Ark of taste
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Persenda is prepared from the meat of native sheep breeds such as Waziri, Kakari, Gassali, Dummari, Musakhaili, Shinwari and Marriwal.The animal selected for persenda is called landi. The white colored sheep breeds like Kakari, Musakhaili and Bybrik are preferred for this purpose, as their meat is considered juicier than that of other breeds. Such meat also lends itself to drying because the muscles are not double and thick. The animal is usually bought in July or August and kept on free grazing for almost 5 months, before being slaughtered in the month of December.After slaughtering, the wool is plucked from the carcass by hand. Then the viscera are removed and the abdomen is closed with the fresh stick of the tree. The carcass is singed by the flame produced by burning local bushes. The carcass is then washed to remove dirt and ashes. After washing, the bones are removed from the carcass without cutting the skin. The skin remains intact so that the carcass absorbs salts during a curing stage. The deboned carcass is then kept in the shade for 2-3 days. After this stage the carcass is cut into pieces and hung on wooden sticks in an aerated and sunny place for drying that lasts 10-15 days. The dried meat is then stored in an airy room on a mat made from plant leaves (pizzie). Such dry meat is called persenda. Drying and curing meat is a very ancient tradition of the inhabitants of marginalized, dry and cold lands of the world. Many mobile pastoralists, agro-pastoralists and farming communities had been using this technique to preserve meat while drying or curing. The refrigeration/cooling technology made it easy to conserve meat and other food items while decreasing its temperature and increasing shelf life. Still there is no electricity and other sources of power to use refrigeration and other techniques to conserve meat and other food items. Pashtun communities, either pastoralists or others have strong desire to cured meat which is called as Persenda. This tradition is still strong and in practice in Pakistan and Afghanistan.The climate change is resulting in concurrent droughts, ultimately eroding grassy vegetation from the range lands. The main feed item for range sheep is grass vegetation. The other threat is land grabbing and mining activities. The social change is another threat. Life style and feeding habits along with reluctance of animal fat use is another threat to the sheep heritage of the region. Low economic return and low income force sheep pastoralists to other economic activities. By promotion of their traditional products we can harvest niche market and can increase income manifold.

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Cured meats and meat products

Nominated by:Abdul Raziq