Sodium nitrite should be handled with caution. A report on an Oxford U. That would be 2 teaspoons for me. And less than that could still be harmful. Mold is good on a couple of counts and I always use the mold product you mention I also get curing salts and everything else there, prices much better.
Thanks for the comment Michael. I might add that whilst sodium nitrite should indeed be handled with much caution, because the only public access to the stuff is really via cure1 and cure2, the risk of an overdose of the stuff is much less likely, since cure1 is only 6. Within a day anything new I hang in my chamber is starting to get a good covering of powdery white mold, and after 5 days it has a good coverage! Great for me, since I always forget to mix up bactoferm before starting a curing project..
One thing I have noticed is that the formulation of B has changed, from what it was MEK solution. It seems to start off much thicker, and then after a couple of weeks receed back to the powdery stuff. At the start it seems almost pillowy in nature. I keep wondering though, how these environments were controlled temp and humidity before refrigeration. With hams hanging for months and up to a year, I imagine the temp and humidity range is more fluid than the one named here as the ideal. By the time spring came the meat had lost enough water content to be safe at higher temps.
Curing was also done traditionally in cooler areas — people would use underground rooms, huts up in the mountain and so on. Just took my pancetta out and gave it a thorough going over. I did find a bit of mold on the rolled ends, but nowhere else. A tiny dot of white and a whitish green bit on the other end.
The greenish white mold was growing in a crevice of the rolls. I cut the ends off yes I tossed those and then cut it down the middle to examine the inner roll. Why have you not attempted whole cured ham yet, is it just the size? Any way i was just wondering about the cured ham, in the mean time i applaud your knowledge and beautiful site. Will give news of my struggles, meat rules! Philippe — there are a few reasons. The size especially — not during drying, I have room for that, but more in my home fridge for the salting and curing.
The cost is prohibitive right now for me too. This is a masterpiece, Matt. You have quite become the expert in meat curing. When are you writing the book? I have a question about a ham that I have hanging. I had it packed in salt for three weeks. I then rub it all over with a pig lard and wrapped it in cheesecloth.
I think I am noticing some black spots on it after a week or so of hanging. Should I be concerned and can I save the ham if it is going bad? Send me a picture though, and I will take a look. Do you use Bactoferm on encased meats only? I am making breasaola and lomo and was wondering if I should spray them, just to be sure. Sebastien — You can use it for anything. I might suggest trying casing a lonzino and bresaola sometime. Interesting post by a fellow on chowhound, check out pigwizard towards the end, http: Very interesting comment about Egyptians, mummies and a local salt that seemed to do a better job of preserving.
I just finished my first pancettas, and am a bit worried about the interior of one that I cut today. I used pink salt, cured, then dried the pancetta for a week in the fridge. I just cut into one of two pancettas that I made my first attempt. I noticed that at the end, there is a bit of unappealing, dark, slightly soft meat in the center. It has not dried as long as recommended, but the book Ruhlman said this was fine.
Should I cut that part off and cook the rest to a high temp? The meat was cured with pink salt prior to rolling. Tim — I obviously cannot comment as to whether you should eat something you cured or not. However — here are my suggestions —. Feel free to send me a picture if you want me to take a further look. You can find my email on the about page. I hung the meat in a fridge at 37 degrees F. It was great, and I am fine,. Matt — I, too, have been bitten by the curing bug.
First it started with bacon, the gateway drug of charcuterie… Now I am on to guanciale, which has been curing in my basement shop for two and a half weeks. A tall garbage can with salt tray at the bottom did the trick.
Meat curing safety
One thing I am considering to add is a small fan on a timer to get circulation going. Gerry — let me know how you garbage can curing chamber works out! Certainly the first time I have heard of it — I love how inventive people are at making the right environment for this.
Though I ferment many things at home, I have not taken up meat curing yet. But it is something I have a lot of interest on. Currently I am residing in Barcelona, Spain. I have scouted a few local, high quality fuet and ham producers and quite enjoy these artisanal products. However, I still have a lingering question that I have found little information on.
I have found research conducted in canada that proves there is no surviving Trichinella larvae in ham after 39 days of curing. Good quality Spanish ham is cured for 24 months, so that seems to be safe, but I believe fuet http: Do you know anything about the safety of Trichinella infection with cured pork? If you are dealing with wild boar then that might be a different case. I have heard that one way to kill trichinella is to freeze the pork for at least two weeks. I have never done this however. Charcuterie Meat curing safety February 24, I am certainly no mold expert, so you can imagine my reply — but here is the basics about mold on dry cured meats: My meat has been hanging for ages… when can I eat it?
