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Flavours of faith

Ways to ensuring freshness in korban meat

Aidiladha, also known as Hari Raya Haji, holds significant cultural and religious importance for Muslims worldwide, commemorating Prophet Ibrahim’s (pbuh) obedience to Allah the Almighty’s command to sacrifice his son.

At the heart of this celebration is the ritual sacrifice of livestock, known as korban, followed by the distribution of meat to family, friends and those in need. The preservation of korban meat’s freshness and safety is paramount.

Drawing from the wisdom of our elders, I’ve gleaned essential practices to effectively manage this task.

Key among these lessons is the meticulous handling of meat right from the moment of sacrifice. Ensuring strict hygiene practices and immediate refrigeration are vital steps to prevent bacterial growth and preserve the meat’s quality.

PHOTO: ENVATO

IMMEDIATE COOLING AND CLEAN PROCESSING

Immediately after the sacrifice, ensuring rapid cooling of the meat to below four degrees Celsius is important.

This swift cooling process is critical as it effectively inhibits bacterial growth, preserving the meat’s freshness and safety for consumption. Simultaneously, maintaining meticulous cleanliness during the meat processing phase is equally crucial. Utilise sanitised tools and surfaces throughout, wear gloves to minimise contact, and uphold a hygienic environment at all times.

These practices safeguard against contamination, ensuring that the meat remains wholesome and free from any potential health risks.

 

BLENDING TRADITIONAL AND MODERN METHODS

Our family combines traditional practices with modern techniques for preserving korban meat. Here’s what we’ve learned:

We start by cleaning the meat thoroughly and marinating it with salt and spices – a traditional method that aids preservation, especially in cases where refrigeration space is limited.

Additionally, we use ice boxes to transport the meat and promptly refrigerate or freeze it upon arrival. This hybrid approach ensures the meat remains fresh.

PHOTO: ENVATO

PROMPT PACKAGING

Package the meat in small, manageable portions using airtight containers or vacuum-sealed bags immediately after processing.

This method helps maintain freshness and prevents contamination or freezer burn.

 

PRACTICAL TIPS FOR STORAGE

Drawing from our elders’ wisdom, here are practical tips for storing and preparing korban meat:

Always label and date meat packages to monitor storage time and prioritise older packages for consumption first.

PHOTO: ENVATO

FREEZING TECHNIQUES

To ensure meat freezes evenly and maintains its quality, start by arranging it in a single layer on a tray. This initial step allows the meat to freeze uniformly, preventing large ice crystals from forming and preserving its texture.

Once each piece is individually frozen on the tray, carefully stack the packages in the freezer.

Stacking the frozen packages helps optimise storage space and prevents the meat pieces from sticking together. This method ensures that when it’s time to use the meat, you can easily retrieve the desired portion without having to thaw an entire package unnecessarily.

It ensures that the meat retains its freshness and flavour until it is ready to be enjoyed, whether it’s for a special Hari Raya Haji dish or for everyday meals beyond the celebration.

 

DEFROSTING

When preparing to cook the korban meat, it’s essential to prioritise safety and quality. Thawing the meat overnight in the refrigerator or using the defrost setting on the microwave are recommended methods.

These approaches help maintain the meat’s freshness and texture by ensuring a gradual thawing process that minimises the risk of bacterial growth.

Thawing meat at room temperature is discouraged as it can create an environment conducive to bacteria, potentially compromising the meat’s safety and taste.

By following these practices, which blend traditional wisdom with modern convenience, families ensure that the korban meat is handled and stored in a manner that respects its significance and enhances its flavour.

PHOTO: ENVATO

COMMUNITY SPIRIT

Hari Raya Haji isn’t just about the ritual of sacrifice; it’s a time for sharing and community. Keeping the meat fresh ensures everyone enjoys this special gift in its best condition.

By blending age-old wisdom with modern techniques, Bruneian communities uphold the true spirit of this sacred celebration while prioritising health and safety.

Korban is more than a religious duty; it’s a profound act of faith and charity. Preserving the freshness of the meat honours this tradition, showing reverence for the blessings we receive and share.

This Hari Raya Haji, as families gather across Brunei to celebrate and bond, following these practices ensures the festival’s spirit thrives, nourishing both body and soul. – RIZAL FAISAL

PHOTO: FREEPIK
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