Multan: Jindan Bibi, her children, and grandchildren go door-to-door to collect meat on Eidul Azha, gathering as much as 80 kilograms this year. Lacking facilities considered essential to life by settled populations, Jindan Bibi’s family and other residents of temporary settlements in the outskirts of Multan employ a traditional method to preserve sacrificial meat, ensuring that it lasts all year round. Jindan Bibi explains that the preservation involves three steps. Firstly, the women make long, thread-like pieces of the meat. Then, they boil it in salted water, and lastly, the meat is hung in threads in the sunlight to dry out completely. After the meat dries up, it is stored in clay pots to be used later. Khairan Mai, Jindan’s daughter-in-law, says she learned the method from her mother and mother-in-law. This traditional method helps them enjoy the meat all year round, as the decay-causing microorganisms are killed when the meat is boiled in salt water. The labour involves in preservation isn’t just relegated to the women of the households, but is taken up by everyone. Men are assigned the task of hanging the meat to dry and ensuring that stray animals do not contaminate it, whilst the other members of the household divide the remaining tasks. The meat preservation method found in itinerant populations may seem odd to the urban sensibilities, but it’s completely fit for consumption, according to health experts. Professor Dr. Hafiz Abdul Ghaffar, the head of Pediatrics Department at Bakhtawar Ameen Medical College and Hospital, says that preserving meat by boiling and salting is completely hygienic. The meat preserved in this way is as healthy as the refrigerated meat. The three-step method ensures that all harmful bacteria are killed. However, he emphasises the need to keep the meat free from contaminants like insects and bees. Published in Daily Times, September 10th 2018.