Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Rory Hart

Curing Salmon in a Ziploc bag

Recommended Posts

I am following the directions in Ruhlman and Polcyn's Charcuterie for the fennel cured salmon and am wondering if it is okay to cure the salmon in a ziploc bag. I regularly use ziplocs to cure bacon so I'm thinking there probably isn't any issue. They talk about using foil but that seems less convenient and I can get most of the air out of a ziploc so the cure covers the salmon more evenly.

Anyone have any thoughts?

Thanks

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I can think of two potential issues. I normally wrap my salmon in something semi-porous (e.g. foil or plastic wrap), then place it in a bowl, with a smaller plate on top of it, with a weight on the plate. This produces a lot of liquid which weeps out of the fish and into the bowl. Crucially, the liquid can escape whilst most of the cure is still held against the fish. The liquid is emptied every day during the curing process. In fact the whole idea for curing fish this way (with a weight pressing down on it) is to get rid of as much moisture as possible so that you can achieve the signature texture of cured salmon.

The first issue - if you use a zip-lock bag, your fish will be in contact with the liquid throughout. It will eventually reach an equilibrium and the fish will not weep any more moisture. Given how delicate fish is, this equilibrium will probably be reached very quickly - perhaps in less than a day. You may actually find this desirable but it will change the result.

The second issue - make sure your zip-lock bag will maintain the seal when you weigh it down with a heavy weight. You don't want it to burst and spill fishy liquid in your fridge ...

BTW another Melbournian ... welcome! :)


Edited by Keith_W (log)

There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I have been using Freezer type Zip Lock bags for years for all my curing including whole sides of salmon.

Presently I have a half of a whole brisket (120 cut) curing in A 2 GAL FREEZER ZIP LOCK in a large Pyrex baking dish to catch any leakage.

I have had absolutely no problems with using Zip Locks and the only potential problem might be any leaching of chemicals from the Zip Lock materail but since Zip Locks are designed for food, I have to assume this does not occur to where it amounts to much and I don't have the equipment to detect any leaching anyway.

Use the Zip Lock for your Salmon, you actually require less salt/water as the Zip Lock keeps the fish in contact with the solution. Just put the bag in another container to catch any leakage and turn very few days.-Dick


Edited by budrichard (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done plenty of cures in vacuum bags, where the same principle applies: it works very well, in my opinion, and I find the resulting texture to be excellent.


Chris Hennes
Director of Operations
chennes@egullet.org

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

The first issue - if you use a zip-lock bag, your fish will be in contact with the liquid throughout. It will eventually reach an equilibrium and the fish will not weep any more moisture. Given how delicate fish is, this equilibrium will probably be reached very quickly - perhaps in less than a day. You may actually find this desirable but it will change the result.

This different to what Charcuterie says:

Pan size is important, because the fish will release a lot of liquid, forming in effect a highly seasoned brine in which it will cure; and you want the brine to cover as much of the fish as possible.

BTW another Melbournian ... welcome! :)

Yay! I've seen a couple of us around, not surprising given what a foodie town this is especially atm with the festival on and the likes of Bourdain and Oliver on our streets and in our restaurants.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, OK. I was taught to make gravlax by a friend's mother and that's what she said :) I suppose that might be an old wives tale then. The next time I make a batch, I will try it in a zip-lock bag.

Oh and BTW Oliver and go back to the UK! I can't stand him :P


There is no love more sincere than the love of food - George Bernard Shaw

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hmm, OK. I was taught to make gravlax by a friend's mother and that's what she said :) I suppose that might be an old wives tale then. The next time I make a batch, I will try it in a zip-lock bag.

Oh and BTW Oliver and go back to the UK! I can't stand him :P

It is probably a difference in curing processes.

I don't mind Jamie, he is an excellent advocate for people thinking about what they eat. His recipes generally aren't overly exciting but they're solid and straight forward.

That said I'd kill (a pig or two) to hang out with Bourdain. Didn't bother getting tickets to his show, I've watched so many of them already I don't think I would get anything out of it. But chatting to him over a beer (or meal) would be freaking awesome.


Edited by Rory Hart (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Looking forward to seeing how it turns out.


Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
My eG Foodblog

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Turned out beautifully!

The salmon came out of the bag a touch over seasoned at the tail end and I only cured it for two of the recommended three. The fleshy 2/3s were delicious however and I served it last night as tartare with toast points and creme fraiche as suggested in Charcuterie. Will do the tail for a day less next time. I also stored it after washing in ziploc bags with the air pressed out for 4 or so days and they were just as good as when they went in. No idea about longer.

548e51826b6e11e180c9123138016265_7.jpg

I think I will* do the dice smaller than that next time it was a little hard to manoeuvre on the plates and didn't hold its shape well when formed with a ring.

* It was so delicious and simple (apart from the forward planning and skinning) that I have to do this dish again.


Edited by Rory Hart (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I've done salmon in a dry cure and in a wet brine. They both work but there are textural differences.

