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What is Tasso and Why You Should Learn About it

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Published: 9th of February, 2023 by Patrick Carpen

Last updated: February 29, 2024 at 15:30 pm

If modern technologies such as electricity and refrigerators disappeared tomorrow, would humans survive? The answer to that question is the reason we need to master preservation techniques, and here’s one you should know. Normally, beef has to be refrigerated in order to be kept for more than 12 hours, but tasso is a ground breaking invention from Guyana’s indigenous peoples that can last for months without refrigeration…in addition to being extremely delicious.

I had a hard time choosing a title for this article. Before coming up with the title above, I had narrowed down to the following options:

  • What is tasso?
  • Tasso – a Gift from Guyana’s Indigenous Population
  • Tasso – Dried, Salted Meat that Needs No Refrigeration
  • Tasso – Salted and Sun Dried Meat that Lasts for Ages

Tasso is all of the above and more. It is a delicacy which can be prepared in a variety of ways, and we’ll explore some of the ways the indigenous peoples of Region 9 and neighboring Brazil utilize this amazing beef preparation.

Tasso is a high protein food product which is made by slicing beef into thin layers, salting it thoroughly and drying it in the sun for four to five days. After five days of drying, the salted beef, the tasso, is said to be “cured” and then carries a long shelf life. While the precise shelf life of tasso has never been scientifically determined, most people whom I’ve interviewed in the Rupununi say that tasso can last for up to six months without refrigeration.

Rupununi Pioneer, Yimochi Melville holds up a cut of tasso.

So how is tasso eaten? In neighboring Brazil and in some parts of Region 9, the tasso is shredded and mixed with farine to create another food product called “passoca.” Since both tasso and farine have long shelf life, the passoca can also stay unrefrigerated for months. If you travel to Brazil, you can find passoca being sold in small plastic dishes at food shops across the country. Passoca is reputed to be a nutritious snack which can keep you feeling full for hours while providing you with the energy you need for your daily activities.

People of Region 9 also fry the tasso with onions and seasoning and eat it with farine as shown in the photo below.

Everyone may have their own ideas about how to cook and eat tasso, and innovate recipes can be created. However, here are some suggestions we received from people who know about it.

  • Spread seasoning, pepper, and thyme on the tasso and roast, then eat it with cassava bread.
  • Cook it into soups and stews.
  • Make beef jerky (Guyanese style).
  • Cook it into coconut milk cookup.
  • Cook it and eat it with “shine rice.”

Do you have any recipes for cooking and eating tasso? If so, please tell us in the comments.

If you would like to purchase tasso, please browse our directory of Rupununi products to find a supplier.

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