Drying: Principles and Applications
Meat drying may be fundamentally de‘ned as the removal of most of the water present in meat by evaporation or sublimation. Consequently, the water activity (aw) is lowered thereby hindering microbial growth and biochemical reactions. The dried meat product will thus have a longer shelf life. Drying using simple natural conditions has been practiced for centuries with the primary purpose of preserving meat. Such drying is still practiced today in many developing countries where other means of meat preservation (e.g., frozen storage) may be too costly or inexistent. In contrast, in developed countries, drying is often only one of the various processing steps (salting, fermentation, smoking) used during the manufacture of speci‘c meat products.