Why use Cure #2 in UMAi Dry aging.

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Thewitt
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Why use Cure #2 in UMAi Dry aging.

Post by Thewitt » Sat Feb 02, 2019 23:10

I have made several dry aged products now with the UMAi Dry process, and I really enjoy the results. Everything has worked very well, but the more I do it, the more this one question bothers me.

The UMAi Dry recipes use Cure #2.

Cure #2 includes both Sodium Nitrite (at the same level as Cure #1) and Sodium Nitrate for a long term, timed release of more Sodium Nitrite.

The question I have is this. Since we are aging these meat products in a standard refrigerator at below 40F, why are we using Cure #2? Sodium Nitrate needs active bacteria to release Sodium Nitrite, and that bacteria is dormant at this temperature.

Doesn't this mean the end product will still have the same level of Sodium Nitrate as it started with, since none of it would convert in the refrigerator?

Should we just be using Cure #1 instead?

Is there any real risk of the residual Sodium Nitrate in the finished product?
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Bob K
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Post by Bob K » Sun Feb 03, 2019 14:17

Good question, You simply don't need #2. Almost all UMAI salamis are done within 4-5 weeks and as you stated refrigerated.

I believe the reason for UMAI recommending using #2 is that they just copy the Marianski or other salami recipes that are dried traditionally.

As far as the residual nitrate, not to worry, there is probably more nitrate in a stick of celery or a mouthful of spinach.

It is residual S.Nitrite that is the reason the health nuts are sounding off the alarm.
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Post by Thewitt » Sun Feb 03, 2019 18:08

Thanks for the clarification.

What about the risk of nitrosamines as a result of cooking anything that was cured and left Sodium Nitrate behind?

The literature on this actually doesn't seem to blame nitrates for nitrosamines in food, but seems to blame nitrites instead. Marianski's book references the presence in nitrates in bacon as a potential for creating nitrosamines, which would be the case if you were to cure bacon with Cure #2.

As a I read the reason we moved AWAY from nitrates for curing bacon it was not due to the creation of nitrosamines, but was related to the inconsistent way that nitrates released nitrites and the advent of commercially available nitrites allowing for a consistent cold temperature cure.
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Post by Devo » Sun Feb 03, 2019 20:08

I am really surprised that there is not more comments on this very interesting subject. I would have thought at least our Redzed or one of our polish experts would have piped in by now :mrgreen:
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Post by Bob K » Mon Feb 04, 2019 14:54

Thewitt wrote:What about the risk of nitrosamines as a result of cooking anything that was cured and left Sodium Nitrate behind?
This has been discussed elsewhere but the bottom line is to not burn/overcook cured meats and there is little chance of producing nitrosamines.
You can also add cure accelerators like sodium ascorbate or sodium erythorbate to reduce residual nitrite.

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fs ... ety/ct_ind About Bacon but discusses nitrosamines


http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/viewtopic.ph ... trosamines
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Post by StefanS » Mon Feb 04, 2019 20:18

or one of our polish experts would have piped in by now
I'm not expert but would like to "piped in".
Really do not know any of mentioned recipes for UMAI Dry aging. IMO - using Cure #2 depends on recipes (ingredients, process). There are possibilities that recipes called for Cure #2 may have some of processing steps favored growing Nitrate reductase bacteria. BUT again - it is only my guessing. From my experience there isn't major reason for using Nitrate at all in curing. Any way - curing required hours (mince - not whole muscles) to be done. Nitrate reductase bacteria even in lower temperatures like in refrigerator is not growing/multiplying, but it not mean that present bacteria is not doing job (in slower pace)
Thewitt wrote:Doesn't this mean the end product will still have the same level of Sodium Nitrate as it started with, since none of it would convert in the refrigerator?
. No - False. Any way - most of curing is done in refrigerator -(4-6 *C).
Also keep in mind that in time and in presence of oxygen - Nitrites also oxidizes to Nitrate again.
It is very complex process and not only bacteria is involved, there are enzymes, there pH, water, etc.
About nitrosamines - there are very specific requirements for formation of nitrosamines.
-High residual amount of nitrites processed in high temperatures (above 170* C)
- acidic environmental like in stomach
-presence of specific amines like -secondary amines (amino acids derived from proteins)
These kind of nitrosamines are cancinogenic - but - we do not know exactly if it is true.
On another hand - we are taking nitrates and nitrites in much higher amount in different foods - like mentioned by BobK. Drinking water or your own saliva contains much more nitrites/nitrates than cured meats.
Here is very interesting article on that subject - https://meatscience.org/publications-re ... hite-paper
another one - Meat Science 120 (2016) pages - 85-92 - Dietetary nitrate and nitrite: Benefits, risks and evolving perceptions.
You really do not need worry about nitrites/nitrates level in meat. (if processed in allowed by laws levels).
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Post by Butterbean » Tue Feb 05, 2019 17:49

