Preservation of Meat by Salting
- Salt-cured meat or salted meat is meat or fish preserved or cured with salt.
- Salting, either with dry salt or brine, was a common method of preserving meat until the middle of the 20th century, becoming less popular after the advent of refrigeration. It was frequently called “junk” or “salt horse”.
- Jewish and Muslim dietary laws require the removal of blood from freshly slaughtered meat.
- Salt and brine are used for the purpose in both traditions, but salting is more common in Kosher Shechita (where it is all but required) than in Halal Dhabiha (as in most cases, draining alone is sufficient).
Purpose of Salting:
- Salt inhibits the growth of microorganisms by drawing water out of microbial cells through osmosis due to the high concentration of salt outside the cell. The cell loses water until it reaches a state where it cannot grow and then cannot survive any longer, (hypertonic nature). Concentrations of salt up to 20% are required to kill most species of unwanted bacteria.
- Smoking, often used in the process of curing meat, adds chemicals to the surface of meat that reduce the concentration of salt required.
- It was discovered in the 19th century that salt mixed with nitrites (saltpeter) would color meats red, rather than grey, and consumers at that time then strongly preferred the red-colored meat. The food hence preserved stays healthy and fresh for days avoiding bacterial decomposition.
Methods Of Salting
- Dry salting, also called corning, is a process where meat is dry-cured with coarse ‘corns’ or pellets of salt.
- Salted beef is sometimes known as corned beef. The use of the term ‘corned’ comes from the fact that the Middle English word corn could refer to grains of salt as well as cereal grains.
- Salting meat can be accomplished by adding salt (dry), or in brine.
Dry Salting Procedure:
- The salt solution is prepared by adding the necessary amount of edible common salt to water and dissolving it by intensive stirring.
- To obtain the recommended salt concentration of about 14 percent the amount of salt necessary for different volumes of water (expressed in litres) is indicated below:
- As soon as the salt is dissolved in the water, the meat strips are dipped into the solution soaked for about five minutes and then drained.
- Draining should be done by placing the strips into a plastic sieve in order to allow the brine to drop off for collection and re-use
- After that drying (by uniform circulation of air) and then meat storage is done.
- Sugar may be added for taste and flavor enhancement, sugar is added to counterbalance all of the salt.
- For example, half a pound of salt mixed with a quarter cup of sugar should be enough for ten to twelve pounds of meat.
There is also a method for wet curing, also known as brining. This technique involves you keeping the meat submerged in a salty solution.
- Wash the meat and sterilize the jars or crocks then put the meat into jars after cutting
- Now add about a pound of salt and half a cup of sugar to three quarters of water, Add other ingredients such as herbs and spices
- Repeat this process until you have enough water for all of the jars. Fill each one up.
- Unlike dry curing, the meat will need your attention on a weekly basis. Each week you will have to take the meat out of the jars, stir the brine well and then place it back.
- After four weeks of repeating this process, your meat is ready. If you find the brine to be getting too thick, you will need to replace it with a fresh batch.