Salt curing is known as one of the most efficient methods of preserving meat. It help to keep the meat longer. But how long does salted meat last?
The lifespan of salt-cured meat depends on how it is cured and stored. Properly curing and storing the meat can extend its shelf life to over a year. Freezing the cured meat is the best way to extend its shelf-life.
In this post, we will discuss everything you need to know about storing salted meat, how long you should expect it to last under different conditions, and much more. Let’s get started.
How Long Does Salted Meat Last?
Even though salted meat can go for a long time without going bad, you should not expect it to last forever.
The shelf life of salted meat varies for different meats. Salted pork, for instance, can go for 4 to 6 months refrigerated and even longer frozen. If the pork has been dry-cured or cured with salt brine properly, you should expect that it will last around one and a half years. After that period, you will lose the benefits that pork has.
However, if the meat is unrefrigerated, you will find some salt pork that will easily go bad after around 2 weeks.
How long the salted meat lasts will depend on several factors, such as curing process. It also depends on the amount of bacteria inhibition.
It is very important that you know how the salted meat is cooked properly so that you do not have any contamination problems. If you do it right, you will really appreciate the results.
Understand Why Salt-Cured Meat Have Long Shelf-Life
Meat is one of the foods that spoil very easily. The main reason why meat spoils that fast is that it has a lot of moisture.
If you need the meat to last a long time, it is advised that you try curing it. That is done by using salt.
The first thing you need to know is that meat only spoils because of bacteria growth.
The bacteria will ingest the meat from the inside, and the resulting metabolism is the reason why you will find some signs of the meat spoiling, such as flavor, texture, as well as smell changes.
So why is the salt responsible for the long shelf life? Through osmosis, salt will extract water and moisture from cells. That helps in two main ways.
It will kill the bacteria because water will be extracted from their cells as well. Additionally, the water removed will leave dry meat that will last longer.
Types of Salt-Cured Meats
There are different types of salt-cured meats out there. One of the most popular forms of this meat is the one prepared by salt-curing the pork belly using smoke and sugar.
You can have a ham that is easily prepared by seasoning a hog’s thigh using salt, smoke, sugar, and a couple of other seasonings.
There are types of this meat, including prosciutto, which is also air-dried so that it lasts a bit longer.
Another type of salt-cured meat is corned beef. This one is prepared by soaking beef brisket inside a solution with sugar and salt. The solution is known as brine.
Italian salami, a type of salted meat, is made using pork or ground beef that is combined with animal fat and different seasonings.
It is then put in a case. For the fermentation to begin, it is hung in a certain controlled space. The more it ferments, the dyer it becomes.
Most people have come across Mexican chorizo. But have you tried Spanish chorizo? If you like cured meats, this is one you should try out.
It is made using pork, and there are spicy and sweet types. One of them uses paprika as the main ingredient.
Bacon is also very popular. It has a savory, salty, and smoky flavor that will make anything delicious.
It is made with some smoked pork belly even though there are those made with different meats like lamb or even turkey.
You will also find liverwurst that is made using pork or even pork liver. Soppressata is made using pork thigh and is cured with salt and red pepper.
How Is Salt-Cured Meat Used?
You can make different meals with salt-cured meat. One simple dish involves wrapping a prosciutto strip around some fruit like pears or melon.
There are also meals such as spaghetti carbonara which is an Italian dish that uses salt-cured pork coupled with finely diced guanciale, cheese, as well as yolks.
Salt-cured sausage can also be used together with smoked paprika and chorizo to make a Spanish omelet.
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Salted meat is rich in Sodium! The high sodium intake makes it unsuitable for some people with hypertension, chronic heart disease, and chronic kidney disease.
So, in such cases, people need to be wary of the serving size of meat.
It is important that you learn how to cook with salted meat properly to avoid any sort of contamination.
It is also recommended that you check out the proper way to salt and store the meat so that it lasts a longer time without any growth of mold or bacteria.