Why We Use Nitrites/Nitrate Cures and Starter Cultures

oneills
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Why We Use Nitrites/Nitrate Cures and Starter Cultures

Post by oneills » Sat Jun 29, 2013 11:00

Spent the last 4 days killing , butchering and preparation. Today was salami making day. With the help of my partners Italian boss we mixed all the ingredients together this morning. Left it to rest until this afternoon and with the help of a couple of others stuffed into casings and covered with netting.

5 lambs and 6 pigs hanging in cool room
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48.5 kg of pork minced through a 16 mm plate and mixed resting
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Everything ready to go
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49 finished salami weighing about 1.1 kg each
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Hanging in up in shed to cure
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Ok. Now for the secret ingredients:
48.5 kg free range pork minced through a 16 mm plate
1358 gr salt (2.8 %)
coarsely ground black pepper, approx 100 gr
sweet praprika, approx 120 gr
dried chilli flakes, to taste. We used approx 140 gr
3 jars sweet pepper sauce
2 jars hot pepper sauce

Mixed on a table and put into a tub until stuffing. Used sausage stuffer to fill 55 mm casings. Placed size 14 netting around salami and hung up in shed for about 8 weeks until ready
Last edited by oneills on Sun Dec 21, 2014 05:54, edited 5 times in total.
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Post by TSMODIE » Sat Jun 29, 2013 17:07

i did not see any use of a Cure in your recipe, did you use a cure? Tim
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Post by Chuckwagon » Sat Jun 29, 2013 17:50

Hi Oneills,
Please tell us that you used a nitrate cure... please! :mrgreen:

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
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Post by oneills » Sat Jun 29, 2013 19:03

There is no cure or cultures in this salami. This is made in the traditional Italian way with a precise amount of salt (2.8 %) and natural fermentation of the meat to make it safe to eat. We have the ideal climate at the moment for the natural curing of the salami without needing fridges etc

I also have some capocollo and half a loin curing at room temperature in salt at the moment. Will post pics once i have taken it out to hang up.

Cheers
oneills
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Post by crustyo44 » Sat Jun 29, 2013 20:59

Most of my Italian friends don't use any cure either in their salamis. Nothing has happened to them yet.
If only the smallest thing goes wrong, it's "Goodbye World".
Personally I think cure #2 is mandatory, especially where I live in a hot and humid climate.
Apart from that Oneill your salamis look great, especially the netting gives them an upmarket look.
Cheers,
Jan.
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Post by oneills » Sun Jun 30, 2013 03:58

Hi Jan

The main reason for the netting is to help with the curing, avoiding air pockets in salami as they dry. No nasty mould inside equals good salami. I watched a few Italian families and had help from a couple of elderly gents making it in exchange for a few salami. Also at this time of the year we have almost the perfect climate for salami making, with daily temps between 6 and 15 degrees celcius and humidity running between 60 and 85 %.

I am in the process of making a curing fridge so that I can cure meats at other times of they year as Summer and Auttum are too hot and dry around this area.
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Post by Divey » Sun Jun 30, 2013 07:57

I make Italian Salami at this time of the year with some Italian friends and they do not use a cure.
We use 100% Pork, salt at the rate of 30 grams per kilo, Capsicum sauce and Chili Sauce. Nothing else. We fry a small amount and taste it to get the Capsicum/Chili right and then stuff into 43mm middles.
The Salami is fantastic.

Must be an Australian/Italian thing.
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Post by crustyo44 » Sun Jun 30, 2013 08:58

Divey and Steve (Oneill)
Matter of fact, when I lived in Myrtleford, Victoria many years ago I also used to make
Salamis with Italian friends. Every saturday in May and part of June was salami day.
We only used salt and spices and NO cure. We are all still alive but I have changed my mind
with the trouble in Adelaide where some people died from commercial salamii without cure.
Cheers Guys,
Jan.
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Post by oneills » Sun Jun 30, 2013 22:08

I remember that incident. Used to love their salami. I was a bit suss about not using cure but after seeing the results and tasting the salami who am i to disagree. After all these guys have been doing it this way for hundreds of years
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Post by sawhorseray » Mon Jul 01, 2013 17:35

I'd think the lack of curing nitrites would be undetectable to taste, which makes things a little to iffy for me. Of course most of the people who are killed by wild mushrooms every year most likely thought they were delicious. I'll stick to doing my gambling in a casino, the only thing to lose there is money. RAY
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Post by sawhorseray » Mon Jul 01, 2013 17:36

