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New Bacon

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 00:38
by Rick
I've been seeing advertisements on the front of bacon packages that they contain no nitrites/nitrates. The ingredients specifies celery juice I believe.

Can anyone expound on the use of celery juice? Is this something that we home sausage makers can use?


Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 00:47
by Darwin
The packages are misleading, celery has naturally occurring nitrate and that is why they are using it.
Here is a link to an article on the subject. ... red-meats/

The smart folks will be along shortly. :wink:

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 01:16
by Gulyás
I also think it's misleading. Tricky-Dicks at work.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 01:30
by Butterbean
Since no smart person has chimed in yet I'll do my rant.

Its a play on semantics. For some reason the FDA doesn't believe in chemistry and thinks a product that has 10 times the nitrate in it as does traditionally made bacon has no nitrate in it if the nitrate comes from a secondary source.

Its like the Kool Aid the libtards want people to drink and the pixie dust and unicorns they all seem to think are so wonderful.

This really gets my goat. These same people will bash you for making something safe because we use the very thing they are over using. This mindset really gets my goat.

Recently I was doing a good deed and supplying food for a school function - at my expense. Parent came to my wife and told her that her child had special dietary needs. Said she was deathly allergic to nitrates and we were going to have to make arrangements for her. It was her right since it was a school function. My wife caved and did as she requested and drove miles out of her way to get a special salad she demanded. Compare the nitrate level in iceberg lettuce to say a hotdog. Idiots! (its a good thing the lady didn't confront me)

Just wait, in a few years we will need to go through a five day training course and be charged a licensing fee to buy and use curing salt and then have to pay continuing ed fees to keep our licenses.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 01:43
by Darwin
Sad to see insults and politics brought into this...

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 02:37
by Butterbean
I would love to hear your explanation Darwin. Please.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 11:12
by Rick
Butterbean commented,
"Just wait, in a few years we will need to go through a five day training course and be charged a licensing fee to buy and use curing salt and then have to pay continuing ed fees to keep our licenses."

Now I think there is some truth to this statement and we should all be vigilant in regards to this aspect to our hobbies.

I believe all things that make you think have some good, even politics! In these times one has to always be conscience of changes in ones surroundings.

I suppose one could say the same about MSG, a product that comes from beets. To one it's a deadly poison, to another it's a great flavor enhancer.

I'm neither for or against the use of celery juice. The questions I'd have are, does it work, is it readily available at a cheaper price one for one with cure, and is it easy to use.

So until I get some good honest (?) data regarding it, I'll have to pass, besides, I've got a life time amount of cure to first use up!

Now as a side note and a pet peeve of mine, ever wonder why a homemade loaf of bread can mold in 4 days and a store bought loaf is still good after 3 weeks??? I'm a avid home bread baker also!

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 12:13
by Bob K

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 14:38
by Shuswap
Darwin wrote:Sad to see insults and politics brought into this...
But if you read the McGill article quoted above you find the sentiment that there is a difference between ideology and science and the tirade against nitrates/nitrites is often just that.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 14:50
by Butterbean
Rick wrote: I believe all things that make you think have some good, even politics!

I'm neither for or against the use of celery juice. The questions I'd have are, does it work, is it readily available at a cheaper price one for one with cure, and is it easy to use.

I don't care for politics but the food industry is ripe with it and apparently there is no escaping it. To think otherwise would be naive because all one needs to do is look at what's happened to the small meat producers in this country. Or more recent, the new regulations on cheese production making centuries old techniques illegal.

I have no problem with the celery juice either but why can't we be honest? Is TRUTH in labeling just a some feel good piece of regulation that has no real substance?

So what are we to do? Sit idly by and bite our tongues and allow all this misinformation lead to more stringent regulation based not on science but public perception based solely on ignorance? Ignorance that some in this business have no problem capitalizing on. Where will the line be drawn or will it ever? I think Marianski has done a fabulous job providing science based information regarding food safety and meat production and its a shame that more people haven't done the same.

