Only Jakob’s sassermaet labelled Native Shetland Kye (pictured) is on Slow Food’s International Ark of Taste. This is a unique preserved meat product that is made from one Shetland Kye at a time, on Shetland, using the cheaper cuts efficiently to create a wonderfully delicious product. The Shetland Kye, as well as the sassermaet is on the Ark of Taste. To the uninitiated it may look like ordinary sausage meat but there the similarity ends! It is the meat dish ex-pat Shetlanders crave. The smell and sizzle of sassermaet brunnies frying in a pan at teatime is sheer nostalgia. This all-in-one meal was eaten with fried eggs and floury bannocks by generations of youngsters keen to get back outside to play on long Summer nights.
Kye would be slaughtered during the colder winter months to ensure the fresh meat could be kept as long as possible. In olden days the only means of preservation of meats was air-drying in skeos, salting in barrels and lightly salting the trimmings. This is where sassermaet was important as this dealt with all the meat trimmings, which otherwise have been lost as food.
Jakob Eunson of Uradale Farm, an organic farm on Shetland with Ark of Taste Shetland Kye & Native Shetland Lamb wanted to investigate the old recipes for sassermaet as it had become unheard of on his home isle. The mass-produced sliced sausagemeat product found on Scottish breakfast tables known as Lorne sausage was being confused with sassermaet and it was time to set the record straight! Mass-produced sausagemeat will contain at best cross-bred animals and often with both beef & pork mixed through.
The folk of Shetland adore his traditional product and Jakob is kept busy in the cutting room preparing this delicacy. It is made each time when one Shetland Kye is processed (by Jakob, who is a qualified butcher too). It is neither a mix of animals nor of breeds, and the Shetland Kye itself is rare.
What does it taste like? It is deliciously moist, a little salt and has the wonderful beefy flavours of the Shetland Kye. For a humble meat product made from trimmings once the more expensive cuts have been set aside, the taste is wonderful because the meat from which it is made is such a high quality too. Only available in shops on Shetland or click on email to find out how it could be posted to you.