Starting with a dry cure in a bag gives the effects of both methods to an extent

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

What sort of textural differences?

when using a brine to cure the salmon the texture is softer, wetter and silkier. When you use a dry cure, the fish firms up more due to the loss of moisture. My most recent attempt started with a10% brine for 24hr followed a dry cure for 24 hrs. This helped firm up the fish without making gummy bear salmon which I find happens with a 3 day dry cure


Edited by scubadoo97 (log)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

  • Similar Content

    • By Glen
      Looking to learn and ask questions about home curing meats.  I have an 11 lb batch of genoa salami going and it is my first batch.  Worried about the PH level not dropping as needed.  Need some advice.   I followed the Marianski recipe exactly.  I have a pH meter and the starting point was 6.15pH which I thought was unusually high.  2.5 months in, I am about 73% of starting weight yet my pH is only 5.88pH.  My curing chamber is consistently at 57deg. F. /80% humidity.  My pH tester seems calibrated properly using the calibration solutions.  I am using the meat probe adapter and just sticking it in the salami until the tip is submerged etc...Thanks in advance for any suggestions or reassurances. 
       
      Glen

    • By liuzhou
      It is possibly not well-known that China has some wonderful hams, up there with the best that Spain can offer. This lack of wide -knowledge, at least in the USA, is mainly down to regulations forbidding their importation. However, for travellers to China and those in  places with less restrictive policies, here are some of the best.
       
      This article from the WSJ is a good introduction to one of the best - Xuanwei Ham 宣威火腿  (xuān wēi huǒ tuǐ) from Yunnan province.
      This Ingredient Makes Everything Better
      I can usually obtain Xuanwei ham here around the Chinese New Year/Spring Festival, but I also have a good friend who lives in Yunnan who sends me regular supplies. The article compares it very favourably with jamon iberico, a sentiment with which I heartily agree.



      Xuanwei Ham
       

      Xuanwei Ham
       
      more coming soon.
       
       
    • By Daily Gullet Staff
      by Chris Amirault

      Anyone who wants to write about food would do well to stay away from similes and metaphors, because if you're not careful, expressions like 'light as a feather' make their way into your sentences and then where are you?

      - Nora Ephron

      I attended a training last fall at which we were asked to share an object representing something important about mentoring, our focus for the week. I suspect that few in the workshop had difficulty coming up with their tape measures, baby photos, and flower pots, but I usually find this sort of assignment challenging, preferring simple denotations to forced connotations.

      On the drive home, I rolled down the windows, sensing that the air was turning slightly crisp and cool. I savored that harbinger of autumn in New England, when my thoughts turn to braises, stews and charcuterie. After a summer of keeping the oven off in my non-air-conditioned kitchen, I dreamed of daubes, considered new curries, and generally jonesed for the promise of meat to come.

      And then I realized that I had a perfect metaphor for mentoring: my 5 lb. vertical sausage stuffer from Grizzly Industrial, Inc. The next day, I lugged the apparatus to the training, hiding it behind a door for fear of ridicule. When my turn arrived, I hauled it out and clunked it down dramatically on the center table. "Good mentoring is like a sausage stuffer," I said, "for at least ten reasons:

      + + +

      That's the article as I started writing it. But over time, Nora's words came to haunt me. The whole shtick began to smell a bit fishy, and I began to fear that, like many tropes, this metaphor turned attention away from a trickier, worrisome truth hiding in plain view.

      But unlike many tropes, the worrisome truth I was hiding is in the object, and not the subject, of the metaphor. That is, the metaphor wasn't really about my relationship to mentoring. It was really about my relationship to sausage.

      Imagine the scene: I whip out my sausage maker and give ten reasons why my metaphor is bigger and better than everyone else's. (I did mention that I was the only man among three dozen women in that training, didn't I?) Laugh if you want, but one's sausage is important to many a man. A quick perusal of this topic reveals that I'm not alone. (You did notice the gender breakdown in that topic, didn't you?)

      Last weekend, while in the unfinished basement of a chef buddy, talk turned to our sausages, and before long we four charcuterie nuts were looking at our feet and commiserating about our failures. We shared a bond: our sausages had the better of us, and we knew it. Pathetic though it is, are you surprised that I felt a deep sense of relief, even of control, when I walked through my ten reasons? My metaphor afforded me a rare opportunity to feel superior to the process of sausage-making, and believe me, that doesn't happen often.

      My name is Chris A., and I have sausage anxiety.

      Read that list up there about my sausage maker, the instrument that I describe with distanced assurance. It's a ruse, I tell you. No matter how often I try to buck up, no matter how definitive a recipe, no matter how wonderful a pork butt or a lamb shoulder, when it comes to making sausages, I go limp with worry.

      Can you blame me? Look at all the places you can screw up, where your sausage can fail you utterly and leave you in tears.

