Why We Use Nitrites/Nitrate Cures and Starter Cultures

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Chuckwagon
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Post by Chuckwagon » Tue Jul 02, 2013 21:02

Our buddy Sawhorse said it best of all:
I'll stick to doing my gambling in a casino, the only thing to lose there is money. RAY
And our pal Butterbean had this to say:
Granted, the incidence of botulism is very rare but the lethality of botulism is extremely serious if you draw the wrong card.
It's hard to argue with their kind of wisdom! :wink:

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
Last edited by Chuckwagon on Wed Jul 03, 2013 21:24, edited 2 times in total.
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
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Post by Chuckwagon » Tue Jul 02, 2013 21:49

In Sweden during the 1970's, a single case of food-borne bolulism completely baffled medical authorites for more than a week. A father had been out with his 7-year old son hunting roe deer and since they lacked a freezer, they made meatballs and preserved them in jars. Experienced as they were, they followed all safety rules with sterilization of the jars etc. After a couple of months, the son opened a jar to have a taste and ate ONE meatball. He fell sick with botulism and was admitted to the emergency room at a hospital. Only because of quick diagnosis and treatment, the boy finally recovered following several weeks in a hospital, as authorities investigated every possible clue for answers. (In Sweden, the law requires an investigation regulated by their bureau for Infectious Disease Control). The contents of all the jars were examined by specialists, though only one jar in particular seemed to be the only one infected! Investigators were completely puzzled! What had caused the infection of merely one jar? Following further investigation, it eventually turned out that when the deer was shot, the bullet had slightly grazed against the trunk of a tree before killing the game. A few spores from the tree had obviously followed the bullet into the wound to eventually end up in the preserved meat. Boiling the jars killed LIVING bacteria, but not the spores that found ideal growth conditions during the subsequent storage.

Do you know how the rod-shaped pathogenic bacterium was first isolated? It has only been a little over a hundred years ago. Yup, some crazy home-sausage makin`, cow biscuit kickin`, dude with a bad comb-over just like mine... made a "bad" ham. (Meaning no curing agent was used). That was in 1896. Several people consumed the bad ham and it was later discovered that due to the enzyme superoxide dismutase, the bacterium actually tolerated very small traces of oxygen. All fell victim of the bad ham and died! Scientists finally identified and named clostridium botulinum.

Now, get this! Botulinum spores are extremely persistent and will survive heating up to 250°F. (121°C), freezing, smoking, and drying. When the right conditions occur they become active but give no foul smell or taste, making the bacteria even more treacherous.

In non-cooked fermented sausages, the microorganism must be destroyed using a combination of salt, sodium nitrate cure, a drop beyond 5.0 pH, and a minimum drop in Aw water activity to 0.97 or less.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
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Post by sawhorseray » Wed Jul 03, 2013 06:26

Great Sausage Recipes & Meat Curing authored by Rytec Kutas, pages 13 thru 16. Why ask why? Seems to me when someone as knowledgeable as CW is taking the time to share his advise I might want to pay attention. Oh well, to each his own. RAY
“Good judgment comes from experience, and a lotta that comes from bad judgment.”
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Post by Divey » Wed Jul 03, 2013 09:40

Cure#1 and Cure#2 are not easy to find and buy online here in Australia. However, after reading what CW has posted and considering the very small amount of Nitrates and Nitrites that are used, I'm awaiting a delivery of both. :mrgreen:
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Post by oneills » Wed Jul 03, 2013 12:24

Cure#1 and Cure#2 are not easy to find and buy online here in Australia
Hi Divey. I have found a few sources for cures # 1 and #2. I bought mine from Misty Gully Smokehouse off their online shop. I'll have to get some more #1 as ended up using quite a bit brining my hams.

Next year think I will use a cure to be on the safe side as have only been going on the advise of others who have been showing me the traditional methods.

