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The Ingredients for Preserving Foods

The Ingredients for Preserving Foods

Salt is one of the ingredients used in preserving foods.

Culinary Institute of America

Tinted cure mix, pink cure, and prague powder I

A blend of agents, also known simply as “TCM” or “Insta-cure #1,” combines 94 percent sodium chloride (salt) and 6 percent sodium nitrite. It is tinted pink (by adding FD&C#3) to make it easily identifiable and thus help avoid its accidental use. When used at the recommended ratio of 4 oz /113 g TCM to each 100 lb / 45.36 kg meat (or 4% of the total weight of meat), the meat is treated with only 6.84 g of pure nitrite, or slightly less than 1/4 oz.

Prague powder II

Prague Powder II, or Insta-cure #2, contains salt, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, and pink coloring. It is used to make dry and dry-fermented products. The longer curing and drying periods require the presence of the nitrate in order to cure the meats safely.

Cure accelerators: sodium erythorbate and ascorbate

Both sodium erythorbate and ascorbate are cure accelerators and work together with the nitrite to enhance color development and flavor retention in cured foods. They have also been shown to inhibit nitrosamine formation in cooked bacon. Since the 1950s federal regulations have permitted a measured amount of either ascorbic acid, sodium ascorbate, or sodium erythorbate to be included in commercially prepared cured meat.

These cure accelerators do have some of the same reddening effects as nitrites and nitrates, though the effect is temporary. More importantly, they cannot be used to substitute for nitrites or nitrates when those ingredients are called for in order to properly preserve or cure foods.

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