Traditinal ways of preserving meat in Uganda


The advance in refrigeration technologies has made the preservation of most foods like meat very easy.   According to the Worldometer evaluation of the latest UN data, the current population of Uganda was projected to be at 47,541,461 on October 3rd 2021.

Less than half of this population have access to a refrigerator in their homes for their food.  Preserving food to increase its shelf life is a means of fighting hunger in Uganda and has been carried out traditionally over the years.

How is the life span of meat increased by the rest of the population in Uganda?

Food preservation is the process of handling food to slow down its rate of getting spoiled. meat in this write up I am referring to any animal flesh eaten by the people in Uganda, beef, fish, chicken, rabbits, and birds


Drying is the oldest method of preserving food and is still practised by Ugandans living in rural areas.  Meat and fish can be dried under the sun or using wind.  Drying removes moisture from the meats which prevent them from going bad.

In the semi-arid areas of Karamoja beef from the animals is sun-dried and preserved for future use. The sun-dried beef can be eaten dry or soaked in water soil that is reabsorbed moisture before cooking. It is then cooked as a beet stew or pasted with ground nuts and can be served with millet bread/ Kalo

shredded pieces of meat being dried under the sun
meat drying on round baskets


In this method meat is exposed to smoke from burning wood to brown, flavour and preserve.  Formaldehyde found in wood acts as a natural food preservative. Smoked fish and meat are delicious because they attain a flavour from the process of smoking.

The smoked fish and beef will stay a few days without going bad, to preserve it longer keep smoking the meat after skipping a few days.

beef chunks being roasted
smoking meat as a means of preserving it


Steaming of meat is a common method of preserving meat commonly done in eastern Uganda during the Christmas period when a lot of cattle are slaughtered for the festivities.  In this method meat is placed in a saucepan with no water and placed over a low source of heat.  

The meat moisture in the meat is steamed out. Salt is usually added for flavour and extra preservation.  The meat is subsequently smoked over low heat charcoal to preserve it further for more days.


Cooing/boiling is a short term method of preserving meat. Boiling your beef in water will keep it good for a few days with constant warming and boiling but will go bad soon after.

The moisture in the meat and soup create a conducive environment for the microbial organisms living in the meat to decompose it.

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