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Speaking of salt...

Posted: Thu Aug 26, 2010 05:50
by Chuckwagon
Hi Sausagemakers,

And Speaking Of Salt...

Does kosher salt taste better than table salt? Interestingly, yes, it does. As kosher salt is pressed together by huge rollers, the grains become pyramid-shaped, allowing them to dissolve more easily so it does not linger on the tongue. It`s made without additives, by compacting granular salt into larger flakes that tend to draw blood easily from freshly butchered meats. Kosher salt, at about seventy cents a pound, is ideal to cook with as it blends well, is clean tasting, and contains no additives to influence flavors of cooked foods.

How many times have you been tempted to leave out the "pinch" of salt called for in your favorite recipes just because we eat more than 25 times as much salt as is necessary to maintain good health? The fact remains, salt is a flavor enhancer that is just as important in sweet recipes as it is in savory dishes. In sausage making, it is an essential ingredient. Never tamper with the amount of salt given in a sausage-making recipe. It is critical in controlling bacteria, destroying possible spiralis trichinella, assists with binding, and assists with dropping the AW in fermented type sausages. Sweet recipes without salt, taste flat and boring. That little pinch of salt reinforces flavors such as butter and vanilla, and that`s not all... it actually masks and suppresses bitter flavors like those of yeast, leavening agents, coffee, eggplant, bittersweet chocolate, vanilla, flour proteins, and many other foodstuffs we consume.

Salt is just salt, right? So why do so many people get excited over the simple seasoning? Although most of us are concerned with its application inside the kitchen, in today`s world salt has more than 40,000 applications from manufacturing to medicine! The ancient Greeks traded salt for slaves, originating the phrase "not worth his salt". Roman soldiers were partially paid with garlic and salt, explaining the origin of the word salarium (Latin for salt) meaning salary. Salting fish made long-range explorations possible in the age of sailing ships.

Great chefs have always known the amount of salt in a recipe is important, but the type of salt is crucial. Most of us amateurs are familiar with common table salt (sodium chloride) in granulated form. Mined much the same as coal, rock salt is further processed using water to form small, uniformly shaped cubes. The problem with this type of salt is its inability to dissolve readily, leaving crystals lingering on the tongue. Perhaps you remember when iodine was added to common table salt to prevent medical problems as thyroid disease. Iodized salt is never used in sausage making or meat preservation as it alters the taste of the products.

Today`s "trendy" salts are expensive in comparison to kosher salt and their flavors dissipate during cooking. Nevertheless, some folks purchase exotic salts for "finishing" (sprinkling on food) and it is not uncommon to see price tags in excess of thirty dollars per pound. Maldon Sea Salt is an English finishing salt receiving a delicate flavor from boiling sea water to produce hollow, pyramid-shaped crystals. At about eleven dollars a pound, it is light on the tongue and may actually be crushed between the fingers. France`s Sel Gris is called "gray salt" and is made along the country`s Atlantic coast when shallow basins are flooded with seawater before the month of May when the evaporation process begins and continues through September. Harvested by raking, it picks up it characteristic flavor from minerals in the clay of the basins. A refined by-product of Sel Gris is called Fleur de Sel (flower of salt). On calm, warm, days without wind, the gray Sel Gris "blooms", creating white, lacy, crystals of carefully hand-harvested finishing salt with a high price tag. Hawaiian Sea Salts are either black or red. The red salt contains the distinct flavor iron, introduced by the soil used to color the substance. The black salt is flavored with purified lava and contains a flavor and aroma of sulfur.

Adding a pinch of salt to cream or egg whites will enable them to whip better, faster and higher. Improve the flavor of any fresh fowl by salt brining or simply rubbing the bird inside and out (beneath the skin) with salt before roasting. Safeguarding preserved foods, salt creates a hostile environment for certain microorganisms by altering osmotic pressure and dehydrating bacterial cells. Historically, meat has required upwards of 8% salt for its preservation. With the widespread use of Prague Powders (sodium nitrates and nitrites), salt levels are now reduced to less than a palatable three percent. As complete elimination of salt is not possible, it is most important to never reduce or increase the prescribed amount of salt in a sausage, ham, or bacon-making recipe, as salt serves as a binder and fine-tunes certain proteins in meat enabling them to hold water.

Salt is amazing! It`s an excellent cleaning agent by itself or used in combination with other substances. A paste of salt and vinegar cleans tarnished brass or copper and strong salt brine poured down the kitchen sink prevents grease from collecting and helps eliminate odors. Salt and soda water will clean and sweeten the inside of your refrigerator without scratching the enamel. A thin paste of salt and salad oil removes white marks from wooden tables caused by hot dishes or water. In mild solutions, it makes an excellent mouthwash, throat gargle, or eyewash. It is an effective dentifrice, antiseptic, and it can be extremely helpful as a massage element to improve complexion. Rub your hands with salt and lemon juice to remove fish odors. Peeled apples, pears, and potatoes dropped in cold, lightly salted water, will retain their color. The stuff even helps destroy moths and drives away ants. Salt tossed on a grease fire on the stove or in the oven will smother flames. Remove bitterness from percolators and other coffee pots by filling them with water, adding four tablespoons of salt and percolating or boiling as usual.

Table Salt.......................................1 cup...............292 gr. ...10.3 ounces
Morton (Kosher)........................1-1/2 cups..........218 gr. .....7.7 ounces
Diamond-Crystal (Kosher) ...........1 cup...............142 gr. ....5.0 ounces

Note that 1 cup of regular table salt weighs more than twice as much as 1 cup of Diamond Crystal (Kosher) salt.

