Natural casing

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Fine Lyoner in natural casing

The real intestine of an animal, which is used, for example, as a sausage casing , is called a natural casing - to distinguish it from artificial casing . It can come from beef , pork or sheep , but also from other farm animals . According to the origin, the natural intestine is also referred to with different terms, so the intestines from beef are also called wreath, butt and middle intestines as well as fat end ; porcine narrow intestine , Butte , Krause intestine (in cattle and sheep missing), AfterEnd or fat end , and the sheep Saitling , Butt intestine , midgut or fat end .


In preparation, after the animal has been slaughtered, the intestines are turned, cleaned, freed from the muscle layer and mucous membrane and scalded. Casing sorting devices are used to determine the different diameters. For preservation during storage, the intestines are salted dry or soaked in brine.


Depending on the type of sausage , different sections of the intestine are preferred by different animals:

  • Beef intestines, such as wreath, butt and midgut as well as fat ends , are suitable as a casing for high-quality raw , cooked and scalded sausages of larger diameter, where the intestine is not eaten.
  • The corresponding, slightly smaller cuts of pork hot close intestines , Butte , Krause intestine (in cattle and sheep missing), AfterEnd and fat end .
  • The zartesten (most expensive) intestines come from sheep, there is the corresponding to the ring casing or narrow section of the intestine sheep casing , out of it traditionally strings produced that further re Butt intestine , midgut and fat end . Saitlinge are mainly used for thin boiled sausages such as Frankfurter and Wiener Würstchen or Nürnberger Rostbratwurst and Pfefferbeißer , which are consumed with intestines. The fat end - the last section of the intestine - usually serves as a casing for liver or blood sausage .

In the music sector, natural casings from sheep and cattle are used by the string maker to make strings for plucked and bowed instruments. Primarily these strings are used in historical performance practice .


Today most of the sheep intestines (string) come from China (decreasing), Turkey (increasing) and other oriental countries. The qualities are very different in terms of the lengths, (wall) thicknesses and other properties of the casings. So it is e.g. B. There is a big difference in production, whether sausages are made from 2 or 5 meter casings. The time required to change the casing is greater with short pieces of casing, and the waste is also greater because the remaining lengths (the last sausage of a casing strand) more often do not correspond to the minimum size of the sausage with shorter casings than with longer casings.

Comparison of natural and artificial casings

Natural casing has different chemical and mechanical properties than comparable plastic products . The main difference, however, is that it is better suited for preservation processes such as smoking and drying . It is therefore used to produce over 50% of German sausage products. The natural casing, which consists mainly of collagen and is therefore air-permeable, contributes to the development of the aroma ;


Already in the 3rd millennium BC Natural casing was used in Persia , both as an aid for cooking meat dishes and for building swimming belts for soldiers. Even today, Iran, as a sheep-breeding nation, is one of the most important countries of origin for natural casings, primarily for cheesecloth. In the Middle Ages and up to the 18th century, sheep intestines tied on one side were also used as a contraceptive ( condom ).

Web links

Wiktionary: Natural casing  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Figure "Schafsdarmkondom" in: Frauendusche und Schafsdarmkondom: The history of contraception, Spiegel-online , February 25, 2013.