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Salt Varieties used for curing, pickling and fermenting.


RobertCollins
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I have recently started using a variety of different salts in my kitchen; most notably Himalayan Sea Salt. I'm told that the salt is about 50-50% NaCl and KCl [sodium and potasium chlorides]plus many minerals..

Well I got to wondering if it would make a difference in ferment, in this case, Sauerkraut. The same would appear to me to need answered with cured meats and, for sure fermented sausage.

Now people have been curing since at a few days before Rhulmann's book so they must have gotten salt from every thing from their local seawater to like near where my wife and I grew up ,Boonville MO where a spring is real salty and at a State Park [boonslick SP]near there still exists a cauldron that is at least 6' across for cooking down the salt water. I'm sure that these varied places and their salts had lots of varied mineral content. How did this effect the pickles?

I really have no idea how it would or if it does change things from the Diamond Kosher Salt methodology.

Edited by RobertCollins (log)

Robert

Seattle

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Lots of folks use Himalayan pink sea salt or Celtic sea salt for fermenting vegetables.

I don't know about it's use in cured meats, I use Mediterranean sea salt.

~Martin

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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i said above: "I'm told that the salt is about 50-50% NaCl and KCl [sodium and potasium chlorides]plus many minerals.."

I got to thinking about that so I called a company that sells a lot of bulk salts, Saltworks, in Woodinville WA. They informed me that Himalayan Sea Salt is at least 98 % NaCl and if not, it was cut.

If that is the case, the only real worry then is what would those other 2% minerals do to flavor. Martin above says he is using Med sea salt for at least veggies.... I'd like to hear any other experiences you have.

Robert

Seattle

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  • 6 months later...

Well, this spring I did a 5# kraut using Napa cabbage and it was kraut, I couldn't taste or see a difference.

Now this summer I pickled some garlic and the Himalayan pink sea salt did not all desolve and the pink showed on the outside -but not the interior - of the garlic.

ETA: Thinking that this was not complete I just went into the pantry reefer and opened one of the jars. No the salt pink didn't matter but the garlic clove did NOT work with the Petite Sirah I am sipping, yuck.

Edited by RobertCollins (log)
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Robert

Seattle

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I use Mortons Canning and Pickling salt for brines and curing. It's all salt and dissolves better than Kosher salt. I like to use Kosher salt on things like steak because it doesn't dissolve into the meat the same way as table salt. I use Himalayan salt as a finishing salt only. It looks nice that way and just provides (expensive) salt flavor in any other application that dissolves the salt.

Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
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I like the idea of using a colored salt to affect the color of the pickle. That could be fun! Pink and white kraut, anyone?

RobertCollins, did you ever try cooking or pickling with the saltwater from the spring near Boonville? It sounds like it could be a local's Secret Weapon.

I can't help with any of your questions, but I too would like to hear others' experiences.

Nancy Smith, aka "Smithy"
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"Every day should be filled with something delicious, because life is too short not to spoil yourself. " -- Ling (with permission)

"There comes a time in every project when you have to shoot the engineer and start production." -- author unknown

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No it hasn't been operated as a salt - I don't know what to call it- prosessing place in more years than I have been around. If you should get to that part of the world, the place is Booneslick State Park. It is a few miles west of a town called New Franklin, MO.

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Robert

Seattle

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Important point. We may be discussing two different things.

"Pink salt" (aka Prague Powder or Instacure ) used for meat curing contains nitrates and is dyed pink to distinguish it from table salt. It wouldn't work for a fermented product because it kills bacteria.

Other pink colored salts have no nitrate and wouldn't cure meat to preserve it. Use them to do corned beef and it would be brown not reddish.

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I use Tender Quick for true curing things like Canadian bacon and a little of it mixed in with salt for corned beef.

ps I don't think there is any bacteria in salt 'ferment' either. Pickles, Kraut and kim che aren't 'spoiled' or fermented per se but rather salt preserved.

Someone can educate me if I am wrong but I've made those things and wine and beer too and they are totally different.

Edited by Norm Matthews (log)
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Sauerkraut is fermented, that's why it takes so long. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sauerkraut

A quick pickle with vinegar and salt is complete in hours not weeks/months that kraut and traditional kim che takes.

edited to add: http://forums.egullet.org/topic/23301-sauerkraut/

Edited by gfweb (log)
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I found that Himalayan Pink Sea Salt is called Pink Salt. I know it isn't #1 cure but honest that is what is on the Sea Salt package.

I buy most of my salts from Saltworks [seasalt.com] and that is what their catalog on the site and packaging label Himalayan Sea Salt. I would be really bent if I tried to make bacon with it.

Robert

Seattle

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"Pink salt" (aka Prague Powder or Instacure ) used for meat curing contains nitrates and is dyed pink to distinguish it from table salt. It wouldn't work for a fermented product because it kills bacteria.

Yet it is used in fermentation because it's only effective in controlling certain bacteria reliably and much of that is only in synergistic conjunction with effective levels of salt, acidity, etc.

Having said that, nitrite/nitrate isn't essential in all meat curing, some meats are cured with just salt, but, unfortunately, where nitrite/nitrate is needed for safety's sake, some of the fancy "pink" salts are sometimes confused with nitrite/nitrate salt and that could be very dangerous!

Edited by DiggingDogFarm (log)

~Martin :)

I just don't want to look back and think "I could have eaten that."

Unsupervised, rebellious, radical agrarian experimenter, minimalist penny-pincher, and adventurous cook. Crotchety, cantankerous, terse curmudgeon, non-conformist, and contrarian who questions everything!

The best thing about a vegetable garden is all the meat you can hunt and trap out of it!

 

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I found that Himalayan Pink Sea Salt is called Pink Salt. I know it isn't #1 cure but honest that is what is on the Sea Salt package.

I buy most of my salts from Saltworks [seasalt.com] and that is what their catalog on the site and packaging label Himalayan Sea Salt. I would be really bent if I tried to make bacon with it.

Yeah I know. Very very confusing.

Himalayan Pink Sea Salt is not a curing salt.

If pink curing salt were used in some quantity as a seasoning salt without converting all the nitrate it is conceivable that it could make someone sick by screwing up their hemoglobin. Probably takes a good quantity, but still...

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There are a series of bacteria that grow in kraut fermentation; one following the other as pH lowers and favors one type over another. Each adds flavor as the carbs are digested from the cabbage. The goal isn't alcohol as with yeast fermentation, but acid production as well as flavors. An added preservation benefit is removing the "easy" carbohydrates that bad bacteria can utilize.

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