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Foods -- Meat and Poultry

What are the ingredients for cured meats?

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To begin with, there are several methods for curing meats. Dry cures, pickle cures, and combinations of the two. Various cures (curing salt mixtures) are available for household curing but all contain salt, sweetener, and nitrate. Optional ingredients include spices, baking soda, phosphates, sodium erythorbate, sodium ascorbate, hydrolyzed vegetable proteins, and monosodium glutamate. There are many different types of cured meats and so there are many instructions. It is important that the dry cure or the pickle cure have adequate salt present to prevent the growth of harmful microorganisms. Therefore, be certain to recommend research-based instructions, such as those that you can find through many state extension services. We do not have any current fact sheets regarding how to cure meats but I can send materials from other states, if needed.

PREPARED BY: Angela M. Fraser, Ph.D., Associate Professor/Food Safety Specialist, NC State University in July 2004

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