Pickling, Curing, Salting and Smoking … a primer for preserving food.

Greetings Carnivores,

I enjoy answering questions from people who have a particular meat puzzle. I sometimes hear from those of you who follow my Blog.

Today’s post is an answer (hopefully) for Teresa, regarding Curing salt.

I have been meaning to write about this topic but to be honest, I didn’t think it would make a very interesting read.

I guess I’ll leave it to you to decide whether or not I’ve hit the mark.

Here goes.

For thousands of years people have been Pickling, Curing, Salting, and Smoking their meat, fruit and vegetables as a way of preserving and prolonging it’s ‘normally’ very short shelf life. I fondly remember my Mom and Grandmother, every Summer and Fall ‘putting up’ the harvest veggies and fruit. Making jams, jellies and pickles of all shapes and sizes was a real event around our house back then.

Sadly, today’s family has little, if any time for this tradition. Modern techniques have all but seen this form of home preserving go the way of the Pterodactyl.

Pterodactyl

Just wanted to help you out with a visual here …

Salting meat and fish helps prevent microbial growth by drawing the cellular moisture out of the flesh, thereby retarding the natural spoilage timeline. The salts used in this process are usually a mixture of Sodium Chloride (common table salt), Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite. The Nitrate and Nitrite are both forms of “Pink Salt” and are coloured so they’re are not confused with the common ‘white’ table salt.

Including smoke as an additional preserving technique, adds chemicals (depending on what is being burned) to the exterior which further enhances preservation and adds a strong depth of flavour. There has been some concern in the past that certain chemicals released in smoke are carcinogenic but, as I like to say … “everything in moderation”.

Unless you eat smoked or BBQ’d food Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner … you’ll find these levels much lower than being exposed to tobacco smoke.

A few words about ‘Pink Salt’ aka, Himalayan salt or Prague powder #1 and #2.

Past studies have raised concern regarding both Nitrate and Nitrite … I refer you to the following:

http://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-and-nitrite-myth-another-reason-not-to-fear-bacon”

Don’t fear the Bacon people !!! 🙂

Up here in Canada, we’re famous for a particular treat, known around the world as, Canadian Back Bacon.

peameal-bacon

World famous, Peameal Canadian Back Bacon

It starts off as a boneless loin of Pork. It’s then injected and pickle cured in a strong brine of ‘Pink salt’ and water. This process makes the cut product a nice looking, pink colour but the outside of the loin has a rather unappealing grey hue. To fix this problem, the whole loin is rolled in peameal (Corn meal) for looks more than anything else, VOILA ! Peameal Canadian Back Bacon.

For those of you who would like to experiment at home making your own Sausages or Cured meats you’ll need to source out your ‘Pink salt’. Start with the ‘net’ … you’ll find LOTS of resources.

Until next time Carnivores stay hungry and as usual, please follow my posts on Twitter @DougieDee and like and share them on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/carnivoreconfidential

4 thoughts on “Pickling, Curing, Salting and Smoking … a primer for preserving food.

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