CW. Thanks for your advise, but as you can see I have only been following the instruction of others more knowlegable than myself. I did query the use of cures and cultures but was told they were not needed. I have a packet of #2 cure sitting here that will defianately get used in the near future.

Cheers
Misty Springs Free Range Pigs
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Post by Chuckwagon » Wed Jul 03, 2013 21:50

Oneills, ol` buddy,
All during my career as a sheriff, I saw people suing each other for every reason imaginable. In many cases, it was heartbreaking. In other cases, the verdict left an observer feeling "justified". However, every case seemed somehow unnecessary. The fact remains, if you are responsible for injuring or even causing the death of someone, you become liable and may be sued at the drop of a hat. These days, with the proven stability of nitrate/nitrite cures, you would be hard-pressed to justify selling or giving your salami to anyone without the inclusion of sodium nitrite.

The convenience of using Bactoferm culture to insure uniformity of fermentation is certainly up to you, although avoiding the use of an actual "curing agent" to negate the possibility of botulism poisoning, may even constitute negligence.

May I repeat, if you wish to consume them yourself... well, that`s one thing. But to sell it or give it to someone else... sheeeyuks pard, that`s another matter entirely! I`d surely hate to see you found liable in injuring someone. I`m just trying to keep everyone around here healthy!

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Chuckwagon
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
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Post by markjass » Fri Jul 05, 2013 11:07

Here is a great product????????

FAQ`s
Contact
Frequently Asked Questions

Wow (who said so - me), your products taste great - so much better than others (like wise?).
Why are yours so good?

The answer is simple: Salash Delicatessen faithfully keeps to the traditional skilled practices and sound principles from exotic lands (strange some companies claim NZ is exotic) and earlier times for which there is no substitute (yes there are). Generations of our family have perfected these proper, old-fashioned ways to make our authentic ethnic meats.

We are proud to be the first and only producer of real salami (who defines what real salami is?) in New Zealand; we do not use starter cultures, additives or any chemicals (what do you define as a chemical) in any of our products. The taste is natural and pure (what does this mean). Enjoy.

Where are your products made?

Right here in Aotearoa, New Zealand. We proudly own and run our family business, Salash Delicatessen Ltd, in Onehunga, Auckland and we operate every stage of the hands-on production to deliver a genuine delicatessen experience to our customers.

What irks me is that this kind of advertisement is legal and there are people who are gullible enough to fall for it. On the other hand they may be sad and deluded enough to believe their claims. Would you touch their products? Do you believe them?
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Post by crustyo44 » Fri Jul 05, 2013 21:15

Hi Mark,
Obviously Salash Delicatessen has never heard of the Garibaldi Food Poisoning case in South Australia in 1995. One 4 year old was killed and 23 other kids are still suffering serious illnesses with some organ transplants still happening.
All due to certain additives not being included/forgotten in the manufacturing process.
It's all on the net, just search "Garibaldi Food poisoning" AND GO FROM THERE.
CW has been pushing the proper use of cures very hard so whatever we make and hand out as gifts are safe for consumption.
Ray, the 7UP smoked chicken man, is so correct, his gambling is done in a casino and I have said in a previous post long time ago that Russian Roulette in not on my repertoire.
Bazza, keep on pushing this Cure issue. IT'S SO IMPORTANT.
Cheers,
Jan.
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Post by markjass » Sat Jul 06, 2013 02:02

Thanks Jan. I read some articles on the Garibaldi Food poisoning. I had heard of it. I have downloaded one of the aricles as a reminder of what can go wrong. It got me thinking about contaminated meat case wher 21 people died in the UK

"A Scottish butcher and environmental health authorities have been severely criticised by a report into the world's worst recorded outbreak of E. coli food poisoning.
Twenty-one people died in 1996 after eating contaminated meat supplied by a butcher's shop in Wishaw, Lanarkshire" for whole article

