If you read many old cookbooks you will soon see that many of them cover the subject of how to freshen tainted meat. With no refrigeration, people ate meat that we would turn our nose up at today. These books contained all types of suggestion on how to salvage meat that was starting to spoil. Today I am going to post some of these methods. However, I want to be very clear that I have not tried them and would not in any way suggest that they are safe or that you should try them.
The book published in 1908 “Household discoveries and Mrs. Curtis’s cook book” suggest the following methods To sweeten tainted meats.
“Apply a solution of chloride of soda (sodium hypochlorite) by means of a soft brush or sponge. With this quickly wash over the tainted portions and rinse immediately with fresh water. Afterwards broil or roast the meat so as to expose the tainted portions to a high temperature and char them with the heat.
Or if they are to be boiled, place half a dozen lumps of charcoal, the size of an egg in the water.
Or place a quantity of pulverized charcoal in a cheesecloth bag, and place these in the kettle. All odors will be absorbed by the charcoal and the meat will be sweet and clean.”
The cook’s own book, and housekeeper’s register, (1832) suggests the following
“Tainted meat may be restored by washing in cold water, afterwards in strong chamomile tea, after which it may be sprinkled with salt and used the following day, first washing it in cold water. Roughly, pounded charcoal rubbed all over the meat also restores it when tainted. In Scotland meat is frequently kept a fortnight smothered in oatmeal, and carefully wiped every day; and if it should be a little tainted, it is soaked some hours before it is used, in oatmeal and water.”
I am not sure what these methods accomplished besides killing the odors, but many of our ancestor used them and somehow most of them survived their food.