CURING is any of various food preservation and flavoring processes of foods such as meat , fish and vegetables , by the addition of combinations of salt , nitrates , nitrites , or sugar , with the aim of drawing moisture out of the food by the process of osmosis . Many curing processes also involve smoking , spicing, or cooking . Dehydration was the earliest form of food curing. Because curing increases the solute concentration in the food and hence decreases its water potential , the food becomes inhospitable for the microbe growth that causes food spoilage. Curing can be traced back to antiquity, and was the primary way of preserving meat and fish until the late 19th century.
Nitrates and nitrites, in conjunction with salt, are one of the most
common agents in curing meat because they further inhibit the growth
MEAT PRESERVATION in general (of meat from livestock , game , and poultry ) is the set of all treatment processes for preserving the properties, taste, texture, and color of raw, partially cooked, or cooked meats while keeping them edible and safe to consume. Curing has been the dominant method of meat preservation for thousands of years, although modern developments like refrigeration and synthetic preservatives are now beginning to complement and supplant it.
While meat preservation processes like curing were mainly developed in order to prevent disease and increase food security , the advent of modern preservation methods mean that in most developed countries today, curing is instead mainly practised for its cultural value and desirable impact on the texture and taste of food. For lesser-developed countries , curing remains a key process in ensuring the viability of meat production, transport and access.
* 1 Necessity of curing
* 2 History
* 2.1 Traditional methods * 2.2 Middle Ages * 2.3 Early modern era
* 3 Chemical actions
* 4 Effect of meat preservation
* 4.1 On health * 4.2 On trade
* 5 See also * 6 Notes * 7 References * 8 Bibliography * 9 External links
NECESSITY OF CURING
Untreated meat decomposes rapidly if it is not preserved, at a speed that depends on several factors, including ambient humidity , temperature, and the presence of pathogens . Most meats cannot be kept at room temperature in excess of a few days without spoiling, even in winter.
If kept in excess of this time, meat begins to change colour and exude a foul odour, indicating the decomposition of the food. Ingestion of such spoiled meat can cause serious food poisonings, like botulism .
While the short shelf life of fresh meat does not pose a significant problem when access to it is easy and supply is abundant, in times of scarcity and famine, or when the meat must be carried over long voyages, it spoils very quickly. In such circumstances the usefulness of preserving foods containing nutritional value for transport and storage is obvious.
Curing is able to significantly extend the life of meat before it spoils, by making it inhospitable to the growth of spoilage microbes.
A survival technique since prehistory , the conservation of meat has become, over the centuries, a topic of political, economic, and social importance worldwide.
Food curing dates back to ancient times, both in the form of smoked meat and salt-cured meat .
Several sources describe the salting of meat in the ancient
Diodore of Sicily in his Bibliotheca historica
wrote that the Cosséens in the mountains of
A trade in salt meat occurred across ancient Europe. In
The smoking of meat was a traditional practice in North America,
In Europe, medieval cuisine made great use of meat and vegetables, and the guild of butchers was amongst the most powerful. During the 12th century, salt beef was consumed by all social classes. Smoked meat was called carbouclée in Romance tongues and bacon if it was pork.
The Middle Ages made pâté a masterpiece: that which is, in the 21st century, merely spiced minced meat (or fish), baked in a terrine and eaten cold, was at that time composed of a dough envelope stuffed with varied meats and superbly decorated for ceremonial feasts. The first French recipe, written in verse by Gace de La Bigne , mentions in the same pâté three great partridges, six fat quail, and a dozen larks. Le Ménagier de Paris mentions pâtés of fish, game, young rabbit, fresh venison, beef, pigeons, mutton, veal, and pork, and even pâtés of lark, turtledove, cow, baby bird, goose, and hen. Bartolomeo Sacchi , called Platine, prefect of the Vatican Library , gives the recipe for a pâté of wild beasts: the flesh, after being boiled with salt and vinegar, was larded and placed inside an envelope of spiced fat, with a mélange of pepper, cinnamon and pounded lard; one studded the fat with cloves until it was entirely covered, then placed it inside a pâte.
In the 16th century, the most fashionable pâtés were of woodcock,
au bec doré, chapon, beef tongue, cow feet, sheep feet, chicken,
veal, and venison. In the same era,
Pierre Belon notes that the
EARLY MODERN ERA
During the Age of Discovery , salt meat was one of the main foods for sailors on long voyages, for instance in the merchant marine or the navy . In the 18th century, salted Irish beef, transported in barrels, was considered finest.
Scientific research on meat by chemists and pharmacists led to the creation of a new, extremely practical product: meat extract, which could appear in different forms. The need to properly feed soldiers during long campaigns outside the country, such as the Napoleonic Wars, and to nourish a constantly growing population often living in appalling conditions drove scientific research, but a confectioner, Nicolas Appert , in 1795 developed through experimentation a method which would become universal and in one language bears his name: airtight storage, called appertisation in French.
