Traditional and Indigenous Ways of Preserving Food

Chinggis or Gengis Khan and his Mongol Empire may seem an unlikely food waste champion for the new Think-Eat-Save: Reduce Your Foodprintcampaign of UNEP and the UN's Food and Agricultural Organization to cut food waste and loss.

But Khan and his troops had a remarkable way of condensing or shrinking the meat of a whole cow down to the size of a human fist--it apparently explains why his armies could travel huge distances seemingly without supplies: tiny amounts of the concentrated beef protein could be sliced off into hot water to make a highly nutritious soup.

This remarkable form of food preservation is just one of the traditional ways in which nomads and herders in Mongolia, where I am right now to plan the global World Environment Day (WED) 2013 celebrations, have preserved food without refrigeration for centuries.

Along with borts--the name of the concentrated beef--they also have dried curds or aaruul which can last for literally years--I am snacking on some right now flavoured with sugar: not bad at all.

WED 2013 is themed on the new food waste food loss campaign and the Government of Mongolia are keen to showcase food preservation as one contribution to this global challenge. Other communities and countries may pickle to make food available during winter months or for example salt fish so it does not spoil. In Iceland, they bury shark flesh and dig it up later to eat. Other examples include biltong from South Africa and sauerkraut from Germany.

There must be thousands of other brilliant examples of traditional and indigenous ways of preserving food that could also help and shed a new dimension to the campaign while introducing people to new and interesting tastes.

Whether you are from Africa or Asia, Europe or North America, Latin America or a small island developing state let's hear about them.

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