The SPICE - Coriander

Biltong is rooted deep in history; the history of South Africa and its people. European seafarers had long been preserving meat for their journeys using salt. As the early settlers started their journeys into the interior of the country, they found abundant game, and as it took a long time for them to settle and breed domestic herds, they needed to preserve the meat they had on hand. So they used the traditional methods they were familiar with, preparing meat with salt, vinegar and spices, and hanging the meat out to dry. At the time, they would hang the meat for a fortnight outside in the winter months when they could take advantage of the cold and dry air to aid preservation.

Traditionally biltong spice consists of salt, pepper and coriander seed. Some mixes might also contain cloves, allspice or brown sugar. Modern mixes might also have paprika, chili, lemon, garlic, Worcester sauce and make use of different vinegars to change the flavor profile.

Our traditional mix is just that – traditional. We keep it simple but tasty with salt, vinegar, black pepper and coriander seed. We find the balance of these flavors just right. And we absolutely believe in keeping our product clean and healthy. No artificial flavors or preservatives here!

About coriander…

Coriander is one of the oldest spices on record, mentioned in the Bible (Exodus 16:31, Numbers 11:7) and found in ruins dated back to at least 5000BC. As trade routes from the East spread into Europe, the use of coriander as both a herb and a spice became a popular part of many cuisines, also for the Dutch. So it is no surprise that this was one of the staples that early settlers of South Africa had available to them.

The coriander plant (coriandrum sativum) is a leafy member of the parsley family, slender stemmed and can grow up to three feet tall. The leaves are used as the herb we know as cilantro, and after the plant flowers (white and pinkish umbrella like flowers) it produces round, tan colored seeds which are harvested and dried to use as a spice.

When we use coriander we mean the dried seeds that can be ground into an aromatic spice. We also toast the seeds before roughly grinding them to intensify the warm, savory flavor.

It seems our ancestors were more savvy than they realized, as coriander has some notable anti bacterial properties. In ancient Egypt it was even used as medicine. This makes it even more of a great choice to include as ingredient in a healthy snack!
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