Meat preservation as a survival technique dates back to ancient times. European seafarers preserved meat for their long journeys by curing meat in salt or brine. European settlers (Dutch, German, French) who arrived in southern Africa in the early 17th century used vinegar in the curing process, as well as saltpetre (potassium nitrate). The potassium nitrate kills Clostridium botulinum, the deadly bacterium that causes botulism, while the acidity of the vinegar inhibits its growth. According to the World Health Organization, C. botulinum will not grow in acidic conditions (pH less than 4.6); therefore the toxin will not be formed in acidic foods. The antimicrobial properties of certain spices have also been drawn upon since ancient times. The spices introduced to biltong by the Dutch include pepper, coriander, and cloves.
Biltong is pure meat, which makes it an excellent source of protein and all nine essential amino acids. The nutritional values stack up impressively: biltong is so powerful a 25 gram serving gives you 50 per cent of your daily protein requirement, which can help to grow and maintain muscle mass
Beef packs in more micronutrients — including iron, zinc, B12, B6, and selenium — pound for pound than most other meats. All of which could help build muscle, repair tissue, boost immunity, and promote brain and body functions.
Beef biltong in particular retains most of these proteins, vitamins, and minerals, as it’s air-dried without ever being heated or dehydrated. It’s healthier than a protein bar and more satisfying than a bag of potato chips. Plus, biltong is naturally low carb, low sugar.
Dry wors is unusual among dried meats in being dried quickly in warm, dry conditions, unlike traditional Italian cured salami, which are dried slowly in relatively cold and humid conditions. A further difference is that dry wors does not contain curing agent as found in a traditional cured sausage. A direct result of this is that drry wors should not be kept in moist conditions as mold can begin to form more easily than would happen with a cured sausage.
Dry wors translates to “dry sausage”) is a Southern African snack food, based on the traditional, coriander-seed spiced boerewors sausage. It is usually made as a dunwors ( translates to “thin sausage”) rather than dikwors (“thick sausage”), as the thinner sausage dries quicker and is thus, less likely to spoil before it can be preserved. If dikwors is to be used, it is usually flattened to provide a larger surface area for drying.
The recipe used for these dried sausages is similar to that for boerewors, though pork and veal are usually replaced by beef, as the former can go rancid when dried, mutton fat replaces the pork fat used in boerewors. Drying makes the sausage ideal for unrefrigerated storage.