Cassava as a Meat Preservator, 1860s

Cassava and West Indian ‘Pepper Pot’, tales from Africa:

Manioc bush - leaves are never poisonos and are delicious.

David Livingstone provides this piece of lore from the West Indies, and I wonder if there is any truth to it? It is something that was related to him by a church official who had lived in the Indies:

The sap [of bitter cassava], which, like that of our potatoes, is injurious as an article of food, is used in the “Pepper-pot” of the West Indies, under the name of “Cassereep,” as a perfect preservative of meat.

This juice put into an earthen vessel with a little water and Chili pepper is said to keep meat, that is immersed in it, good for a great length of time; even for years.

No iron or steel must touch the mixture, or it will become sour.

This “Pepper-pot,” of which we first heard from the late Archbishop Whately, is a most economical meat-safe in a hot climate; any beef, mutton, pork, or fowl that may be left at dinner, if put into the mixture and a little fresh cassereep added, keeps perfectly, though otherwise the heat of the climate or flies would spoil it.

From: A Popular Account of Dr. Livingstone’s Expedition to the Zambesi and Its Tributaries and of the Discovery of the Lakes Shirwa and Nyassa (1858-1864)


About dianabuja

With a group of BaTwa (pygmy) women potters, with whom we've worked to enhance production and sales of their wonderful pots - fantastic for cooking and serving. To see the 2 blogs on this work enter 'batwa pots' into the search engine located just above this picture. Blog entries throughout this site are about Africa, as well as about the Middle East and life in general - reflecting over 35 years of work and research in Africa and the Middle East – Come and join me!
This entry was posted in Africa-Central, Explorers & exploration, Food, Technology. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Cassava as a Meat Preservator, 1860s

  1. Noelle Ingledew says:

    pretty accurate description here. Am not sure how widespread it is in the Caribbean…This version of Pepper pot is mostly seen some of the countries of the Lesser Antilles, Guyana and Suriname and is thought to be a technique dating back to the indigenous population


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