By the way, your set-up and product look fantastic! RAY
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Post by Chuckwagon » Tue Jul 02, 2013 06:23

Hey Oneills, you wrote:
This is made in the traditional Italian way with a precise amount of salt (2.8 %) and natural fermentation of the meat to make it safe to eat.
In 2003, Dr. M. Ellin Doyle at the University of Wisconsin in Madison wrote trichinella spiralis is so resistant to salt that it takes 8 to 9 percent to kill the larva. Levels above about 4 per cent are not palatable to humans. Many dry-cured (raw) sausages are prepared with salt levels nearing 3-1/2 per cent because the higher salt volume controls pathogenic bacteria by "binding" the water (Aw) until the lactic acid bacteria has had a chance to work by competing with the pathogenic bacteria for sugar.

A couple of years ago, a new member wrote in and asked:
Do you guys freeze your pork to kill any possible trichinae before making salami or just take a chance and not worry about it?
Absolutely we freeze pork to kill any possible trichinae. But simple freezing will not destroy the microorganism. We must "Deep" Freeze meat - BELOW ZERO! Although the FSIS has done much to eradicate the disease by enforcing modified laws, especially after the mid 1970`s, there yet remain about 40 cases of trichinosis each year in the U.S. alone. Most of these cases stem from smaller farms yet feeding their stock the entrails of previously slaughtered pork and because it has not yet been completely alleviated and we must never take a chance or take it for granted that it couldn`t yet possibly affect our sausage making.

In North America, there are five known species of Trichinella. They are Trichinella spiralis, T. nativa, T. pseudospiralis, Trichinella T-5, and Trichinella T-6. The one we deal with most often in pork is trichinella spiralis. The other four occur mostly in game animals. Species T-5 is found mostly in bears and other wildlife in the eastern United States, while species T-6 is mostly in bears and other wildlife in the Northwestern United States. Species T. nativa is found in Alaska. Both T. nativa and Trichinella T-6 are resistant to freezing. Trichinella pseudospiralis has been reported infrequently from birds, but can infect pigs also.

You would be surprised at just how many people believe that simple freezing will destroy trichinella spiralis. Actually, the majority of people believe it, and that frightens me. I often think of the folks who shoot javelinas and think simply freezing the carcass will take care of trichinella spiralis. It absolutely will not! In fact, The Division of Infectious Disease, Department of Medicine, at Massachusetts General Hospital has concluded that "Smoking, salting, or drying meat are not reliable methods of killing the organism that causes this infection". Further, "Only freezing at subzero temperatures (Fahrenheit) for 3 to 4 weeks will kill the organism". If folks ever gazed into a microscope and saw the round nematode worm embedded far into human muscle tissue, they would surely think twice about proper sub-zero temperatures. The first time I saw the living microorganism beneath the microscope, I thought I'd lose my lunch! The thing that alarms me is that most people do not have the means of freezing meat at these cryogenic temperatures - so, they take the chance. Yet, if the pork has come from a reliable grocer rather than an "independent small farmer", you will be pretty much safe.

'Wanna get' really scared? Here's how the little buggers work: Trichinella cysts break open in the intestines and grow into adult roundworms whenever a person eats meat from an infected animal. These roundworms produce other worms that move through the stomach wall and into the bloodstream. From here, the organisms tend to invade muscle tissues, including the heart and diaphragm, lungs and brain. At this point, trichinosis becomes most painful.

But we can get rid of it right? Wrong! The medications Mebendazole or albendazole may be used to treat infections in the intestines, but once the larvae have invaded the muscles, there is no specific treatment for trichinosis and the cysts remain viable for years. Complications of the disease include encephalitis, heart arrhythmias, myocarditis, (inflammation), and complete heart failure. Pneumonia is also a common complication. So what do we do? Purchase pork from a known, reliable, supplier who conforms to USDA and FSIS rules and imports commercially-grown pork. Or, you can cryogenically treat your own if you are a small producer of hogs and insist on feeding your piggies the entrails of other animals.

Employing FSIS rules, hog producers have come so far since the mid 1970's that trichinella spiralis isn't much of a threat any longer in commercial pork. However, about 40 people a year (in the United States) are still infected by pork that has been "home grown" by local hog raisers who will not comply. (I don't know the statistics in other countries.) When the animal's feed is infected, the cycle starts all over again. One of these days, small producers will "get it" and adhere to modern feeding practices recommended by the USDA.