From BBC web page http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/154107.stm

see also

http://www.eurosurveillance.org/ViewArt ... icleId=134

Mark
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Post by ursula » Sun Jul 07, 2013 05:31

Hi oneills (just over the hills)
Redback trading in Healesville have Cures 1 and 2 for $9.95 a kilo. If you order two or 3 (as I did) you come out in front even with the cost of postage.
Regards Ursula
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Post by Chuckwagon » Mon Jul 08, 2013 00:21

In Defense Of Bactoferm

Some time ago, Stan Marianski wrote the following:
"Some eight years ago I stopped at the real Italian deli and saw a great variety of salamis. The owner proudly announced that the family makes all those sausages right on the premises. She even took me inside the kitchen where sausages were hanging in all over the kitchen and the oscillating fan was blasting air at them. I bought different salamis to find out how a real home-made salami compares with sausages I knew. Well, they were really bad, putrefied and all my friends agreed with me. They were simply not edible, too much spoilage. At that time I had a little knowledge about making fermented products and the above incident gave me plenty of motivation to study fermented products in more detail."
____________

Allow me to defend Bactoferm, and then ask readers and members to make up their own minds. Long ago, man discovered that by adding salt to meat, it somehow "preserved" it! It took man literally ages to realize that "binding `available water` (Aw) in sausage", effectively confines it to the point where harmful pathogenic bacteria are no longer able to survive. The process is known as dehydration or limiting water activity. For centuries, this process, along with the chance or random addition of lactic acid-producing bacteria to increase acidity, has been responsible for safely preparing air-dried, fermented, sausages.

Today, adding carefully chosen strains of lactobacilli or pediococci, reducing the pH acidity to safe levels in fermented sausage has been most effective in destroying competing pathogenic bacteria. Historically, as the sausage maker unwittingly created ideal conditions for competing beneficial bacteria to thrive, pathogenic bacteria were deprived of nutrients by being literally crowded out of the way. By providing optimum temperatures and relative humidity for any number of previously unknown lactobacilli and pediococci bacteria, safe and tasty fermented, air-dried sausages have been crafted by man for centuries. Yet, only since about the middle of the nineteenth century have we known what was actually taking place inside the fermentation process. Without beneficial bacteria declaring war on pathogenic bacteria, we would not have salami, pepperoni, summer sausage, or any number of other tangy, fermented air-dried sausages."

Bactoferm™ is the trade name of bio-protective starter cultures made in Denmark and distributed in Germany by the Chr. Hansen Laboratories for use in the food and sausage making industries. Initially, Americans developed a lactobacilli culture just before entering World War II. Although patents were granted, experimenting continued with pediococcus cerevisiae as commercial food processors preferred using cultures not needing activation from deep freezing. We non-commercial, small home-hobbyist operations had no accessibility whatsoever to such products.

Perhaps the cultures of the 1940`s and 1950`s were "too effective" as they produced lactic acid so quickly, they robbed other curing bacteria of greatly needed time to develop the milder flavor Europeans have always accepted and actually demanded, even to this day. Consequently, the use of bio-cultures in fermented sausage throughout Europe, have been minimal. In America, although slow to catch on, the overly sour taste of rapidly produced, dry-cured, fermented sausage has become more accepted as commercial producers offered little alternative to the quickly fermented products to the general public.

In 1957, the bacteria strain known as micrococcus was produced (greatly improving flavor) and became the first real major step in mass-produced salami. Three years later, staphylococcus carnosus was developed and finally in 1966, lactobacillus plantarum was introduced as America`s first widely used culture. Food scientists and researchers throughout the `70`s continued to improve air-dried meats and sausages by developing multi-strain bacteria cultures. For the first time in history, we had a safe, consistent, and reliable culture containing lactic acid bacteria with the addition of other beneficial bacteria strains. Since that time, research has continued and improvements have been made continually.

