The mutton, usually in the form of shanks or legs (kjógv in Faroese), is allowed to hang in a so-called hjallur, a drying shed ventilated by the wind, for five to nine months. It has a specially strong smell which may upset those who are not accustomed to it. The hanging process covers three stages or hjeldene, each causing the meat to have different consistencies, smells and tastes. The first, visnaður occurs after just a few days but lamb and mutton are not eaten after such a short period. The second stage, ræstur, is of less predictable length provides dried meat suitable for eating without cooking. In reaching the final stage, turrur, cold weather can on occasion virtually eliminate the typical smell with a resulting weakening of taste. If however the weather is warm and wet during the first period, the fermentation process can cause the meat to decay, giving it a taste that is too strong. There can therefore be variations in taste from year to year but without any major problems. A much more serious problem is the effect of flies. For this reason, the drying sheds used to be placed next to streams or the sea in order to diminish the arrival of flies.
When the skerpikjøt is ready, it is cut into thin slices and eaten on rye bread in the form of an open sandwich.
- Jóan Pauli Joensen, "Færøsk madkultur: En oversigt", Granskingar ráðið, The Faroese Research Council. (Danish) Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "Kjøt". Imgur.com. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
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