts, by weight, saltpeter; 0.5 parts, by weight, gypsum; traces of moisture and magnesia.

IX.—Securo: For a quart take 3.8 parts, by weight, aluminum oxide, and 8 parts, by weight, acetic acid; basic acetate of alumina, 62 parts, by weight; sulphuric acid, 0.8 parts, by weight; sodium oxide, with substantially traces of lime and magnesia.

X.—Michels Cassala Salt: This is partially disintegrated. 30.74 per cent sodium chloride; 15.4 per cent sodium phosphate; 23.3 per cent potassio-sodic tartrate; 16.9 per cent water of crystallization; 1.2 per cent aluminum oxide; and 2.1 per cent acetic acid as basic acetate of alumina; 8.4 per cent sugar; 0.98 per cent benzoic acid; 0.5 per cent sulphuric acid; and traces of lime.

XI.—Corning Salt: Sodium nitrate, 50 parts; powdered boracic acid, 45 parts; salicylic acid, 5 parts.

XII.—Preservative Salt: Potassium nitrate, 70 parts; sodium bicarbonate, 15 parts; sodium chloride, 15 parts.

XIII.—Another Corning Salt: Potassium nitrate, 50 parts; sodium chloride, 20 parts; powdered boracic acid, 20 parts; sugar, 10 parts.

XIV.—Maciline (offered as condiment and binding agent for sausages): A mixture of wheat flour and potato flour dyed intensely yellow with an azo dyestuff and impregnated with oil of mace.

A German Method Of Preserving Meat. —Entire unboweled cattle or large, suitably severed pieces are sprinkled with acetic acid and then packed and transported in sawdust impregnated with cooking salt and sterilized.

Extract Of Meat Containing Albumen. —In the ordinary production of meat extract, the albumen is more or less lost, partly through precipitation by the acids or the acid salts of the meat extract, partly through salting out by the salts of the extract, and partly by coagulation at a higher temperature. A subsequent addition of albumen is impracticable because the albumen is likewise precipitated, insolubly, by the acids and salts contained in the extract. This precipitation can be prevented, according to a French patent, by neutralizing the extract before mixing with albumen, by the aid of sodium bicarbonate. The drying of the mixture is accomplished in a carbonic acid atmosphere. The preparation dissolves in cold or hot water into a white, milky liquid and exhibits the smell and taste of meat extract, if the albumen added was tasteless. The taste which the extract loses by the neutralization returns in its original strength after the mixture with albumen. In this manner a meat preparation is obtained which contains larger quantities of albumen and is more nutritious and palatable than other preparations.


French Gelatin. —Gelatin is derived from two sources, the parings of skins, hides, etc., and from bones. The latter are submitted to the action of dilute hydrochloric acid for several days, which attacks the inorganic matters—carbonates, phosphates, etc., and leaves the ossein, which is, so to say, an isomer of the skin substance. The skin, parings of hide, etc., gathered from the shambles, butcher shops, etc., are brought into the factory, and if not ready for immediate use are thrown into quicklime, which preserves them for the time being. From the lime, after washing, they pass into dilute acid, which removes the last traces of lime, and are now ready for the treatment that is to furnish the pure gelatin. The ossein from bones goes through the same stages of treatment, into lime, washed and laid in dilute acid again. From the acid bath the material goes into baths of water maintained at a temperature not higher than from 175° to 195° F.

The gelatin manufacturer buys from the button-makers and manufacturers of knife handles and bone articles generally, those parts of the bone that they cannot use, some of which are pieces 8 inches long by a half inch thick.

Bones gathered by the ragpickers furnish the strongest glue. The parings of skin, hide, etc., are from those portions of bullock hides, calf skins, etc., that cannot be made use of by the tanner, the heads, legs, etc.

The gelatin made by Coignet for the Pharmacie Centrale de France is made from skins procured from the tawers of Paris, who get it directly from the abattoirs, which is as much as to say that the material is guaranteed fresh and healthy, since these institutions are under rigid inspection and surveillance of government inspectors and medical men.

There is a gelatin or glue, used exclusively for joiners, inside carpenters, and ceiling makers (plafonneurs), called rabbit vermicelli, and derived from rabbit skins. As the first treatment of these skins is to saturate them with mercury bichloride, it is needless to say the product is not employed in pharmacy.{370}

To Clarify Solutions Of Gelatin, Glues, Etc. —If 1 per cent of ammonium fluoride be added to turbid solutions of gelatin or common glue, or, in fact, of any gums, it quickly clarifies them. It causes a deposition of ligneous matter, and also very materially increases the adhesive power of such solutions.

Air Bubbles In Gelatin. —The presence of minute air bubbles in cakes of commercial gelatin often imparts to them an unpleasant cloudy appearance. These minute air bubbles are the result of the rapid, continuous process of drying the sheets of gelatin by a counter-current of hot air. Owing to the rapid drying a hard skin is formed on the outside of the cake, leaving a central layer from which the moisture escapes only with difficulty, and in which the air bubbles remain behind. Since the best qualities of gelatin dry most rapidly, the presence of these minute bubbles is, to a certain extent, an indication of superiority, and they rarely occur in the poorer qualities of gelatin. If dried slowly in the old way gelatin is liable to be damaged by fermentation; in such cases large bubbles of gas are formed in the sheets, and are a sign of bad quality.



If water to be frozen is placed in a tin bucket or other receptacle it can be readily congealed by putting it in a pail containing a weak dilution of sulphuric acid and water. Into this throw a handful of common Glauber salts, and the resulting cold is so great that water immersed in the mixture will be frozen solid in a few minutes, and ice cream or ices may be quickly and easily prepared. The cost is only a few cents. The same process in an ice-cream freezer will do the trick for ice cream.