So, why do we use bio-cultures these days in making fermented meat products? Safety, reliability, and consistent fermentation in much less time, are good reasons. The guesswork has been removed by the standard addition of up to 10 million bacteria per gram. Harmful pathogenic bacteria competing for nutrition are simply crowded out and finally eliminated.

Yes, although raw-meat, air-dried, fermented sausages have been made relatively safely without it for centuries, today`s modern cultures guarantee safety consistently! Best of all, as of late, it has become available to home hobbyists and smaller sausage kitchens in convenient packets at affordable prices.

Best Wishes,
Chuckwagon
If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, it probably needs more time on the grill! :D
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Post by Doc Barrington » Fri Nov 21, 2014 02:30

Jan ( Crustyo44) Just off the track a bit before I moved to live on the beautiful Tropical Island of Phuket in Thailand, I worked for a major finance company for 33 years. Over that time I got to know a few people in Myrtleford Victoria, Woodsy worked at the tyre shop beside the Nissan Dealer his wife worked in one of the other car dealerships cannot think of her name but she suffered with MS, they were great friends foe many years and I would stay with them when in the area. Woodsy was an avid hunter and the local Deer herds got a hiding from him and his mates every year, their freezers were always full of Venison. I also knew Vic Garoni (the Nissan Dealer) and his Wife, Son and Family who were all Italian Tabacco growers in the past. Did you know them?
There is always something to learn, don't be afraid to ask questions there are no stupid questions only stupid answers that are given by some. Enjoy what time you have live life to to max.
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Post by Doc Barrington » Sat Nov 22, 2014 05:56

Hello everyone, my name is Barry Rowe, I have recently become a member the information that is given by everyone is so helpful.

I lived in both Upwey and Emerald in Victoria before moving to Phuket Island in Thailand where I have lived for the past four and a half years.

My thoughts on using cures #1 and #2 go ahead without using them at your own risk, don't hand out your finished products until you are satisfied that each batch is OK, test them on yourself not your Family, Friends and the Public!

Below is my saga on Cures #1 and #2 read on if you are interested, my quest was unending until I finally was able to produce my own Pink Salts I now have enough ingredients to last me a life time.

I had been making cured smoked meats as a hobby for 20 or more years with my friends who come from Serbia, Greece, Malta and Italy we would make close to 800kg every year that was before I moved to live in Thailand. All of the Salami, Sausage, Bacon, Hocks and Ribs we made were made at my mates Mothers Home near Cobram in Victoria in the colder months of June and July. With the exception of the the fresh Sausage everything was smoked over three days after the curing process was completed. The cure that was used for 16 years that I was making in Australia was always the same only Brown Sugar and Salt nothing else my mates Mother from Serbia had been making it that way all her life ans so had generations before. The carefully prepared pieces of meat had strings attached and then rubbed with the plenty of the Cure mixture all over and placed in huge Plastic Containers one piece on top of the other and the lid put on. After a day at outside temperature of around 3-6C the liquid that leached from the meat was drained off and the cure was applied again. The curing was for 5 days and then into the large smoke house for the smoke which was made from very old River Red Gum maybe dead for 50 years or more. No one ever got sick from this process in the 16 years I was involved and the end results were fantastic to say the least.

