Friday, December 12, 2008

Officially Over

Eid is officially over for me now. I've finished making the gadeed, which is a kind of jerky or preserved meat. I make it every year (and sometimes twice a year). It's really not that difficult and once it's made it will last unrefrigerated for a year or more. It never stays that long in my house because the kids go in and help themselves. Jenna in particular likes to snack on gadeed. 

It's fairly easy to make. First you take the meat and cut it - opening it up as though you were filleting a fish so that the pieces of meat are flat and no more than a centimeter in thickness. You can also dry the fat from the sheep's tail in the same way. This is useful because you wont have to use as much oil in the final process of preservation. When you get the meat all cut you add salt and oil. It doesn't take that much salt - I think I used about a cup of salt for 20 kilos of meat. You can also add red and black pepper, turmeric, garlic and vinegar if you like. Mix all this up with the meat so that it's evenly coated. 

The prepared meat is then hung on a clothesline or rack to dry taking care that the line is high enough so that cats or other animals can't get to it. You'll have to check the meat from time to time, turning it so that it dries evenly. Flies avoid the meat if it has enough salt and oil on it so if you notice that it seems to be attracting flies sprinkle it with a bit of salt and oil. If the meat seems a bit thicker and drying slower in some areas you can cut it open with a knife and add a bit of salt.

It should take a few days to dry, depending on the weather. Once it's dry  remove it from the line and cut it into usable sized pieces. Rinse the meat under clean running water to remove any dust and drain off any remaining water. Put the meat in a large cooking pot and heat it over a medium high heat until the water evaporates. Then add oil until it's nearly covered. Lamb tends to be quite high in fat so you will need less oil. Use a large wooden spoon to move the meat and make sure it's not sticking to the bottom of the pot.

Boil the meat in the oil until the fat just starts to turn golden. Then remove the pot from the heat. It will continue to cook because it's still hot and bubbling. 

Strain the meat and place into enameled pots or ceramic or glass containers. Remove any of the pieces of fat if you like. Then pour the oil over the meat to cover it. Don't cover the pot until it has cooled completely. 

Store covered at room temperature. Make sure to use a clean, dry, slotted spoon to remove meat from the pot. It should last approximately a year. When you cook with the meat make sure to adjust the salt and other seasonings. Remember that you only need a small amount of meat when you cook because once liquids are added to it it will reconstitute and expand.

Anyone that has another method - click on comments and let us have it!


  1. some of the libyan ladies here in the uk dry there gadeed on radiaters in there homes! due to the fact that we are not blessed with the sunshine that libya is blessed with.

    i think they put foil first on the radiator, and not the meat directly on the radiator lol

  2. MMM, this is the kind of post that makes me want to be in Libya even more. Thanks for sharing the recipe, I'll try to find a kind soul willing to try; or maybe try it myself.
    Hope you had pleasant Eid celebrations!

  3. Thanks for the detail in preparing gadeed. Things like this interest me. Is gadeed prepared for a specific reason, like you did for the end of eid?


  4. Mmmmh, gadeed = best libyan food! We stop the procedure after the meat is dry and store it in the freezer. You can use it like ordinary meat, we like it the most cutted in small pieces and fried in a pan together with eggs.

  5. Thanks KT for this, you make it sound so easy, I might try it...

  6. My mom dries the meat in the same manner you do but doesnt add any oil. Just the salt and spices. After it dries, she fries it (which kills anything that may have got to it) and stores it in plastic storage containers. Once again, no oil involved. It stays good for a long while!!


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