Before you hang the thing to dry, weigh it. There are two sharped curved spines on the end of the elongate body.
Full grown larvae leave the food source to find a place to change to the adult stage. These wandering larvae, which can burrow into wood, may be the first sign that an infestation is present. Larder beetles infest a variety of meats, animal products such as feather and fur, dried foods, or even accumulations of dead insects in wall voids. Each female lays about eggs which hatch in about two weeks. The larvae feed on or just below the surface of the meat. Damaged areas may be trimmed away and discarded. Brush the surface thoroughly to remove eggs and small larvae.
A vegetable oil application to the surface of the meat may help to control early stages of the insect. They burrow into the meat, seeming to prefer fat. Adults feed on the meat but are not as destructive as the larvae. Their life cycle takes from 1 to 3 months, depending upon the temperature. Skippers , which get their name from their distinctive means of moving, are the larval stages of small flies. Adults, about one-third the size of a house fly, are black with a bronze tint and red-brown eyes.
Skippers are scavengers and can develop on a wide range of organic wastes. Substances with a putrid odor are preferred by the adults as sites on which to lay eggs. The slender, bullet-shaped maggot is the damaging stage. They usually occur in groups and prefer dark areas. They can arch their body and flip themselves several inches in a powerful "skip". The life cycle from egg to adult can be completed in as few as 12 days during warm weather. Several thousand individuals can be produced in a single ham.
Infestations begin when the female fly lays her eggs on the meat surface, usually near the butt end of newly smoked hams and shoulders. The maggots develop in soft muscles and connective tissue. This pest burrows deeply into the meat rather than remaining near the surface like most of the other pests do.
Mature larvae usually leave the meat and crawl to a tight, dry crevice to pupate and transform to the adult stage.
There is no effective treatment for this insect. Heavily infested hams should be discarded and the area cleaned thoroughly to collect pupa that may be present in nearby cracks and crevices. Dried meat strips packed in plastic bags with the opening heat sealed above or tied below.
During storage individual packages must be opened at least once a month and the organoleptic quality of the goods examined.
These controls enable the persons responsible to evaluate storage conditions and to assess the shelf-life of the dry meat. For controlling temperature and air humidity, it is useful to have a thermometer and hygrometer installed on the premises see also Chapter 5. A maximum-minimum thermometer is recommended to obtain the highest and lowest temperatures recorded between two readings. The temperature and relative air humidity should be carefully registered bearing in mind that dry meat is extremely sensitive to changes in environmental conditions, especially of the ambient temperature and relative humidity.
Dried meat manufactured as described above has to be rehydrated to resemble fresh meat again. Rehydrated dried meat has almost the same nutritive value as fresh meat. Rehydration is in most cases combined with cooking. The procedure usually starts by putting the dried meat, which may be cut in smaller pieces, into a pot Figs 28 and The meat in the pot is then covered with water and boiled.
The rehydrated and cooked meat and the broth are used, together with other additives which may vary according to local consumption habits, for the preparation of tasty dishes. Other types of dried meat, which are manufactured by a combination of drying with special treatments, are consumed raw, without rehydration and cooking. Some examples of this group of products are given below. Meat drying after presalting, as described above, is the simplest and most efficient method of meat dehydration.
Additional treatments used for some special dried meat products are curing, smoking and the utilization of spices and food additives. Specific antimicrobial agents in smoke or spices or the antimicrobial properties of the curing substance, nitrite, may allow a less intensive dehydration of the meat. Parma ham, jamon serrano or smoked hams of the central European type , unsmoked or smoked dry sausages e. In developing countries, where the preservation aspect is even more important because of the lack of a cold chain, treatment carried out in addition to the drying of meat will be somewhat different and in some cases e.
The reasons for this additional treatment are in many cases adverse climatic or environmental conditions which do not allow the drying of meat without additional treatment. There are also of course other reasons for additional treatment, such as special flavours or special mixtures with non-meat ingredients, which may be preferred locally. Curing is the impact of nitrite on meat, in particular on the muscle pigment, myoglobin, which results in the formation of the pigment myochromogen and gives a stable red colour to muscle tissue.