Then I moved to Thailand, as a retired guy with plenty of time on my hands I though I might try making some cured meat products here in Phuket as Imported Small Goods are very expensive and the local product is less than average. As the temperature is very hot around an average of 30c+ and Humidity of 80%+ nearly every day here due to Phuket being only 8 degrees from the Equator. Bearing that in mind I started with Dry Cured Bacon which is easy to make no special equipment, just time and a refrigerator. But one thing I was unable to purchase was Cure #1 which I needed for the Bacon or Cure #2 required for Salami, Pancetta etc. So I just used Sugar and Salt for the first few batches, the result was very good but could be improved on over time and even better if I had Cure #1. The thought of Poisoning myself or one of my friends was always on my mind. Over many months I tried to get the cures with no success other than importing them from overseas which was very expensive due to the weight. Finally after almost one year of searching I found Potassium Nitrate (KNO3) used to make Black Powder Gunpowder and Explosives. I was quite aware of its dangers as I am an avid shooter and load my own bullets, hence Potassium Nitrate is not as stable as Sodium Nitrate (NaNo3) but works the same as a cure and if handled with care it is safe. I contacted the manufacturer using my English speaking Thai Girlfriend as translator just to be sure and was told by their technical team it was 100% pure with no other additives or contaminates. Funny it is was made by a Large Fireworks Manufacturer here in Thailand as an Explosive additive to their thousands of types of Fireworks that are exported all over the world. Cure #1 was now possible so with the aid of my very accurate digital scales I measured the requires amounts of Salt and Potassium Nitrate and I also added powdered pink color to the mix so no one would mistake it for salt and labeled Cure #1. Now I could safely Make Bacon and fresh sausage knowing I had cut the risks of not using Cures.

Next problem was Cure#2, same deal over one year of searching everywhere and this time no luck in finding anyone who could help me find Sodium Nitrite (NaNo2). In desperation I looked overseas for Pure 100% Sodium Nitrite and found a source in the Ukraine who had Food Grade
for sale and would send any quantity I required in 350g lots, 700g cost me $12 and postage was $50, one month later it arrived. Cure #2 now possible, a batch was made and as before dyed pink and labeled as Cure #2.

I have had great success so far and currently trying my hand at fermented Salami, another long saga which I am keeping every up to date on in the using yogurt as a starter culture forum. I now have a 7ltr Stainless Steel sausage Stuffer, a chest deep freezer, a large commercial glass door fridge, two average size fridges, a Deli Meat Slicer,
and all the stainless and plastic trays bowls, containers and large mixing tubs to produce 7kg of Sausage or Salami at a time or as much Bacon, Pancetta, Pasturma, as I require with space to hold it as it cures.

I also now make Meat Pies, Muffins, Cheese Cakes, Scones, Dill Pickles, Soused Green Lip Mussels, Pickled Lemons, Chutneys, Grainy Mustard, Chicken Liver Pate and a Chicken Liver Terrine log wrapped in Pancetta, and the latest is Dry Aged Beef which was tested last night at 30 days of ageing one large piece of Rib Eye in my large fridge, WOW!! it was good, melt in the mouth, slightly enhanced flavor and only Beef smell. l I am now going to leave it for one more and try again and then another week to bring it to 45 days of ageing.
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Post by crustyo44 » Sun Nov 23, 2014 00:32

Hi Doc,
You certainly opened up the history books about Myrtleford. I lived there for about 13 years and do know the people mentioned. From memory Vic Garoni started out working as a car salesman for his father in law.
I made all my salamis there with Italian friends and never added any cures at all, just salt pepper and chillie powder/flakes. They still make the same way from what I hear.
That was long time ago.
Keep in touch,
Jan.
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Post by Igor Duńczyk » Sun Nov 23, 2014 13:25

Hi Doc,

Thank you for an intriguing story about fighting for making the stuff in the right way.

I am quite sure that in such a hot humid ambience I would also be very reluctant to use the non-nitrite/nitrate curing method, which otherwise should be safe enough when you find yourself in an environment where "healthy" lactic bacteria are in aboundance and able to dominate from the start over any ugly fellows (Clostridium botulinum above all).
At the moment I am myself residing in Istria, Croatia which, in terms of microclimate bears quite a resemblence to the part of Italy which is on the same longitude. Here it is the rule rather than the exception that cured dried meats - above all the incomparable Istrian Prsut (a croatian adaption of the italian word Prosciutto) are processed without the use of nitrite or nitrate. Only sea salt, usually from the island of Pag, blended with a few spices. The climate does the rest...
Wishing you a Good Day!
Igor The Dane
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