Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

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Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby Fingers » Thu Oct 06, 2016 4:34 pm

Hi Guys

I am making bacon using only salt @5% sealed in the bag fridge curing for 7-10 days style. Then kept in the fridge to dry, till its been eaten.
I want to do this simply due to the possible health risks of the Nitrite Nitrate and feel that there is little risk in leaving it out. I feel sure many will disagree.

However
I cold smoked the last batch of bacon (using cure~#1) with oak for 12 hours with great success, some of it is still maturing in our fridge.
Whilst I feel comfortable in leaving out the cure#1 for unsmoked bacon I am not sure if cold smoking would call for cure#1 as a must do?

I have been learning that Nitrite Nitrate is the thing to avoid in meats, reducing your intake of Nitrite Nitrate is very much recommended. Well I like meat and wish to continue to eating it at the rate I do :) hence remove Nitrite Nitrate, if you follow my logic.
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby NCPaul » Thu Oct 06, 2016 7:05 pm

If you want to reduce the amount of nitrate in your diet you'll need to ditch the green vegetables, lettuce, spinach, and celery particularly. Here's a table showing their maximum limits:

http://eur-lex.europa.eu/legal-content/ ... 32005R1822

Very little of the nitrate/nitrite (~10 %) in our diet comes from meats. I wouldn't make cold smoked bacon without cure #1. A great number of people missed science class when the nitrogen cycle and assimilation into plants was taught.
Fashionably late will be stylishly hungry.
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby wheels » Thu Oct 06, 2016 9:07 pm

I have no issue with you not using nitrite/nitrate, but am surprised that 5% salt doesn't make a very salty bacon?

In all this, please don't forget that more people die each year from excess salt in their diet than from the increased risk of cancer from nitrite/nitrate; it's something that's often overlooked in the rush to demonise nitrite/nitrate. I don't deny that all can cause medical problems...

..but there again, what doesn't nowadays?

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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby Fingers » Fri Oct 07, 2016 6:23 am

The 5% comes from a nitrate free recipe I am following, not tried it before. It may well be too salty, will find out when it's ready.

I am aware there's nitrate nitrite in other foods, totally agree that there's so much we are told is bad for us which later proves wrong. My logic here is if it's not 100% needed then I would rather leave it out. The same as I eat very little sugar and foods that effect my bloody sugars, being type2.
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby Fingers » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:16 am

PS

Two places selling nitrate free, one of the nitrate free smoked?!!

https://www.graigfarm.co.uk/organic-pro ... acon-p1040

http://ellisesfarm.co.uk/catalogue.php?cat=1066
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby Fingers » Fri Oct 07, 2016 10:56 am

Then you read this and wonder what all the fuss is about fearing nitrate nitrite

https://chriskresser.com/the-nitrate-an ... ear-bacon/
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby wheels » Fri Oct 07, 2016 12:30 pm

I note that the report is from 2012. Current scientific thinking is that there is an increased risk of cancer from eating any 'processed' food, let alone bacon.

As to the smoked bacon? We don't know whether it contains natural nitrite/nitrate from (say) celery powder. This bizarrely would still be free from preservatives - at least, I think that's the way the labelling works.

In any case, there's always someone that's prepared to take the risk, and an EHO/TSO that'll let them do it if testing doesn't show any nasties.

That said, there is an argument for smoking solid muscle without cure; I don't subscribe to it, but it's there. I would, however, refuse point blank to eat sausage smoked likewise.

It's never been an issue for me because I've never had any bacon that hadn't got cure that tasted any good!

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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby Fingers » Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:14 pm

I have actually just spoken to the lady, very nice and happy to help an amateur, very interesting. She does not use nitrates/nitrites as advertised, they do everything themselves and are as you can imaging rigorously inspected. They regularly have the meats tested for nasties and have been trading for 10 years. They are also making nitrate free salami.

http://ellisesfarm.co.uk/catalogue.php?cat=445

"Air dried plain salami contains NO preservatives ,cultures or additives. Just Gloucester old spot pork,red wine,garlic,salt and spices."

She said they just make sure their practises are meticulous and advised me to do a food hygiene course. They also rear there own pigs so this might be part of there success as they know exactly where the meat has come from and how fresh. I on the other hand by my pork from the butchers, or Morrisons who can do a very good cut of belly with the ribs and a not so bad cut of shoulder. BUT they like many many other butchers buy all there meat in ready butchered from wholesalers in manageable portions. So I do not know how fresh the meat is nor exactly where its come from.
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby wheels » Fri Oct 07, 2016 2:56 pm

Interesting. The testing is fine for most things, but the nitrite/nitrate is there to protect against a 'one in a million' scenario. Therefore, testing is pretty useless in the case of the Clostridium Botulinum toxins that we're concerned about here.

I would reiterate, I'm not saying don't do it if that's what you want, but I'd rather use cure even though I know the risks. After all, I'm an ex-smoker, drink, have no exercise, am a paraplegic, eat heartily, add salt to my food, am overweight and drive a car. Any of those is more likely to kill me than the nitrite.

If you are going to do it, I would buy your meat direct from the farm/producer and collect it as soon as you can to minimize the bacteria count. A long supply chain doesn't seem to be a good idea in this situation.

