Ssmil was a sheep or goat skin used to store and cure sheep, goat or camel milk. The animal was beheaded, eviscerated and deboned from the neck to the hindquarters. The skin was filled with dates and salt, and buried in the ground for one day, which made removing the hair easier. The skin was then boiled with dried pomegranates and desert plants, and left to soak for a day to remove odors. It was then turned inside out, and one end was stitched together; the other end was only partially stitched so milk could be poured inside.

The ssmil could be used to store milk for an indefinite time or hung from a tripod where it doubled as a type of butter churn. The milk- filled hide was rocked back and forth until the cream rose to the top so that it could be removed and used as butter. The milk was also boiled down and fashioned by hand into small cakes called yigit when dried. These cakes could be reconstituted with water or dates.

Jerba, similar in design but larger than ssmil, were used to haul and store water. Eacka (dhub, desert lizard), were skins used to hold oil (adani) and butter.

 

 

 

 

 

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