With the spread of appertisation, the 19th-century world entered the era of the "food industry ", which developed new products such as canned salt meat (for example corned beef ), but also led to lowered standards of food quality and hygiene – such as those Upton Sinclair described in The Jungle . These bad practices led to the creation of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906, followed by the national agencies for health security and the establishment of food traceability over the course of the 20th century. It also led to continuing technological innovation.
Main article: Salting (food)
The sugar added to meat for the purpose of curing it comes in many
forms, including honey , corn syrup solids, and maple syrup .
However, with the exception of bacon, it does not contribute much to
the flavor, but it does alleviate the harsh flavor of the salt.
NITRATES AND NITRITES
Nitrates and nitrites not only help kill bacteria, but also produce a
characteristic flavor and give meat a pink or red color. Nitrite
2) is generally supplied by sodium nitrite or (indirectly) by
potassium nitrate .
The use of nitrite and nitrate salts for meat curing goes back to the Middle Ages, and in the US has been formally used since 1925. Because of the relatively high toxicity of nitrite (the lethal dose in humans is about 22 mg/kg of body weight), the maximum allowed nitrite concentration in meat products is 200 ppm . Plasma nitrite is reduced in persons with endothelial dysfunction .
The use of nitrites in food preservation is controversial due to the potential for the formation of nitrosamines when nitrites are present in high concentrations and the product is cooked at high temperatures. The effect is seen for red or processed meat, but not for white meat or fish. Nitrates and nitrites may cause cancer and the production of carcinogenic nitrosamines can be potently inhibited by the use of the antioxidants Vitamin C and the alpha-tocopherol form of Vitamin E during curing. Under simulated gastric conditions, nitrosothiols rather than nitrosamines are the main nitroso species being formed. The use of either compound is therefore regulated; for example, in the United States, the concentration of nitrates and nitrites is generally limited to 200 ppm or lower. They are considered irreplaceable in the prevention of botulism from consumption of cured dry sausages by preventing spore germination.
Main article: Smoking (cooking)
Smoking helps seal the outer layer of the food being cured, making it
more difficult for bacteria to enter. It can be done in combination
with other curing methods such as salting. Common smoking styles
include hot smoking, smoke roasting (pit barbecuing) and cold smoking.
The smoking of food directly with wood smoke is known to contaminate the food with carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons .
EFFECT OF MEAT PRESERVATION
Since the 20th century, with respect to the relationship between diet and human disease (e.g. cardiovascular, etc.), scientists have conducted studies on the effects of lipolysis on vacuum-packed or frozen meat. In particular, by analyzing entrecôtes of frozen beef during 270 days at −20 °C (−4 °F), scientists found an important phospholipase that accompanies the loss of some unsaturated fat n-3 and n-6, which are already low in the flesh of ruminants .
In 2015, the International Agency for Research on Cancer of the World Health Organization classified processed meat, that is, meat that has undergone salting, curing, fermenting, and smoking, as "carcinogenic to humans".
The improvement of methods of meat preservation, and of the means of transport of preserved products, has notably permitted the separation of areas of production and areas of consumption, which can now be distant without it posing a problem, permitting the exportation of meats.
For example, the appearance in the 1980s of preservation techniques
under controlled atmosphere sparked a small revolution in the world's
market for sheep meat: the lamb of
* Food portal
* ^ In time the original term came to mean salted fish only, whereas salted meat was called kreas tarichrou (κρέας ταριχηρὸν), according to Athenaeus of Naucratis in his Deipnosophistae, IV, 14.137f (en ligne)
* ^ A B "Historical Origins of Food Preservation." University of
Georgia, National Center for Home Food Preservation. Accessed June
* ^ A B C D E Ray, Frederick K. Oklahoma Cooperative Extension
Service (PDF) (Report). Oklahoma State University. Retrieved 15
* ^ A nomadic shepherd people, considered by classical authors to
be made up of warriors et de brigands, was the object of a victorious
Alexander the Great
* ^ Kleinbongard P, Dejam A, Lauer T, Jax T, Kerber S, Gharini P,
Balzer J, Zotz RB, Scharf RE, Willers R, Schechter AN, Feelisch M,
Kelm M (2006). "Plasma nitrite concentrations reflect the degree of
endothelial dysfunction in humans". Free Radical Biology and Medicine
. 40 (2): 295–302. PMID 16413411 . doi
* ^ A B Kuhnle GG, Bingham SA; Bingham (2007). "Dietary meat,
endogenous nitrosation and colorectal cancer". Biochemical Society
Transactions . 35 (Pt 5): 1355–1357. PMID 17956350 . doi
* ^ Bingham SA, Hughes R, Cross AJ; Hughes; Cross (2002). "Effect
of white versus red meat on endogenous N-nitrosation in the human
colon and further evidence of a dose response".
Journal of Nutrition .
132 (11 Suppl): 3522S–3525S. PMID 12421881 . CS1 maint: Multiple
names: authors list (link )
* ^ Parthasarathy DK1, Bryan NS; Bryan (2004). "Sodium nitrite: the
"cure" for nitric oxide insufficiency".
* This article was partially translated from the French.