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How much homemade curing salt to use will depend on the weight and thickness of the meat. What’s up with celery powder in “nitrate free” bacon, ham, etc…? If you want to cure meat without the pure synthesized form of sodium nitrite, the naturally occurring nitrate in celery can be used. Remove the pork belly from the refrigerator and rinse thoroughly with cool water. Herbs and spices may be added to the mix for additional tenderizing and flavoring. She has written for numerous magazines, including Natural Living Today, Real Woman, The Herb Quarterly, Your Health, American Fitness, Mother Earth News, Better Nutrition and Natural Pharmacy, and her books are published in seven languages. Rub the spice mixture over the pork belly, taking care to cover every bit of surface on all sides. 20 whole garlic cloves, lightly crushed with side of a knife. Place the pork belly in the refrigerator on a rack or baking sheet. Your local butcher may be able to supply you with vacuum pack bags. As with the dry curing method, brine curing takes place in the refrigerator. This method involves either completely submerging the meat in the brine solution – a weight may be necessary to keep it down – or the brine is injected into the meat with an injector pump, a large perforated needle with holes to release the brine. Some people prefer to invest in a small refrigerator to use exclusively for curing meats. If you have the time, space and inclination, go for it. Styled after what humans hunted and gathered during the Paleolithic era, the diet relies largely on fish, meats and game. As a general guideline, plan to use 3 to 5 percent curing salt of the total weight of the meat, and as much as 6 to 10 percent for whole hams. The National Center for Home Food Preservation: Curing and Smoking Meats for Home Food Preservation. Pat dry with a cloth towel. Stir to mix. Like porkprosciutto, it is sliced paper thin and enjoyed wrapped around slices of peach, melon or fig. So, the benefit to sodium nitrate-cured meats is a reduced risk of food spoilage and, most notably, a longer shelf life. The latter method is commonly used for large cuts. It's also worth mentioning that some people are sensitive to nitrates in cured meats and may experience adverse reactions, such as migraines. As mentioned above, green vegetables contain nitrates. The brine consists of curing salt and water to make a liquid solution sometimes referred to as the sweet pickle cure. Cut a pork belly into manageable chunks of around 3-5 lb, trimmed of loose bits, and squared it off. Is it possible to cure meat without sodium nitrate? Smoking. Total Time: 5 to 6 days | Prep Time: 30 minutes |. The trend also put bacon back on the menu, which is usually chemically processed. Make a mixture of (by weight) of 2.5 parts salt (kosher adheres very nicely), 1 part sugar, then add a generous grind of black pepper. If possible, have them trim it to uniform size and remove the rind, or skin. Chicken truffle sausage is seasoned with garlic, spices, truffles and truffle oil and is suitable for grilling, roasting or pan frying. The dry curing method is used to preserve small cuts of meat, such as bacon and small hams. The curing salt is applied to the surface of the meat and then placed in the refrigerator in a sealed bag. Using a long, sharp knife, cut the pork belly into bacon strips as thin or as thick as you like. In fact, some leafy greens and root vegetables may contain up to 1900 parts per million of sodium nitrate, which is converted into sodium nitrite when it meets the saliva in your mouth. The claim to be made “without nitrates or nitrites” is a marketing ploy, and the use of celery or beet juice is the FDA loophole that allows them to make that erroneous claim. Discard any unused portion. This allows manufactures to label their products with the phrase, "no nitrates added.". Return the pork belly to the refrigerator for another 24 hours before slicing into strips. 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely cracked. With Advice from Uncle Hall and the great book Charcuterie by Ruhlman & Polcyn. It is also used to reduce moisture content, creating a hostile environment for botulism-causing bacteria. Here are a few alternatives to consider that are made by many artisan producers without the use of nitrates: Karyn is a seasoned herbalist, book author, columnist and freelance writer who specializes in holistic living and natural health. The food industry widely uses sodium nitrate to add flavor and red or pink coloring to bacon, ham, hot dogs and other meats. Let rest there for four days. But this isn't limited to just pork ham and bacon or beef pepperoni. You may also tightly seal and freeze uncooked bacon for up to three months. In a medium bowl, combine all ingredients until well-blended. Once the meat is rubbed with the dry curing mix, place it in a well-sealed bag in the refrigerator for three days for every pound of the meat. For best results, use sea salt – never table salt – or pure dried vacuum salt, which has been vacuum-dried and sealed without the use of anti-caking agents. Why Conventional Bacon Is Unhealthy. After cooking, allow the meat to rest on a rack and baking sheet until cooled to room temperature. While the process certainly allowed our ancestors