What is the difference between cured and uncured meat?

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The difference between cured and uncured meat probably isn’t what you think it is.

All meat starts out uncured. Curing is the process of preserving meats through the application of chemicals, acid, salt, and/or sugar to remove water and prevent spoilage. So, all preserved meats are cured, right? Wrong! Keep reading…..

 uncured hot dog wieners
A pack of uncured hot dog wieners.

CURED VS. UNCURED

Amazingly, some obviously cured meats such as ham, bacon, etc., are sold as uncured in grocery stores. This is a regulatory quirk and marketing gimmick created by consumers demand to eat healthier and consume fewer chemicals in general. It’s a quirk because these meats are obviously preserved, but celery juice (or celery powder), rather than nitrites, is used to cure the meat. The naturally occurring nitrates in the celery juice turn into nitrites during the curing process, however, because nitrites technically haven’t been “added” by the manufacturer, the meat can be labeled as uncured even though the meat has been cured.

Whether nitrites and nitrates are a good or bad thing isn’t an easy answer. It largely depends on what foods they came from, how the meat was processed, the particular person ingesting them, etc.

INTERESTING FACTS
  1. Mustard is the most popular hot dog topping.
  2. Hot dogs were brought to space on the Apollo 11 mission.
  3. No one knows the exact origin of hot dogs.
INTERESTING VIDEO

INTERESTING REFERENCES
  1. WiseGeek.com – What is the difference between cured and uncured bacon?
  2. LiguriaFoods.com – UNLOCKING THE MYSTERIES OF CURED VS. UNCURED MEAT
  3. Healthline.com – Cured vs. Uncured Bacon
  4. MentalFloss.com – 7 Fascinating Facts About Hot Dogs

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