StefanS wrote:
Mon Feb 04, 2019 20:18

You really do not need worry about nitrites/nitrates level in meat. (if processed in allowed by laws levels).
I agree. This whole nitrate scare has been blown way out of proportion. Nitrates are nitrates whether they are in meat or vegetables. We consume them on a regular basis. We make them in our mouths. They, like pure salt, can be hazardous to your health. Stir fried vegetables are filled with them. Should we stop eating that? Moderation is key to everything. You don't want to overuse them but they are not the threat some would have you believe. If they were truly the threat some would have you believe you could not sell nitrate/ite free bacon as it has been shown to have nitrate levels 10 times that which is allowed by law for regular conventionally cured bacon but due to semantics its perfectly legal to sell. So like Stefan said, you really don't need to worry about them as long as you don't go getting stupid with them.
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Re: Why use Cure #2 in UMAi Dry aging.

Post by redzed » Tue Feb 12, 2019 07:36

Thewitt, that is a very good and important question. I commented on the use of #2 recently on another forum. In my view, it is absolutely unnecessary to use it when drying products in Tublin bags in the refrigerator. And while I agree with the other responses that the amount of ingoing nitrate is minimal and way below the prescribed government levels, why add it if you don't have to? If you are fermenting the salami there will be some conversion of the nitrate to nitrite at the higher temps, but that will stop once the salami is at refrigerator temp. In curing in warmer temps the nitrate reductive bacteria convert it to nitrite and then the nitrite is converted to nitric oxide. The idea of using #2 which contains nitrite and nitrate, is for the nitrate to act as an anti oxidant when curing for an extended period of time. The safety part of it, colour setting and so on are performed by the nitrite. Furthermore, a portion of the nitrite is first converted into nitrate and then back to nitrite. When curing in a chamber your meat is exposed to air all the time but when drying in an Umai bag that is not the case because any outside oxygen does not enter the Tublin bag. It is totally wrong to use #2 in the Umai process. The people who peddle the Tublin bags in North America have absolutely no idea about dry cured meats. Ask them to show you any studies that were made about the residual nitrate in their products after the drying period. The same goes for using starter cultures which contain Staphylococci bacteria. These are just as important in the process as the fermentative bacteria, but studies have shown that they become almost totally inactive at a temp of 10C and lower. So you are missing out on any benefits that they would have provided. The same applies to whole muscle cuts that rely on enzymatic activity in the two main processes, proteolysis and lyposis. At 3C very little of that occurs. I am not saying that one should not make anything in the Danish plastic bags. I have used them and had some very good results. But what we end up with is a dried meat product affected essentially by the added spices and aromatics. The funk and complexities are just not there.

What I would do if using #2 in these bags, would be to hang the salami or whole muscle cuts at intervals in warmer temps, like around 15C after the product has been cured and hanging in the fridge for a couple of weeks. So for a period you would hang it for 3-4 days at 15C, then 3-4 days back in the fridge and so on. That way the nitrates will be converted to nitrites, enzymatic activity will take place, Staphylococcus bacteria will become active and you will have a nitrate free product which will also taste better.
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Re: Why use Cure #2 in UMAi Dry aging.

Post by BagLady » Sat Mar 02, 2019 03:51

While we do not yet have a study demonstrating the degree of residual nitrate after dry curing in UMAi Dry, your assertion is false: "When curing in a chamber your meat is exposed to air all the time but when drying in an Umai bag that is not the case because any outside oxygen does not enter the Tublin bag."

The UMAi Dry membrane is significantly oxygen permeable, and does not serve as an oxygen barrier (aka vacuum) bag. This was proven in the earliest published academic studies dating back to 2005.

Thank you for the suggestion that we initiate further study with the charcuterie and salumi applications.
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Re: Why use Cure #2 in UMAi Dry aging.

Post by Bob K » Sat Mar 02, 2019 14:07

Baglady-
Great to hear from the folks a UMAi !
Could you also comment why you recommend a culture like T-SPX which is designed to be used for a long production traditional fermented sausage? A fast fermenting culture, formulated for shorter production time may be a better choice.
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