There are 6 grams in ONE flat teaspoon of TABLE SALT.
1 oz. (28.3 gr.) = 1-1/2 Tblspns. (4-1/2 tspns.)
2 oz. (56.7 gr.) = 3 Tblspns. (9 tspns.)
1/2 cup = 146 gr. (.322 lb.) or (5.15 oz.)
1 cup = 292 gr. (.644 lb.) or (10.3 oz.)
Prague Powder (Instacure) - 1 ounce (28.3 gr.) = 2 tblspns.
1 ounce salt = 1-1/2 tblspns.
The ideal salt content for (fresh) sausage, is about 2 g. per 100 g. meat.
1 lb. salt = 1-1/2 cups

Best Wishes,

Posted: Mon May 09, 2011 18:23
by story28
I have seen a few demos online that take place in Italy where they use rock salt for curing and I was wondering what the benefits are vs. kosher salt?

Posted: Mon May 09, 2011 19:42
by jbk101
Wow a great read about Salt Chuckwagon sometimes you truely amaze me :smile:

Posted: Tue May 10, 2011 05:27
by Chuckwagon
Thanks for the kind words John. I really appreciate your comments. For those not aware, JBK101 just won this month's contest with his "Indiana Jerky"! Hmmm, I wonder what kind of salt you used JBK. :wink:

Oh, and story28 to answer your question... place a teaspoon of each type in separate drinking glasses. Add a half cup of hot water to each glass, stir, and see for yourself! :shock: Which one would you want in your sausage?

Best Wishes,

Posted: Tue May 10, 2011 10:36
by jbk101

I can answer that with ease "Kosher Salt" its the best! :smile: Use it for just about everything from Curing to Canning! I do use some Sea Salt but usually only for table applied applicications.

Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 04:05
by story28
Where does corning salt fit in with all of these salts? Does the larger grains somehow change the curing process or is there some other reason for the size?

Posted: Sat May 14, 2011 04:53
by ssorllih
The salt must desolve before it can work its magic on meat. Salt used to be rather costly and coarse salt was less expensive than table salt. The purest salt we can get is kosher and canning salt. most of the rest has added ingredients of human health or for anticaking reasons. Highway rock salt comes to us straight from the mines with no refining at all.

Posted: Sun May 15, 2011 00:17
by ssorllih
I was reading today about water softener salt and you can buy salt with a 99.8 per cent purity for water softeners at a price of less than 8 dollars per forty pound bag.

Topic Split 8/27/11 @ 12:05 See "Sticky Chat" in Hyde Park.

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 06:52
by Cabonaia
I tried curing some bacon with just sea salt - a very grey salt my wife buys in 20 lb sacks. After a week or so in a dry cure, the bacon came out quite pink/cured looking. I hot smoked it and it tastes exactly like bacon cured with pink salt (cure #1). I did 2 slabs side/by/side, one with just the sea salt and one with cure #1 and sea salt. They were the same, which probably means my bacon with seat salt AND #1 had a lot of nitrite in it. :shock:

Made the just-sea salt version for a friend whose daughter gets migraines, and they suspect nitrites/nitrates. Her daughter consumed my sea salt bacon without any problem. They normally buy "nitrate/nitrite-free bacon" from Trader Joe's, which is cured with celery juice powder. My wife bought some celery-juice powder cured pastrami from the same store, and it had nitrite burn - a translucent green shimmer! Ugh. Anyone concerned with cured meats in their diets should stay away from that wholesome stuff, it would seem.

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 13:57
by NorCal Kid
Cab, my biggest concern in using just the salt would be not knowing the % (exact amount) of nitirates/nitrites in the application. Too little is obviously a high-risk venture (dangerous!) in curing meats, and too much is also not good.

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 14:30
by ssorllih
Perhaps one of the chemists here can tell us if the salt can be analysed easily.

Posted: Tue Apr 24, 2012 14:41
by Cabonaia
Hey NorCal - Agreed! With the bacon, since I am essentially cooking it with the hot smoke, just as I would a pork butt where I would not use cure at all, the concern is not with too little nitrate/nitrite, as the cure in this case is only for color and flavor. Whether there is too much in it is another question that, as you say, I can't know. I would reason that if the salt is safe to eat in general, it is safe to use for any application where I don't have to worry about there being too little nitrate/nitrite. But I would certainly like to be corrected if my reasoning is wrong here! Because I am considering using it again just for bacon.

BTW, I am smitten by your mortadella pictures, and plan to use your recipe just as soon as I can get to it!

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 01:59
by snagman

That is a great, interesting read mate !

Re: Speaking of salt...

Posted: Wed Apr 25, 2012 02:16
by Baconologist
Chuckwagon wrote: Table Salt.......................................1 cup...............292 gr. ...10.3 ounces
Morton (Kosher)........................1-1/2 cups..........218 gr. .....7.7 ounces
Diamond-Crystal (Kosher) ...........1 cup...............142 gr. ....5.0 ounces
I checked my records.
I have a very different weight for Morton Kosher.

Weight per cup:

Morton`s Kosher: 250 grams (8 3/4 ounces)

Diamond Crystal Kosher: 135 grams (4 3/4 ounces)

Table Salt: 300 grams (10 5/8 ounces)

Malden Sea Salt: 120 grams (4 1/4 ounces)

I guess it only reaffirms the fact that it's best to use weights when dealing with salt. :grin:


Posted: Mon Jul 30, 2012 01:49
by Marty
Please excuse me if this has been posted somewhere else on the forum.

In regards to how much salt to add to my dry cure recipes, are there any calculations or general guidelines I can do to work out the correct amount?

For example - 1 cup (300grams) of table salt per 1 kg of beef, 1 cup (300grams) table salt per 1 kg venison etc (this IS completely wrong I know, it's just an example :) )