Indigenous knowledge on preservation and quality of chevon.
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The study was conducted to assess the indigenous methods on preservation of chevon and their effect on its quality. A case study approach was conducted in Nongoma to identify indigenous knowledge on chevon preservation and their effect on quality. Face to face interviews were conducted in isiZulu and 13 elderly, seven sangomas, four chiefs and experts in the Zulu culture were interviewed. Goats are used for barter trading, a source of food and income and are a symbol of wealth. Goats are also generally used for cultural purposes. The reason of slaughter determines the method of slaughter used. Good quality chevon comes from a fat goat, with shiny skin coat and castrated bucks. Four indigenous preservation techniques were commonly used. These include salting, drying, preboiling, underground preservation, river soil and wrapping using animal skin are also used. Households used varying methods of preserving meat-even those within the same community. Both Nongoma and Jozini community have a common preservation method. However, preservation of chevon by river salt is only known in Nongoma community. Indigenous preservation methods are greatly influenced by availability of resources and purpose of storage. Furthermore, an experiment was conducted to compare indigenous preservation methods on chevon quality. Fifteen clinically healthy one-year-old Nguni wethers were used. Five preservation methods used were tested. These were (1) Pre-boiling with water (PWT), (2) Pre-boiling with river salt (PRS), (3) Pre-boiling with common salt (PST), (4) Pre-boiling with double salting (PSS) and (5) Storage without boiling and salting (NBS). The chevon was kept for up to four days at room temperature. The untreated meat (NBS) spoiled faster (P<0.05) than preboiled chevon. Changes of meat colour to green was considered to be the best indicator of the meat becoming unfavourable for household consumption. Colour was significantly influenced by the indigenous preservation method used (P< 0.05). Storage of chevon without pre-boiling and salting (NBS) turned green earlier than preboiled chevon followed by pre-boiling chevon with water (PWT) and river salt (PRS). Unpleasant smell, larvae production and manifestation of maggots and rancidity were all differed (P< 0.001) with preservation method used. Storage of chevon without pre-boiling and salting developed unpleasant smell and became rancid faster than pre-boiled chevon. In addition, dryness also varied with the preservation method used (P<0.05). The PSS method led to the least levels of spoilage. It was concluded that pre-boiling with double salting were the most effective in inhibiting chevon spoilage by providing an unsuitable environment for microbial growth. Furthermore, the addition of river salt had little effect of reducing chevon spoilage. Combining indigenous and modern preservation method was suggested to enhance chevon preservation and for resource limited households, use of pre-boiling with double salt was recommended as an ideal method.