PDV Salt with anti-caking agent? I thought it was pure!!

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PDV Salt with anti-caking agent? I thought it was pure!!

Postby Seedy » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:52 am

Hi all, my name is Seedy and I’m new here at the forum although I have occasionally lurked in the past – there’s some great information here!

I have some questions about salt types – or rather I’m a little confused having just received a delivery of Pure Dried Vacuum (PDV) salt.

OK, I’m not completely new to charcuterie having made successful salami, bresaola, lomo, coppa etc. over the past few years. I am wanting to step it up a notch with some larger cuts (I have a whole pork leg arriving tomorrow) so I ordered a 12.5kg bag of PDV salt from Amazon UK (as recommended in the River Cottage curing book). In the past I have just used coarse sea salt from the supermarket but that works out comparatively expensive.

Anyway, I was under the impression that PDV salt was a pure product but it in fact contains an anti-caking agent (E535). It’s advertised as pure salt but looking closely at photos of all the different brands available on Amazon, they all contain anti-caking agent(s). This leaves me somewhat confused as I thought the whole idea of using a ‘pure’ product was to avoid such additives. And in the River Cottage book there are numerous references to using ‘PDV or other additive free salt’.

So my questions are:
- Is there such a thing as additive-free PDV salt??
- Is there any benefit to using PDV salt over other types? I don’t think I’ve seen PDV salt recommended anywhere other than in the River Cottage book.
- Is the 1.5kg bag of table salt with anti-caking agent costing 80p at my local Tesco any different from the PDV salt costing twice as much per kg?
- Is there any scientific evidence that anti-caking agents affect the taste or curing process in any way?

Tomorrow I want to start curing a Tyrolean speck-style ham (and smaller cuts too) so I need a reasonable quantity of salt for those. I’m not sure whether to return the PDV salt and go back to my usual coarse sea salt for now, or to use the PDV salt because - if it’s OK for the very successful River Cottage restaurants - then it must be OK for me.

Thank you for any insights.

Cheers!
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Re: PDV Salt with anti-caking agent? I thought it was pure!!

Postby RodinBangkok » Sat Oct 07, 2017 3:03 pm

No need to worry the amount of water in the meat will inundate any additive that absorbs moisture in your salt, so in very general terms your salt contains a fraction of one percent additive and you use probably around 2% salt while the water content of your meat is around 80%.
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Re: PDV Salt with anti-caking agent? I thought it was pure!!

Postby Seedy » Sat Oct 07, 2017 10:57 pm

Hi Rod,

Thanks, I appreciate the reply and get the gist of what you're saying, but you didn't actually answer any of my questions.

I understand that we're dealing with very small quantities of salt and even smaller amounts of additive. But I'm interested in finding the best salt for my purposes. Every book I've read about charcuterie recommends using additive-free salt. I thought PDV Pure Dried Vacuum salt must be good as I presumed it was pure and it is recommended in a high-profile book.

Upon purchasing a big bag of PDV salt, it seems that's not the case.
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Re: PDV Salt with anti-caking agent? I thought it was pure!!

Postby NCPaul » Sun Oct 08, 2017 12:02 pm

I always took additive free to mean "salt without iodine". I just checked my box of kosher salt and it has the same additive as your PDV.
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Re: PDV Salt with anti-caking agent? I thought it was pure!!

Postby RodinBangkok » Sun Oct 08, 2017 10:46 pm

Seedy wrote:Hi Rod,

Thanks, I appreciate the reply and get the gist of what you're saying, but you didn't actually answer any of my questions.

I understand that we're dealing with very small quantities of salt and even smaller amounts of additive. But I'm interested in finding the best salt for my purposes. Every book I've read about charcuterie recommends using additive-free salt. I thought PDV Pure Dried Vacuum salt must be good as I presumed it was pure and it is recommended in a high-profile book.

Upon purchasing a big bag of PDV salt, it seems that's not the case.


Well in direct reply we use only pure sea salt, we know its pure because we get it directly from the salt marshes here. We pay $0.50/kg. Now can you get this where your at I'm not sure, as the price increase they put on sea salt is ridiculous, and I would not pay it if we could not get it direct at a cheap price, I'd go with what I can get and if it had a bit of anti caking agent in it I would not fret about it.
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Re: PDV Salt with anti-caking agent? I thought it was pure!!

Postby wheels » Sun Oct 08, 2017 11:23 pm

I would take whatever RC advise with a...

Traditional curers like the great Maynard Davis, and other curing exerts wouldn't be found dead using PDV. Although, it is still salt. So will still work. The RC argument in it's favour is that it's a standardised product.

This flies in the face of everything about traditional products where we seek out those nuances that keep the product the same, but vary just that little bit between batches.

Buy quality salt without additives. If you want cheap, maybe French or Israeli in large bags.

At the moment, I'm buying Trapani sea salt at a reasonable price. I do equilibrium cures, so don't need massive amounts, but even a salt box cure wouldn't be too expensive.

If you want quality, PDV isn't the place to start. Look at the quality dry cured meats - Bayonne Ham, Parma ham, Iberico - none of them use it.
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