These effects are of particular importance for the shelf-life of raw hams and dry sausages and may also be of importance for non-intensively dried biltong, the South African dried meat, which may also be manufactured with nitrite or nitrate. Apart from occasional use in biltong, it can be concluded that curing is not important in the manufacture of traditional dried meat products.
The reasons are that a bright red colour is not desired in dried meat because it will be rehydrated and used for cooking meals and drying is generally so intensive that the inhibiting effect on microbiological growth is unnecessary. Curing substances must be handled very carefully as they are toxic even in low concentrations. Very small dosages are sufficient for the curing effect, about ppm, that is, 2 g or less in 10 kg meat. Whole strips and flat pieces of dried meat and dried meat comminuted to fragments of different sizes for preparing meals.
Preparing a meal of dried meat. As a first step the dried meat is put into boiling water.
Smoking of meat is a technique in which meat is exposed directly to wood smoke which may be generated by a variety of methods. In smoke produced from wood there are various substances which contribute to the flavour and the appearance of the smoked meat product and which have a certain preserving effect on the product. However, the preserving effect of common smoking is not very significant when storing the product without a cold chain.
On the other hand, intensive or prolonged smoking may considerably increase the shelf-life of the product, but it also has an unfavourable effect on flavour. Whereas a light smoke aroma generally enhances the organoleptic properties of the product, intensive smoking has a negative influence on the quality, especially in the case of prolonged storage in which concentrated smoke compounds develop increasingly unpleasant tarry flavours.
In view of the above, smoking in order to preserve meat can only be considered as an emergency measure when no other preservation methods can be carried out. This may be the case during wet weather or generally under a humid climate, or when the preservation has to be completed as fast as possible because of the need of immediate transport, for instance after game-hunting. Intensive meat smoking is always a combination of two effects, drying the meat by reducing its moisture content through hot air and the condensation of smoke particles on the meat surface together with their penetration into the inner layers of the product.
Protecting Home-Cured Meat from Insects and Mites
Both have preservative effects and prolong the shelf-life of the product. The smoke is produced in these cases by glowing wood. Often, meat is prepared quickly by drying and smoking over a fire. Normally, meat from this treatment is not well prepared and has to be consumed soon after drying, otherwise it will spoil quickly. The quality of traditionally smoke-dried meat is generally poor. This is not only owing to poor meat quality or inadequate smoking devices, but mainly because smoke-drying is a rather rough treatment for the meat.
The process is fast and has a certain preserving effect, but at the cost of quality. Quality losses are even more obvious when failures in preparing the raw material occur. When, for example, the thickness of the meat parts to be smoked ranges from about 3 cm to 15 cm, uniform drying will not be achieved. The smaller pieces will be overdried and the thicker ones may still remain with a high moisture content in the product centre. The results of faulty drying and smoking are a too strong smoke flavour, lack of rehydration capacity of the smaller parts and fast spoilage of the thicker parts.
For effective smoke-drying, the meat thickness should not exceed 7 cm to achieve products which are stable for a certain period without refrigeration. Apart from primitive smoking places with just a fire below the meat, the construction of special smoking kilns has been suggested for smoke-drying of meat. The effect of light smoking could be of interest for the production of dried meat. Light smoking is not suitable for meat preservation without a cold chain, but it adds a smoke flavour to the product and inhibits the growth of moulds and yeasts on the product's surface owing to the fungistatic smoke compounds.
Thus light smoking may be used for the prevention of growth of moulds during the storage period of dried meat, especially under humid climatic conditions. Various methods, typical for different regions, exist to produce this type of product. General guidelines for manufacture cannot be given because of the great variety of preparations, but the idea behind all of them is to combine the necessary preservation of meat with a typical flavour.
In some cases the additives act as an absorbent with the aim of faster drying, and some spices may also act against bacterial growth. Some examples of dried meat or dried and further processed meat manufactured in Africa, America and the Near East are described. No mention is made of the various dehydrated meat products well known in the Far East.
These products are somewhat different owing to their sugar component. They will be the subject of future FAO studies.
Full text of "Home-cured meat : how to protect it from insects"
Somalia and other East African countries Odka is basically a sun-dried meat product made of lean beef and is of major importance to nomads in Somalia. In the face of perennial incidence of drought in the Horn of Africa, odka has become important since it is often prepared from drought-stricken livestock. The production of odka is similar to the simple drying technique described earlier. However, the meat strips cut for drying are bigger and dry salting is usually applied instead of brine salting. After only four to six hours' sun-drying the large pieces of meat are cut into smaller strips and cooked in oil.
