Holidays are wonderful FOR relaxation and togetherness. Yet the combination of heat, moisture, lack of modern kitchen amenities and informal food preparation can lead to all sorts of unexpected health problems such as upset stomachs.
Historically, vinegar was used in South Africa to prevent the putrefaction of fresh meat by preparing products like biltong, whereby you left the fresh meat in a strong vinegar and spice marinade before drying it so as to kill the bacteria. When you are camping or picnicking, use vinegar’s germ-killing power to prevent food poisoning.
Meat and chicken in particular can become a breeding ground for dangerous germs, especially in hot and humid summers. It’s safe practice to add a few tablespoons of mild-tasting apple cider vinegar when preparing any meat dish, regardless of the recipe’s instructions. You can reduce the acidity with raisins or other sweetening agents if you feel it’s necessary.
Here is a delicious variation for boerewors with a tang. Simply wipe the fresh boerewors with a clean vinegar-soaked cloth and hang it on a wire in a fly- and pet-free area, until it’s winddroog, as my mother used to say. This isn’t for long-term preservation – maybe up to two days maximum – but it lends a smoky taste to the end product. It’s another way of storing the fresh meat a bit longer due to the combination of dry air and vinegar.
If you have to buy meat in bulk and your refrigeration facilities are inadequate, sprinkle it with vinegar to prolong the freshness and deter flies. If you wish, you can rinse off the vinegar before cooking. Most of these suggestions can also be applied to fresh fish, especially if it can’t be prepared immediately. So, to ensure that your holidays won’t be spoiled by any nasty bugs, regard vinegar as part of your “preventative” First Aid kit.
And just another warning – take care with foods mixed with mayonnaise if they can’t be immediately refrigerated. They are a sure-fire stomach hazard! – Johanita Louw |fw