Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM)

The art of jerky.(Food)

Byline: Rick Nathanson

Precook jerky to avoid bacteria

Though jerky seems to be enjoying unprecedented popularity as a snack food, there's nothing really new about it.

"In biblical times, meat was salted and hung in the sun to dry," said Bernalillo County home economist Patricia Aaron. "It wasn't called jerky, but that's how mankind learned to preserve meat before refrigeration."

Aaron, who also is an associate professor of home economics at New Mexico State University, said early Native Americans used to preserve buffalo meat by pounding salt into it with a rock. This flattened and tenderized the meat, which was hung in the sun to dry.

Jerky, she said, comes from the Spanish word "charqui," which came from the Peruvian word "quichua. …

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