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Image:Pork dsc06559.jpg
Two halves of a pig being delivered

Pork is the meat taken from pigs. It is one of the most common meats consumed by people.


[edit] History of pork

The pig is one of the oldest forms of livestock, having been domesticated as early as 5000 BC [1]. It is believed to have been domesticated either in the Near East or in China from the Wild Boar. The adaptable nature and omnivorous diet of the Wild Boar allowed early humans to domesticate it much earlier than many other forms of livestock, such as cattle. Pigs were mostly used for food, but people also used their hide for shields, their bones for tools and weapons, and their bristles for brushes.

Prior to the mass-production and re-engineering of pork in the 20th Century, pork in Europe and North America was traditionally a Fall dish; pigs coming to the slaughter in the Fall after growing in the spring and fattening during the summer. Due to the Fall nature of pork in Western culinary history, apples (harvested in late Summer and Fall) have been a staple pairing to fresh pork. The year-round availablity of meat and fruits has not diminished the popularity of this combination on Western plates.

[edit] Pork consumption patterns

Image:Pork .JPG
A traditional Austrian pork dish, served with potato croquettes, vegetables, mushrooms and gravy
Pork is the most widely eaten meat in the world, providing about 38 percent of daily meat protein intake worldwide, although consumption varies widely from place to place.[2] This is despite religious restrictions on the consumption of pork and the prominence of red meat (beef and lamb) industries in the West. Pork consumption has been rising for thirty years, both in actual terms and in terms of meat-market share.
[edit] Pork-consuming nations
Food energy from pork per day per capita
    cal kJ
1Austria352.8 1477
2Switzerland349.6 1464
3Finland343.2 1437
4China331.8 1389
5France301.6 1263
6Spain296.3 1241
7Denmark293.5 1229
8Poland267.7 1121
9FR Yugoslavia264.3 1107
10Germany247.1 1035
Source: FAOstat database [3], data for 2002.

As Western cultures tend to eat more meat, the highest consumption records may overstate the significance of pork in a diet. The significance of pork requires a measure of proportion: for instance, the percentage of meat protein contributed by pork; or the percentage of dietary calories provided by pork. As an example, pork represents more than 70% of daily protein intake in Vietnam and Korea.

[edit] Pork cuts and products

Pork may be cooked from fresh meat or cured over time. Cured meat products include ham and bacon. The carcass may be utilized in many different ways for fresh meat cuts, with the popularity of certain cuts and certain carcass proportions varying worldwide.

[edit] Fresh meat

Most of the carcass can be used to produce fresh meat and in the case of a suckling pig the whole body of a young pig ranging in age from two to six weeks is roasted.

[edit] Cuts of pork

There are different systems of naming for cuts in America, Britain and France.

  • Head - This can be used to make brawn, stocks and soups. After boiling the ears can be fried or baked and eaten separately.
  • Spare Rib Roast/Spare Rib Joint /Blade shoulder - This is the shoulder and contains the shoulder blade. It can be boned out and rolled up as a roasting joint, or cured as "collar bacon". Not to be confused with the rack of spare ribs from the front belly.
  • Hand - This can be cured on the bone to make a ham, or used in sausages.
Hormel Pork Loin Fillets
  • Loin - This can be cured to give back bacon. The loin and belly can be cured together to give a side of bacon. The loin can also be divided up into roasting joints and pork chops.
  • Belly/Side - The belly, although a fattier meat, can be used for steaks or diced stir-fry meat. Belly pork may be rolled for roasting or cut for streaky bacon.
  • Legs/Hams - Although any cut of pork can be cured, technically speaking only the back leg is entitled to be called a ham. Legs and shoulders, when used fresh, are usually cut bone-in for roasting, or leg steaks can be cut from the bone.
  • Trotters - Both the front and hind trotters can be cooked and eaten, as can the tail<ref name="pork">Hugh Fearnley Wittingstall. "The River cottage cookbook", Harper Collins.</ref>
  • Pork ribs are taken from the pig's ribs and the meat surrounding the bones.

[edit] Processed pork

Pork is particularly common as an ingredient of sausages. Many traditional European sausages are made with pork, including chorizo, fuet, and salami. Pork may also be used as a cheap ingredient in supermarket sausages.

Ham and bacon are made from fresh pork by curing with salt (pickling) and/or smoking. Shoulders and legs are most commonly cured in this manner for ham whereas streaky and round bacon usually comes from the loin, although it may also come from the side and belly.

Ham and bacon are popular foods in the west, and their consumption has increased with industrialisation. Non-western cuisines also use preserved meat products. For example, salted preserved pork or red roasted pork is used in Chinese and Asian cuisine.

[edit] Use of the whole carcass

In order to utilise the whole carcass ("everything but the squeal"), parts of the pig such as knuckle, pig's feet ("trotters"), chitterlings (pork intestines), and hog jowls may be eaten. In earlier centuries in the United States some of these products figured prominently in the traditional diets of poor Southerners (see soul food). Scrapple and McRib are other examples of aggregate pork products.

Feijoada, the national dish of Brazil, is prepared with pork trimmings: ears, tail and feet.

[edit] Nutrition

Image:No-carb pork.jpg
A pack of Tesco diced pork with the reminder that pork contains 'no carbs'

Because of its high myoglobin content, pork is red before cooking, although it becomes lighter as it is cooked. According to the USDA, pork is considered a red meat, because it contains more myoglobin than white meat such as fish and chicken<ref>http://www.fsis.usda.gov/OA/pubs/pork.htm</ref>. Pork is very high in thiamin.

Despite the traditional definition of pork as a red meat, in 1987 the National Pork Board in the US began an advertising campaign to position pork as "the other white meat" due to a public perception of chicken and turkey (white meat) as more healthful than red meat. The campaign was highly successful and resulted in 87% of consumers identifying pork with the slogan. As of 2005, the slogan is still used in marketing pork today, with some variations<ref>http://www.nytimes.com/2005/03/04/business/media/04adco.html?ex=1114056000&en=bda7c3a2f4a7c663&ei=5070</ref>.

The consumption of raw or undercooked pork may lead to Trichinosis, though this is rare in the developed world.

[edit] Pork consumption and religion

Throughout the Islamic world, many countries severely restrict the importation or consumption of pork products. Examples are Iran,[4] Mauritania<ref>http://www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/report-en.asp?country=180000</ref>, Oman<ref>http://www.smarttraveller.gov.au/zw-cgi/view/Advice/Oman</ref>, Qatar<ref>http://www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/report-en.asp?country=244000</ref> and Saudi Arabia<ref>http://www.voyage.gc.ca/dest/ctry/map-en.asp?country=25800</ref>.

Pork is one of the best-known of a category of foods that are forbidden under traditional Jewish dietary law. The biblical basis for the Jewish prohibition of pork is in Leviticus 11:7[5].

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[edit] References


[edit] Internal links

[edit] External links

de:Schweinefleisch es:Carne de cerdo ja:豚肉 nrm:Lard pl:Wieprzowina ru:Свинина simple:Pork sv:Fläskkött zh:豬肉


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