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Thread: UnCured Bacon Myth> Celery Powder as a "natural cure"

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    TVWBB 1-Star Olympian Bob Correll's Avatar
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    UnCured Bacon Myth> Celery Powder as a "natural cure"

    I think many of us knew about the myth of "uncured" bacon being sold.
    This is an interesting article in today's paper:
    The curious case of the great celery powder scam


    Some key points from the article:

    "And remember, sodium nitrate occurs naturally in things like spinach. And carrots. And radishes. And beets. And celery.

    No one has ever suggested these healthful vegetables give you cancer, right? How can they be loaded with sodium nitrate and not be harmful?
    The answer is that these vegetables with sodium nitrate also have ascorbic acid (vitamin C), which helps to inhibit the creation of nitrosamines. Although a link between nitrosamines and cancer in humans has not been absolutely established, studies have shown that it is likely enough that the USDA now requires vitamin C or vitamin E to be added to bacon to counteract the potential effects of the nitrates and nitrites."

    "Celery powder, which is the powdered form of celery juice, sounds like a good thing. It’s natural. Celery is good for you. Adding it can only improve your health.

    Except it doesn’t. Celery powder is positively loaded with sodium nitrate. Depending on the soil and conditions in which the celery was grown, celery powder can actually add more sodium nitrate to bacon than the meat-packers do when they add pure sodium nitrate.
    And because the celery powder is technically considered a flavoring agent instead of a preservative, which is what it is being used for, the uncured bacon does not have to have the vitamin C or vitamin E added to it."

    It has me thinking it might be a good idea to add vitamin C (ascorbic acid) to our cures.
    I've done a little digging but haven't found in what proportion it should be used.

    edit, I did find this chart:

    Food Amount of Nitrites/Nitrates (ppm)
    Bacon 200
    Spinach 500-1900
    Celery 900-1400
    Lettuce 600-1700
    Radishes 1500-1800
    Last edited by Bob Correll; 03-08-2017 at 07:05 AM.

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    TVWBB Emerald Member Bob Ivey's Avatar
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    I say this, everyone should leave us alone to enjoy our bacon!!!!!!
    For my birthday party in a week and a half, we are doing brisket and ribs. If anyone doesn't like it they don't have to eat it. Just means more leftovers for us.

    I remember when butter was evil and margarine was what was recommended. Now they say butter is good for us. In twenty years, they will find that bacon is really good for us. I would rather live a happy life than one that is deprived just because someone says what I want to eat is not as healthy for me. Sorry for the rant.
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    I love bacon and make my own.
    I rather use sodium nitrite than celery powder as you don't know the exact concentration of sodium nitrite in celery powder, so consequently, you don't know if you are overdosing or underdosing.......

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    TVWBB Hall of Fame JimK's Avatar
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    Really interesting about the vitamin C. So, perhaps we're doing more harm than good by making our own. (although the taste is so much better) Thanks for sharing, Bob.
    ; ; ;

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    The Ascorbic acid theory for reducing nitrosamines was interesting, so I googled "Nitrosamines and ascorbic acid" to see if I could figure out how much AA to add to the cure.
    Apparently, in a perfect world, and the laboratory, AA DOES reduce nitrosamine formation, BUT..... In the presence of fat, the AA has been shown to INCREASE the nitrosamine levels, by a lot, and as we know, cured meat has plenty of that.

    So... it looks like a positive study, was sunk by further investigation.

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    Interesting...being in the industry I have always found this almost comical how the general public thinks that because it is " natural or uncured" that these products are healthier when in fact the nitrite level in finished product is often higher than products cured with the sodium for of nitrite/nitrate.
    Regarding AA also seen on meat labels as Sodium erythorbate, it is also used as a cure accelerator.
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    Forgot to mention the same hold true with Swiss chard as an alternative to celery powder
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    TVWBB Guru Timothy F. Lewis's Avatar
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    I don't think I want to try "Swiss chard bacon".
    That said, I do intend to get my new bullet working on some bacon soon! But, not this weekend.
    Distinguebant Sed, Ignoret In Particulari!
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    Moderator Chris Allingham's Avatar
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    An interesting article on "uncured" products that really are cured, from US News & World Report: Do Nitrates Makes Hot Dogs Worse? Some hot dogs are now made without added nitrites. Are they any healthier?

    Oscar Mayer is touting its new hot dog recipe that uses nitrite derived from celery juice instead of artificial sodium nitrite, which is used to preserve the pinkish colors of processed meats and prevents botulism. Kraft Heinz, which owns Oscar Mayer, says sodium nitrite is among the artificial ingredients it has removed from the product to reflect changing consumer preferences. The change comes amid a broader trend of big food makers purging ingredients that people may feel are not natural.

    But nitrites are nitrites — and the change makes little difference — according to those who advise limiting processed meat and those who defend it.

    Kana Wu, a research scientist at Harvard's school of public health, said in an email that it is best to think of processed meat made with natural ingredients the same as those made with artificial nitrites.
    And I love this little nugget from meatscience.org, emphasis added by me:

    The USDA has defined Standards of Identity for processed meats, and the standard of identity of some products, including frankfurters, ham, and bacon, states that they are cured. The USDA further defines cured meats as those that include the addition of sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, potassium nitrite or potassium nitrate. If a product defined as cured in its standard of identity is manufactured without one of the USDA recognized curing ingredients, the manufacturer must include “uncured” following the product name and “no nitrate or nitrite added except those naturally found in (added ingredients)” on the product label. Due to this regulation, cured meats produced with an alternative curing methods are required be labeled as “uncured” and “no nitrate or nitrite added” even though they have cured meat characteristics and contain residual nitrite and nitrate that is indistinguishable from those found in traditionally cured products.

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