Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Since prehistory, people have used salt and/or dehydration to preserve foods from spoilage. In Brazil, these techniques seem not to have been known to the indigenous population prior to the arrival of the Portuguese in 1500, but became widespread shortly after. Portugal had long used salting and dehydrating to preserve fish, notably the salt-cod known in Portuguese as bacalhau. The early ranchers and cowboys of Northeastern Brazil merely adapted the techniques of bacalhau to local livestock, and carne de sol was born.
Carne de sol is not the only salted meat that is traditionally part of Brazilian cuisine. Other similar products are carne-seca, charqui, and frescal. In later posts, I'll discuss these meats, and how they differ from carne de sol, in production and geographical distribution. But carne de sol is the most common, and most well-loved of Brazil's dried, salted meats.