After this heat treatment drying is continued and finally sauces and spices are added. For storage odka is again covered with oil and, when kept in a tightly closed container, it has a shelf-life of more than 12 months. Ethiopia and other East African countries Qwanta is manufactured from lean muscles of beef which are further sliced into long strips ranging from 20 to 40 cm and are hung over wire in the kitchen to dry for 24 to 36 hours.
After air drying the meat pieces may be further exposed to a light wood smoke and are then fried in butter fat and dried again to some extent. At this stage the product is ready for consumption or storage. Nigeria and other arid or semi-arid zones of West Africa Kilishi is a product obtained from sliced lean muscles of beef, goat meat or lamb and is made on a large scale under the hot and dry weather conditions prevailing from February to May.
It is produced by sun-drying thin slices of meat. However, recent experience indicates that kilishi can also be produced industrially using tray-drying in a warm air oven. Connective tissue and adhering fatty material are trimmed off the meat which is cut with a curved knife into thin slices of about 0. Traditionally, the slices of meat are spread on papyrus mats on elevated platforms or tables in the sun for drying. However, these papyrus mats may lead to hygienic problems, especially after repeated use.
Therefore, easily washable corrosion-free wire nets or plastic nets are recommended for horizontal drying. The vertical drying method is also recommended in this case. Sun-drying of kilishi could also be improved by the use of solar dryers as shown in Figs 19 and These devices will increase the rate of drying of the product and keep insects and dust from the product. In the first stage of drying, which takes two to six hours, the moisture of the meat slices has to be reduced to about 40 to 50 percent. The slices are then put into an infusion containing defatted wet groundnut cake paste or soybean flour as the main component about 50 percent , and is further composed of water 30 percent , garlic 10 percent , bouillon cubes 5 percent , salt 2 percent and spices such as pepper, ginger and onion.
After infusion, the wet product is again exposed to the sun to dry. Drying at this stage is much faster than at the first stage. When the moisture content of the slices has been reduced to 20 to 30 percent, a process which takes two to three hours depending on weather conditions and the dimensions of the product, the slices are finally roasted over a glowing fire for about five minutes.
The roasting process helps to enhance desirable flavour development and to inactivate contaminating micro-organisms. Roasted kilishi is therefore superior in flavour to the unroasted version. After roasting, the final moisture content ranges between 10 to 12 percent. It will decrease during storage at room temperature to as low a level as 7 percent.
When packaged in hermetically sealed, low density plastic bags the product remains remarkably stable at room temperature for a period of about one year see Chapter 4. Southern African countries Biltong is a well-known salted, dried meat prepared from beef or antilope meat.
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Most muscles in the carcass may be used but the largest are the most suitable. The finest biltong with the best flavour is made from the sirloin strip and the most tender is derived from the fillet. The meat is cut into long strips 1 to 2 cm thick and placed in brine, or dry-salted, which is actually the most popular method. Common salt, preferably coarse salt 1 to 2 kg for 50 kg of meat , or salt and pepper are the principal ingredients used, although other ingredients such as sugar, coriander, aniseed, garlic or other spices are included in some mixtures to improve flavour.
In most cases nitrate or nitrite is added to achieve a red colour and the typical flavour of cured meat. The addition of 0. It is recommended that a little vinegar be sprinkled on each firmly packed layer in the container. Biltong is left in the curing brine for several hours, but not longer than 12 hours otherwise it will be too salty , and then dipped into a mixture of hot water and vinegar approx.
The biltong is now ready for sun-drying for one day. Then the strips are moved into the shade for the rest of the drying period. The product is usually not smoked, but if it is smoked only light cold smoking is recommended, which takes one to two weeks under sufficient air circulation. The biltong is ready when the inside is soft, moist and red in colour, with a hard brown outer layer. Biltong is sold in sticks or slices. The usual shelf-life is several months without refrigeration and packaging, but in airtight packages the product stores well for more than one year.
Biltong is not heated during processing or before consumption. It is eaten raw and considered a delicacy. Turkey, Egypt, Armenia Pastirma is salted and dried beef from not too young animals. In some areas camel meat is also used.