to store preserved foods to ensure a source of protein during the winter months, we can appreciate the results in a bite of spicy, chewy pepperoni or chorizo sausage. If there is any remaining cure mix in the jar, cap it and store in a cool dry place for another use. Wrap the meat in parchment and place in the refrigerator overnight. This water soluble compound is not born in a test tube, but is found in abundance in plants. Total Time: 15 minutes | Prep Time: 5 minutes |. Sodium nitrate and nitrite are common food preservatives used by manufacturers on processed meat like conventional bacon. As for hot dogs, bacon and other products on the market reputed to be nitrate-free or uncured, these are actually meats that have been processed with a natural ingredient that contains a lot of sodium nitrate, like celery, to produce the same effect. This recipe makes enough cure for five pounds of pork belly. If necessary, place a marble cutting board or other weight on top of the meat to keep it covered with the brine. Yes. For this reason, some home butchers prefer to use curing salt without nitrates. Ingredients: 1/2 cup sea salt 1/2 cup raw cane sugar 1 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely cracked 1 teaspoon grated nutmeg 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon This recipe makes enough to brine cure a six-to-eight pound bone-in ham. Duck prosciutto is made from Moulard ducks and is dry cured. The possible combinations are endless, but here are a few to start experimenting with: It takes a bit of time to brine ham without nitrates, but the end result is well worth the effort. There are three methods to cure meats without adding sodium nitrate: dry curing, brine curing and combination curing. Allow the ham to continue to air-dry in the refrigerator on a rack for another 24 hours before cooking. Note that the ideal temperature in which to cure meat is between 36 F and 40 F, which is the average temperature of home kitchen refrigerators. Pour out the portion needed into a small bowl and apply to the surface of the meat with fingers. In fact, some world-class hams like Italian prosciutto and Spanish Jamon Iberico are cured with just sea salt (sodium chloride) and air. The size, type of meat and final product desired will make a difference in just how long to age, but the common goal is to dehydrate the meat by anywhere from 12 percent to more than 30 percent. Humans have been preserving foods for thousands of years, an achievement that likely allowed nomadic tribes to settle securely in one place with a ready supply of food, rather than wander from place-to-place with the seasons to hunt continuously. Dry Cured Bacon. Place the meat in the container. Some people prefer other types of meats based on personal preference or religious grounds. In recent years, there has been a resurgence in primitive eating, or what has come to be known as the Paleo Diet. Alternatively, cook it in a smoker at 175 F for about three hours, or until it reaches an internal temperature of 150 F. Sometimes, it's desirable to age cured meats to enhance their texture and taste. Curing Bacon and Ham without Nitrates Which method to choose. Karyn also blogs for Mother Earth Living. Be sure the meat is entirely submerged before replacing the lid. By definition, a meat that has been cured technically means that it has been preserved by introducing sodium nitrate, a naturally occurring salt and antioxidant. This is not always practical for the average home-cured meat enthusiast to do, however, since it involves a dedicated space with specialized exhaust fans and other equipment that carefully monitor and control humidity, temperature and air circulation for long periods of time. For this nitrate-free bacon recipe you'll need to obtain a whole pork belly from your local butcher or an organic farm. You can also use this recipe to brine ham without nitrates – just cover the meat with water after rubbing the spice mixture onto its surface. Brine-cured meats are preserved for a shorter time, and also are ready to eat sooner. On the other hand, the Mayo Clinic cautions that consuming high levels of sodium nitrate may damage blood vessels and impair glucose utilization, increasing the risk of developing heart disease and diabetes. After curing, the meat may be cooked or frozen for future use. Nitrite, on the other hand, is an antioxidant that prevents cured meat from browning. Using a large canning jar, combine the salt and sugar. Makin' bacon... how to cure and smoke bacon without nitrates I put this popular tutorial in my free e-book, together with two additional tutorials on homesteading. Remove ham from brine and rinse well with cool water to remove all trace of salt; lightly pat dry with a cloth towel. The Spruce Eats: Facts About Sodium Nitrate and Sodium Nitrite, Small Footprint Family: How to Cure Bacon at Home, A Web Experience brought to you by LEAFtv, How to Cook With a Smithfield Pork Tenderloin, How to Make Deer Jerky in a Food Dehydrator. The question of safety of this compound has been questioned in recent years, although studies conducted by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services indicate that the levels of sodium nitrate used in cured meats meet industry guidelines for safety. 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