      You grab some wonderful meat, hold it in your hands, appreciate its glory. Chill. You grind it, add some fat, and sprinkle some seasoning, whatever the flesh requires. Chill again. Slow down, contemplate the moon or something. You paddle that meat to bind it, melding flavor and texture seamlessly. Chill some more. What's your hurry? Toss a bit into a skillet, ask: are we ready? and adjust as needed. Stuff away. Then relax. If you can.

      I can't. You need to keep things cool to take care of your sausage, and it's challenging to stay cool when I'm all a-flutter about the prospect of a culminating, perfect, harmonious bind. If you read the books and you watch the shows, everyone acts just about as cool as a cucumber. But that's not real life with my sausage.

      It's a frenzy, I tell you. I know I should chill and relax, but I get all hot and bothered, start hurrying things along, unable to let the meat chill sufficiently, to take things slowly. Hell, I'm sweating now just thinking about it.

      I have to admit that I don't have this sausage problem when I'm alone in the house, have a couple of hours to kill, and know I won't be disturbed. I just settle in, take it nice and slow, not a care in the world, and everything comes out fine. But with someone else around, forget about it.

      Despite this mishegas, my wife is as supportive as she can be. She humors me patiently about these things, gently chiding, "Slow down! The house isn't on fire. It's just your sausage." Though I know she loves me despite my foibles, that sort of talk just adds fuel to that fire -- I mean, she can speak so glibly because it's not her sausage we're worrying about.

      Even if I am I able to relax, the prospect of sudden, precipitous sausage humiliation comes crashing down upon me. Think of it. All seems to be going so well -- a little too well. I'm keeping things cool, making sure that I'm taking it easy, following the plan step-by-step, trusting my instincts. I smile. I get cocky.

      And then, the frying pan hits the fire, and within moments I'm hanging my head: instead of forming a perfect bind, my sausage breaks and I break down. I want a firm, solid mass, and I'm watching a crumbly, limp link ooze liquid with embarrassing rapidity.

      Given my gender, in the past I've tried to subdue sausage anxiety with predictable contrivances: machines, science, and technique. If there's a tool or a book useful for perfecting my sausage, I've bought or coveted it. I calculate ratios of meat, salt, cure, sugar, and seasonings past the decimal; I measure out ingredients to the gram on digital scales; I poke instant-read thermometers into piles of seasoned meat; I take the grinder blade to my local knife sharpener to get the perfect edge. (We've already covered the stuffer above, of course.) I've got a full supply of dextrose, Bactoferm, and DQ curing salts numbers 1 and 2. The broken binding of my copy of Michael Ruhlman's Charcuterie has xeroxes and print-outs from eight other sources, and the pages are filled with crossed-out and recalculated recipes.

      It's the sort of thing that I used to do when I was younger: arm myself with all things known to mankind and blast ahead. It hasn't helped. I've learned the hard way that my hysterical masculine attempt to master all knowledge and technology has led, simply, to more panic and collapse.

      There is, I think, hope. I'm older, and my approach to my sausage has matured. I'm in less of a hurry, I roll with the challenges, and when the house is on fire, I just find a hydrant for my hose.

      If things collapse, well, I try to take the long view, recall the successes of my youth, and keep my head up. I mean, it's just my sausage.

      * * *

      Chris Amirault (aka, well, chrisamirault) is Director of Operations, eG Forums. He also runs a preschool and teaches in Providence, RI.
    • By Tara Middleton
      Alright so as of a few months ago, I decided to take an impromptu trip to Europe--mostly unplanned but with several priorities set in mind: find the best food and locate the most game-changing ice cream spots on the grounds of each city I sought out for. One of the greatest, most architecturally unique and divine cities I have visited thus far has gotta be Vienna, Austria. But what in the heck is there to eat over there?! (you might ask). 'Cause I sure as hell didn't know. So, I desperately reached out to a local Viennese friend of mine, who knows and understands my avid passion for all things edible, and she immediately shot back some must-have food dishes. Doing a bit of research beforehand, I knew I had to try the classic "Kasekreiner". Please forgive my German if I spelled that wrong. But no matter how you say it- say it with passion, because passion is just about all I felt when I ate it. Translated: it basically means cheese sausage. Honestly, what is there not to love about those two words. Even if that's not necessarily your go-to, do me a favor and give it a shot. Trust me, you won't regret it. A classic Austrian pork sausage with pockets of melty cheese, stuffed into a crisp French Baguette. No ketchup necessary (...and as an American, that's saying a lot). YUM. Best spot to try out this one-of-a-kind treat?! Bitzinger bei der Albertina – Würstelstand. Now here's a shot of me with my one true love in front of this classic Viennese green-domed building-- Karlskirche. Now, go check it.
       
       

    • By DanM
      One of the surprises from our move to Switzerland is the availability of kosher charcuterie. Sausages of all types, confit, mousse, rietttes, etc... One of the recent finds is this block of smoked beef. It has a nice fat layer in the middle. Any thoughts on how to use it? Should I slice it thin and then fry?
       
      Any thoughts would be appreciated.
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...