Categories: News

The creative ways our ancestors stored food

When a Michigan farmer unearthed the pelvic bone of a woolly mammoth on his farm a few years ago, he’d actually stumbled across the vestiges of an ancient makeshift refrigerator, writes Live Science. Ancient hunter-gatherers had some very inventive ways for storing food that went well beyond smoking, drying, and fermenting. One way to preserve a large haul like a woolly mammoth—an animal the size of an elephant—was sinking the carcass in a shallow pond filled with bacteria called lactobacilli. The bacteria, which produces lactic acid, can extend the shelf life of meat. A scientist at the University of Michigan re-created this process using lamb and deer and found that the meat was still edible months later. In fact, the lactobacilli even acted as something of a meat tenderizer, though it gave the food a unique flavor and odor “like Limburger cheese.”

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