There are a lot of people who want a better product. More control over how their food is raised and how its prepared. I'm all for it. BUT I want it to be done honestly. I refuse to be party to deception to subsidize inefficiency or poor quality.

You might call me a pessimist but in actuality I am a disillusioned idealist who has lived long enough to see the damage unjust regulation created due to public ignorance only to see it harm the very industry it was intended to protect. Its a sad day when you find yourself sitting in a mandatory meeting listening to someone from the federal government telling you how you can legally lie and be able to get more for your product just by twisting the facts to sell some feel good nonsense such as this nitrate free nonsense. But its ok because this what the people want. Its this feeling they are willing to pay for. Not the truth. But if one believes this is right then I guess they would have no problem with my peeing on their head when they are praying for rain.

Another question I have is this. If nitrates/ites are as bad as they have led everyone to believe and we have such strict allowable limits we are allowed to use else a run be deemed unfit for human consumption, why then is it permissible for nitrate free products to be sold on store shelves that have tested up to ten times the allowable limits?

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 15:35
by Baconologist
re: nitrite/nitrite free nonsense.

Just to clarify...
If the label reads "No Nitrates or Nitrites Added*" there has to be a caveat "*Except for the naturally occuring nitrate in celery powder (or whatever)"

In answer to Ricks question, yes you can certainly use celery powder, but it's not considered an effective cure....most certainly not in the context of butulinum toxin control.

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 17:55
by Rick
Good post Bob. So from what Bob has said, it doesn't sound as though celery powder is worth monkeying around with. That's what I wanted to know.

I really think now a days, big meat retailers like anything else have looked for ways to cheapen up a product to where it no longer resembles what we remember from the "old days". I'm not so sure sausage makers from 50-75 years ago had all these additives, soy powders, etc.

Young folks, due to no fault of their own, just don't have the experience of the "old days" and therefore accept what is put out today as gospel because they have nothing to compare it to.

Therefore, I've always made a point to stop and listen when some good ol boy starts talking, as there can be something to learn from what's said. What's really nice is when you can sit and pick his brain, then you've got something.

That's why I love conversing with Gulyás about sausage, garlic, headcheese, etc. he's one of you old boys that's got it together, AND willing to share it before it's lost in time!

Posted: Tue Sep 23, 2014 19:44
by Shuswap
Michael Ruhlman has a great rant on this subject:

Posted: Wed Sep 24, 2014 05:40
by Cabonaia
Celery juice powder is more expensive than cure #1, and it tends to harden up once you open it. It does work in terms of curing meat, but there is no precise way to measure it. If you are concerned about eating nitrites it is the last thing you should use. (While you're at it, stop eating vegetables.) A friend of mine wanted to learn to make sausage, but he and his wife were convinced that nitrites had given their young daughter's migraines. I gave him the full sermon on the silly trust in celery juice, but it was his wife's opinion that the nitrite in celery is from "natural" sources and so is ok. I did inform that nitrites are mined, and they get from mine to fertilizer to celery to bacon, but anyway, they were still more comfortable with the celery juice. I can't blame them - why would they listen to me? From their youth the evils of cured meats have been pounded into them.

We had a great time making sausage. Since that time, they have decided that their daughter's migraines are from something else, but they do have a lot of rather expensive, rock hard celery juice powder to use up! We're going to get together again soon to make sausage, but I won't touch that celery juice myself.

My wife has bought some pastrami and roast beef of the "no nitrites added" variety. It's always shimmery green if you look at it right, which signals too much nitrite. Ha!

In the end, I am of the same mind as Butterbean. It's important to tell people what you know, so that the lunacy we tolerate doesn't end up controlling us. So many of the old ways of cooking and preserving that have been demonized all of my life I am now finding out are actually the best. Lard is better for you than vegetable oils, margarine and Crisco will kill you (anyone remember when margarine was a health food?), pickles are good for you (my doctor once told me not to eat them!), meat and dairy and eggs are good for you. It seems a safe bet to take the expert food wisdom of the day and do the opposite - you will be in good stead! The rule seems to apply to raising kids, too, but I digress............