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