Please keep us posted as to what the 5% bacon turns out like. It may not be my thing - but I am genuinely interested in what you're doing.

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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby bacon.uk » Sun Oct 09, 2016 9:33 am

I myself worry more about the small risk from botulinum than that from nitrite.
May I suggest you cure your bacon in a open tray rather than in a bag which is so often used these days.
There are several reasons.
1. Putting the meat in a bag excludes air which is just the conditions in which botulinum thrive.
2. I have concluded after many trials (I am just starting my 28th batch) that the flavour and texture
are much better when cured in an open tray.
When I started curing my own bacon I used up to 6% of salt as I was concerned about keeping qualities. It was far to salty and I now use 3.7% and will probably cut down further in the future.
I vacuum pack and freeze the sliced bacon and it keeps its flavour for at least 6 months.
I have seen it suggested that bagging is necessary to prevent the nitrite contaminating other meat in the fridge. I regard this as complete nonsense.
The bacon will certainly dry and mature in the fridge but hanging in a cool larder might be better. I will watch to see how you get on.
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby BriCan » Mon Oct 10, 2016 12:42 am

Fingers wrote:I have actually just spoken to the lady, very nice and happy to help an amateur, very interesting. She does not use nitrates/nitrites as advertised, they do everything themselves and are as you can imaging rigorously inspected. They regularly have the meats tested for nasties and have been trading for 10 years. They are also making nitrate free salami.

http://ellisesfarm.co.uk/catalogue.php?cat=445

"Air dried plain salami contains NO preservatives ,cultures or additives. Just Gloucester old spot pork,red wine,garlic,salt and spices."

She said they just make sure their practises are meticulous and advised me to do a food hygiene course. They also rear there own pigs so this might be part of there success as they know exactly where the meat has come from and how fresh. I on the other hand by my pork from the butchers, or Morrisons who can do a very good cut of belly with the ribs and a not so bad cut of shoulder. BUT they like many many other butchers buy all there meat in ready butchered from wholesalers in manageable portions. So I do not know how fresh the meat is nor exactly where its come from.


Not to put a finer point on things but on reading the site some things do not sit right and thus if one thing wrong others "might" be wrong :(

Fresh sausage -- it states the following

Additive free sausages

Our 90% free range Gloucester old spot pork sausages contain NO nitrates, preservatives or additives. Just natural, fresh ingredients. All our sausages contain breadcrumbs except the frankfurters which are 100% meat and gluten free.. This means they only have a short shelf life of 3 days from date of packaging.


Now as a butcher for over 55 years might make me qualified to state the following --- breadcrumbs are a filler/additive and thus what they are claiming is not true
But what do I know
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby BriCan » Mon Oct 10, 2016 1:04 am

bacon.uk wrote:I myself worry more about the small risk from botulinum than that from nitrite.
May I suggest you cure your bacon in a open tray rather than in a bag which is so often used these days.
There are several reasons.
1. Putting the meat in a bag excludes air which is just the conditions in which botulinum thrive.


Salt plus cure will prevent this

2. I have concluded after many trials (I am just starting my 28th batch) that the flavour and texture
are much better when cured in an open tray.


After close to 1000kg a week for over 30 years I can quite honestly say there is no difference between open (tray - lugs in my case) and closed (vacuumed packed)

When I started curing my own bacon I used up to 6% of salt as I was concerned about keeping qualities. It was far to salty and I now use 3.7% and will probably cut down further in the future.


It truly surprises me that when people get down to 2% salt (plus the cure 0.25%) and taste for the first time the actual meat that is not masked by the high salt along with the spicing -- meat should always shine

I vacuum pack and freeze the sliced bacon and it keeps its flavour for at least 6 months.
for months is my recommendation to my clients

I have seen it suggested that bagging is necessary to prevent the nitrite contaminating other meat in the fridge. I regard this as complete nonsense.


There is a thing which is called flavour transfer which actually happens This is the reason one needs to keep things covered in the fridge at home --- Ever wondered why we do not store anything else but meat in our fridges/walk-in coolers

The bacon will certainly dry and mature in the fridge but hanging in a cool larder might be better. I will watch to see how you get on.


7 degrees C is the optimum temperature
But what do I know
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby wheels » Mon Oct 10, 2016 4:04 pm

Brican wrote:After close to 1000kg a week for over 30 years I can quite honestly say there is no difference between open (tray - lugs in my case) and closed (vacuumed packed)


It's often said that the open tray method produces a more tender bacon.

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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby bacon.uk » Thu Oct 13, 2016 3:16 pm

[quote][/quote]It's often said that the open tray method produces a more tender bacon.

In my experience that is true though I know BriCan does not agree. One other thing (trivial I know) but using the bag method produced a leathery rind when cooked whereas with the open tray method the rind was like crispy pork scratchings. I do not no why but I observed this over quite a number of batches.
I will never use the EQ method again
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Re: Nitrite Nitrate free Bacon

Postby Fingers » Fri Oct 14, 2016 12:01 pm

Just tried a bit,

It tastes good but its too salty, I would say 4% max for my taste, it is also not a nice pink colour. I also don't like the sweetness from the sugar. But on the whole its ok it will be eaten.

I will however be using cure#1 in future as I don't want it so salty, nor sweet and will be able to cold smoke if I like.

You dont know till you try I guess.
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