Home-Made Refrigerators. —I.—Partly fill with water a shallow granite-ware pan. Place it in an open, shady window where there is a good draught of air. In this put bottles of water, milk, and cream (sealed), wrapped with wet cloths reaching into the water. Put butter in an earthen dish deep enough to prevent water getting in. Over this turn an earthen flower-pot wrapped with a wet cloth reaching into the water. The pan should be fixed every morning and evening. With several of these pans one can keep house very comfortably without ice.

II.—Procure a wire meat-safe—that is, a box covered by wire netting on three sides, with a fly-proof door. On top place a deep pan filled with water. Take a piece of burlap the height of the pan and safe, and of sufficient length to reach around the entire safe. Tack it fast where the door opens and closes. Tuck the upper edge in the water. Place it where there is a draught and where the dripping will do no damage. This constitutes a well-ventilated refrigerator that costs nothing but water to maintain.

III.—Take a store box, any convenient size, and place in this a smaller box, having the bottom and space around the sides packed with sawdust. Have a galvanized iron pan made, the size of the inside box and half as deep, to hold the ice. Have the pan made with a spout 6 inches long to drain off the water as the ice melts. Bore a hole the size of the spout through the double bottom and sawdust packing to admit the spout. Short legs may be nailed on the sides of the box and a vessel set underneath to catch the drippings. Put on a tight board cover. A shelf may be placed in the box above the ice. This box will keep ice for three days.

IV.—Select a large cracker box with a hinged cover. Knock out the bottom and cut windows in each side, leaving a 3-inch frame, over which tack wire gauze. In the coolest part of the cellar dig away the earth to a level depth of 3 inches and fit the box into the space.

Mix plaster of Paris to a consistency of thick cream and pour into the box for a 1/2-inch thick bottom. Twenty-four hours will harden it sufficiently. Put a hook and catch on the lid. A box of this sort can be cleaned easily, and insects cannot penetrate it.


Black Starch. —Add to the starch a certain amount of logwood extract before the starch mixture is boiled. The quantity varies according to the depth of the black and the amount of starch. A small quantity of potassium bichromate dissolved in hot water is used to bring out the proper shade of black. In place of bichromate, black iron liquor may be used. This comes ready prepared.

Starch Gloss. —I.—Melt 2 1/2 pounds of the best paraffine wax over a slow fire. When liquefied remove from the fire to stir in 100 drops of oil of citronella. Place several new pie tins on a level table, coat them slightly with sweet oil, and pour about 6 ta­ble­spoon­fuls of the melted paraffine wax into each tin. The pan may be floated in water sufficiently to permit the mixture to be cut or stamped out with a tin cutter into small cakes about the size of a peppermint lozenge. Two of these cakes added to each pint of starch will cause the smoothing iron to impart the finest possible finish to muslin or linen, besides perfuming the clothes.

All these are to be intimately mixed in the powder form by sifting through a sieve several times. As the wax is in a solid form and does not readily become reduced to powder by pounding in a mortar, the best method of reducing it to such a condition is to put the wax into a bottle with some sulphuric or rectified ether and then allow the fluid to evaporate. After it has dissolved the wax, as the evaporation proceeds, the wax will be deposited again in the solid form, but in fine thin flakes, which will easily break down to a powder form when rubbed up with the other ingredients in a cold mortar. Pack in paper or in cardboard boxes. To use, 4 teaspoonfuls per pound of dry starch are to be added to all dry starch, and then the starch made in the usual way as boiled starch.

Refining Of Potato Starch. —A suitable quantity of chloride of lime, fluctuating according to its quality between 1/2 to 1 part per 100 parts of starch, is made with little water into a thick paste. To this paste add gradually with constant stirring 10 to 15 times the quantity of water, and filter.

The filtrate is now added to the starch stirred up with water; 1/2 part of ordinary {681}hydrochloric acid of 20° Bé. previously diluted with four times the quantity of water is mixed in, for every part of chloride of lime, the whole is stirred thoroughly, and the starch allowed to stand.

When the starch has settled, the supernatant water is let off and the starch is washed with fresh water until all odor of chlorine has entirely disappeared. The starch now obtained is the resulting final product.

If the starch thus treated is to be worked up into dextrin, it is treated in the usual manner with hydrochloric acid or nitric acid and will then furnish a dextrin perfectly free from taste and smell.

In case the starch is to be turned into “soluble” starch proceed as usual, in a similar manner as in the production of dextrin, with the single difference that the starch treated with hydrochloric or nitric acid remains exposed to a temperature of 212° F., only until a test with tincture of iodine gives a bluish-violet reaction. The soluble starch thus produced, which is clearly soluble in boiling water, is odorless and tasteless.

Starch Powder. —Finely powdered starch is a very desirable absorbent, according to Snively, who says that for toilet preparations it is usually scented by a little otto or sachet powder. Frangipanin powder, used in the proportion of 1 part to 30 of the starch, he adds, gives a satisfactory odor.

Possible Saltpeter Poisoning

Saltpeter (Nitrate Of Potash).

—Symptoms: Only poisonous in large quantities, and then causes nausea, painful vomiting, purging, convulsions, faintness, feeble pulse, cold feet and hands, with tearing pains in stomach and bowels. Treatment: Treat as is directed for arsenic, for there is no antidote known, and emptying the stomach and bowels with mild drinks must be relied on.

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