Storing your biltong

Biltong is a natural dry cured product. Correct storage plays a big role in how long your biltong will last. It is important to ensure that you store it correctly before and after you open the pack to ensure you get to enjoy every delicious morsel.

My biltong is made and stored in a hygienically controlled environment. We send out your biltong in plastic packs that are sealed with the appropriate protective atmosphere. You should therefore, keep your biltong in its unopened pack until you are ready to enjoy it or before the expiry date.

Once you open your biltong pack it needs to be eaten within 3 days, provided it is stored correctly. You should store your remaining biltong in a paper bag in a cool, dark place such as a cupboard; or in an open bowl that you regularly turn and mix up.

How long your opened biltong lasts is also affected by the environment. South Africa is dry with low humidity, great for storing biltong. The UK however is wetter and more humid, so the atmosphere contains more moisture, a good friend of mould. We therefore advise you to store your biltong somewhere that has low humidity.

Do not store your Biltong in a sealed container. This will cause the biltong to sweat, which ultimately will lead to mould. The fridge is also not the place for your biltong.

Biltong

Biltong V Jerky

I often get asked what the difference is between biltong and jerky, so I thought I’d do a blog about it. If you’ve tried the two you will know that they taste different but there are also a few other significant differences.

For starters, biltong originates from South Africa, and came about when the Dutch settlers arrived in South Africa and were looking to preserve their meat to make it last longer. Jerky has its origins in North America via South America and was born from a similar need, to preserve meats to give them longevity.

One of the main reasons biltong and jerky taste different is their ingredients. While both are usually made with beef, biltong generally has vinegar, salt and spices added to it, while beef jerky does not. As the need for vinegar has reduced however, so has the use of vinegar, so some biltong makers use it while others don’t. Jerky on the other hand is often smoked to give it its distinct smoky flavour, while biltong is rarely smoked.

Biltong and jerky also have different production processes. Biltong is generally air dried by hanging the meat for up to a week. Today this is often done with a special biltong dryer. Jerky in comparison, is most often cooked in a heat dehydrator for 6 to 12 hours. Jerky’s production process also makes it drier.

The final difference between the two lays in the way they’re cut. Biltong is generally made in larger pieces, 1 inch wide or thicker. It is then sold in these pieces or cut up into thinner slices. Jerky on the other hand, is normally very thinly sliced and often cut into squares or rectangles.

 Biltong

Biltong

 Jerky

Jerky

100km, 30 hours and Ben’s Biltong

Meet Errol Brown. Errol’s taking part in Trailwalker, the UK’s No. 1 team endurance challenge. Trailwalker involves trekking 100km across the South Downs in under 30 hours as part of a team of 4. Trailwalker is a unique opportunity to put your mind and body to the test and raise money for Oxfam and the Gurkha Welfare Trust.

Errol was looking for a food source that was easy to eat, transport and would not spoil for his challenge. He recently discovered Ben’s droewors and biltong and realised they would be perfect for Trailwalker.

After chatting to us, it was decided that biltong was the best option for the challenge as it’s high in protein and low in fat. As a result, Ben’s is now providing Errol with all the biltong he needs for his training and for the actual challenge itself. We’re also throwing in some droewors to help Errol celebrate after he’s conquered the Trailwalker Challenge.

Trailwalker takes place from the 13th to the 15th of July. Errol has not done anything like this before, so it’s going to be a real challenge of mind and body. Errol is looking for all the support he can get and has set up a Just Giving page to raise money for these fantastic charities. If you’d like to sponsor Errol, follow the link

https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Errol-brown1

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Steve Hodge represents England in the World Deaf Rugby 7's Competition in Australia

The English Men and Women's Deaf Rugby teams have just returned home from a trip to Australia where they competed in the World Deaf Rugby 7's competition. Our very own Steve Hodge was selected to represent the country and did us proud.

The team competed against the best in the world including Fiji, Hong Kong, Japan and Australia and won all of their matches to make it through to the final to face old rivals, Wales. It was a tough fought match but Wales won on the day. 

Congratulations to the Women's Deaf Rugby team who managed to go one better than the boys and take Gold.

Steve in Action
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The low down on Droewors

Droewors literally means dried sausage in Afrikaans. Often eaten as a snack food, it is made from boerewors sausages, which are sausages traditionally spiced using coriander seeds.

The first recorded use of droewors was in the 17th century, when Dutch settlers arrived in South Africa and began preserving meat. Given the climate, settlers were faced with the dilemma of food going off very quickly if it was not cooked or eaten. The creation of Droewors (and also biltong) provided the perfect solution, as it allowed settlers to keep their meat for longer.

So, what’s the difference between droewors and biltong? There is one main difference between the two dried meats. Droewors are made from sausages while biltong is made from meat.

Droewors come in thick and thin versions, though the thinner versions, such as ours, are more popular. This is due in part to the thinner sausages being easier to cure and dry and also because they are easier to carry around.

Droewors are now one of the most popular local snacks in South Africa and also have a worldwide following with expat South Africans and others who have discovered the delights of its taste.

Droewors

VICTORY FOR STEVE (powered by Ben's Biltong!!)

Congratulations to Steve, who with the invitational team The Mako Marauders, won the vets 10's at The Flanders Open Rugby in Belgium at the beginning of June. www.flandersopenrugby.be

Ben's Biltong provide Steve with all his snack protein requirements to help with his nutrition for training. Steve is about to start his pre season training and is hoping to be selected again this year for the England Deaf Rugby squad, who are due to play Argentina at the End of August. He is also hoping to be selected to play at Rugby Fest, a new rugby festival held at the end of September in the home of the game - Rugby!  www.rugbyfestuk.com

I wish Steve all the best of luck this season. I'll keep supplying the biltong and you keep winning the trophies!!