Oh yes... this are only my thoughts on trichinella spiralis. Just wait until I start in on clostridium botulinum! :shock:

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Wed Jul 03, 2013 21:19, edited 1 time in total.
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Post by Chuckwagon » Tue Jul 02, 2013 07:00

But Grandpa didn`t use nitrates so why should we? Gosh, I wonder how many "grandpas" died of "natural causes"? :shock:

Clostridium Botulinum is a common obligate anaerobic bacterium microorganism found in soil and sea sediments. Although it can only reproduce in an oxygen-free environment, when it does reproduce, it produces the deadliest poison known to man - botulinum toxin. One millionth of a gram ingested means certain death - about 500,000 times more toxic than cyanide. Botulinum spores are extremely persistent and will survive heating up to 250°F. (121°C), freezing, smoking, and drying. An obligate anaerobe cannot grow in the presence of oxygen. Without oxygen, the addition of sodium nitrates or sodium nitrites is necessary to completely prevent the possibility of botulism poisoning. It also becomes crucial that meat be removed from the "danger zone" temperature range as quickly as possible during any preparation or cooking process. This includes grinding, mixing, and stuffing sausages - procedures often supported using ice, ice water, or refrigeration and freezing. As bacteria need moisture to multiply and meat is about three-quarters water, it becomes an ideal environment for the growth of bacteria, even when it is mostly dried.

The rod-shaped bacterium was first recognized and isolated in 1896 following the poisoning of several people who had consumed bad ham. It was later discovered that due to the enzyme superoxide dismutase, the bacterium might actually tolerate very small traces of oxygen. Once again, botulinum spores are extremely persistent and will survive heating up to 250°F. (121°C), freezing, smoking, and drying. Insidiously, they lie in wait for the right conditions to occur and give no foul smell or taste, making it even more treacherous. In non-cooked fermented sausages, the microorganism must be destroyed using a combination of salt, Cure #2 containing sodium nitrate, a drop beyond 5.0 pH, and a minimum drop in Aw water activity to 0.97 or less.

The onset of its symptoms can occur quickly and include nausea, stomach pain, double vision, and spreading paralysis, ultimately reaching the heart or respiratory organs. Although fatalities occur yearly, especially in countries where home canning is popular, the risk of acquiring botulism is very, very low. Worldwide, there are only about 1000 cases of botulism each year. However, the lethal consequences of poisoning may make you wish to reconsider the proper addition of sodium nitrate/nitrite in your products to almost eliminate the risk. I believe that one thousand cases annually are one thousand too many!

To risk your own health is one thing. To sell or give away the sausage to unsuspecting consumers is quite another matter. :cry: The liability you open yourself up to, is incredible. Please be aware that by not using sodium nitrate in an air-dried sausage, definitely places consumers at risk, no matter how slight the possibilities.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon

P.S. Many people are starting to believe that there are now "nitrate-free" products on the market. This is definately not true! What about all those supposedly "nitrate-free" hot dogs, bacon and other so-called "uncured" products? See for yourself right here: http://wedlinydomowe.pl/en/viewtopic.php?t=6516
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Post by ssorllih » Tue Jul 02, 2013 15:04

I don't/can't comprehend the aversion to nitrites in food that pervades society. I understand that too much of a good thing can be bad but when we carefully control the amounts we use it is practically undetectable in a highly spiced sausage.
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Post by Butterbean » Tue Jul 02, 2013 16:28

But they have been doing it this way for hundred of years. I've seen this comment a lot and its partly true. What I think is being overlooked is the fact the Italians identified their salts and used specific ones from specific areas for curing and these salts gave the meat that rosy color. Where does the color come from if there are no nitrites? Some of the Italian salts sold today have ingredient labels on them identifying what's in the salt and some clearly label it as being an impurity. So my question is are you actually using the same salt the Italian's used or are you simply buying salt of unknown origin? Granted, the incidence of botulism is very rare but the lethality of botulism is extremely serious if you draw the wrong card.

I have an Italian friend who makes some of the best salami I've ever tasted but since he now lives in the states he choses to add cure even though it was never used in Italy.

Just because we now understand why something worked in the past doesn't mean it is bad but I think having the knowledge and not using it would make one negligent. JMHO
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