Bunny Chow - The story

At food events I am constantly being asked whether there is any rabbit in the bunny chow! 

Some people also find it hard to grasp the concept that you take a hollowed out loaf of bread and fill it with curry  - and a. a curry is South African (Durban has the highest Indian urban population outside of India) and b. it doesn't come with rice.  

So here it is - the Bunny chow story

During the Great Depression in 1933 Indians, whites and Chinese in Durban, South Africa, suffered hunger like everyone else. The kids then discovered that the cheapest curry they could buy (for a quarter penny or half a penny) was made by a vegetarian Indian caste known in Durban slang as the Bania. It was made from dried sugarbeans (no meat). The children didn't have plates, and one kid got the bright idea to hollow out a quarter bread, asked the seller to put the bean curry in the hollowed-out bread, and then used the broken bread he's taken out as a sort of eating utensil. Chinese food was called "chow". Somehow the two words came together: Bania Chow. In time it simply became known as Bunny Chow. Bunny Chow was what the Indian sugar plantation workers took as their day's food to the lands: curry in hollowed-out bread halves. Cheap and practical ... Today it does not matter what your skin colour or station in life is: Durbanites and people from the Kwa-Zulu-Natal province love their bunny chow ...

.....and we love it too!! - You can find us serving up our famous mutton bunny at Digbeth Dining Club (Lower trinity street, Birmingham)  next Friday 26th May 2017

South African Pop Up 2nd June

We will be hosting our annual South African Pop Up with our good friends Bread&Co in Warwick. On Friday the 2nd June come and join us for a 3 course South African menu, complemented with South African beverages.

Located on Smith Street in Warwick, Bread&Co offers casual dining in their beautiful outside space and quirky cafe. Steve and the team will look after you whilst you kick back and enjoy the tastes of Africa.

Space is limited and this event always sells out. Book your table by calling Bread&Co on 01926 493 089

Menu

Cape Malay Pickled Fish

African Garlic and Cayenne Calamari

Vetkoek, Curried Mince/ Chakalaka

xxxxx

Smoked Snoek Frikkadel

Seared Steak, Monkey Gland Sauce, Peri–Peri Seasoned Fries  (£5 suppliment)

Boerewors, Pap En Sous

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Peppermint Crisp Tart

Dom Pedro

£15

Ben's Biltong - Proud sponsor of Steve Hodge. England Deaf Rugby Squad 2017

Steve's story

I’ve been playing rugby since I was 8 years old, where I came through the old Plymouth Albion junior set up and went on to play for their first team. I was also fortunate to play Devon County under 15s, 16s, 18s, and was captain for the under 19s team. I was then selected for the South and South West division at under 19s and went on to play for the Devon 1st team.

I stopped playing rugby nearly 15 years ago due to commitments of everyday life but returned to the sport a couple of seasons ago and I’ve not looked back since.

After joining Tamar Saracens and helping them to gain promotion, I found out through my former Albion team-mate, that because I had some hearing loss, that there was a possibility that I might be eligible to play deaf rugby.

I had previous complications with hearing loss and in addition to this, I had been diagnosed with Meniere’s disease. When the possibility came up for me to play deaf rugby, I went for hearing tests (in order to qualify I needed to have an average of 25db hearing loss bilaterally) and the results confirmed I exceeded this threshold.  Before I knew it, I was invited up to England trials and training sessions and I was fortunate to be chosen to join the England squad- where I made my debut against Wales in January 2017 at the young age of 38! It all seems to be happening later on in life for me and you don’t normally expect to get these chances at my age.

The experience against Wales was just unbelievable, and the opportunity to play for my country was humbling. I had never really heard of deaf international rugby and I feel privileged to be a part of it. It is so strange to have this experience now after having such a long time out of rugby, but I’m enjoying every minute and I'm more determined than ever to train hard so I can hang on to this experience for as long as possible.

I have also been playing at a good level of Vets rugby where I played for Devon Legends against Torbay Sharks at Plymouth Albion, and since then I’ve had a few invitations to play for other vets’ teams. I’ve even got an invite to the Amsterdam 10s.

I am hoping there might be even more unforgettable moments still to come as England have future fixtures against Argentina coming up in August and then a three-Test series against New Zealand where I hope to be involved.

It is great to be working with Ben’s Biltong, who has been kind enough to sponsor and provide me with his biltong. I use biltong as its good way for me to get a healthy snack into my diet which provides me with a good source of protein and nutritional benefits. Having used other biltong in the past, Ben's Biltong is up there with the best and even my South African mates rave about it!!

I would definitely recommend any of his products.

Steve

 

 

Biltong: A Brief History

Indigenous peoples of Southern Africa, such as the Khoikhoi, preserved meat by slicing it into strips, curing it with salt, and hanging it up to dry. After European settlers (Dutch, German, French) arrived in southern Africa in the early 17th century, they changed the curing process by using vinegar, saltpetre and spices including pepper, coriander and cloves

The need for preservation in the new colony was pressing. Building up herds of livestock took a long time but with indigenous game in abundance, traditional methods were available to preserve large masses of meat such as found in the eland in a hot climate. Biltong as it is today evolved from the dried meat carried by the wagon-travelling Voortrekkers, who needed stocks of durable food as they migrated from the Cape Colony, north and north-eastward (away from British rule) into the interior of Southern Africa during the Great Trek. The meat was preserved and hung to be dried for a fortnight after which it would be ready for packing in cloth bags.