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Vinegar - Natural Source For Curing Pork

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“Vinegar – Natural Source for Curing Pork” announced a newspaper headline.  Being a green lover I was enthusiastic to know how was vinegar useful as a natural source for curing pork. The article was well written and it gave out a wonderful way of curing pork using natural preservatives.  I thought of sharing the wisdom with other friends too, who are enthusiastic to adopt green ways of preserving meats.


“Organic”, “Natural”, “Green”, are some of the buzzwords that have slowly crept into our food culture. Eaters are getting conscious about the vegetables they eat. And at times, this consciousness rubs on the meats too. Off late, there has been lots of negative publicity about the authenticity of the organic meat, but still its popularity refuses to subside.  


The popularity of organic meats like pork has increased manifolds since last many years.  The organic pork differs by the regular pork in many ways. Regular pork is fed on grains and carbs. The fertilizers, fungicides, herbicides, and pesticides used to nurture the grain, is stored in the body of the animals. But meats labeled as organic are derived from animals that are fed on grass. Similarly a meat cannot be termed “organic,”   “free range,” and “pasture fed” if they contain any kind of preservatives. The same applies in case of pork too, that means they should not be cured using nitrate and nitrite. Generally nitrate and nitrite are used for curing pork.  This gives real headache to the organic meat producers because they often struggle to find the suitable replacement for the nitrite and nitrate.


Scientists at Iowa State University have found a solution that vegetable juice powder can be used to cure meats. The vegetable powder can have same effect as the nitrate, but nothing can compensate for the nitrite. That means the cured pork is vulnerable to bacterial attack.  Joe Sebranek, a distinguished professor of animal science, food, nutrition at Iowa State University, have found a solution to the problem. Joe Sebranek has worked with Food Safety Consortium to devise a potential solution to save pork from bacterial inflammation.  After  a series of researches, Sebranek suggests that, Vinegar can be used as a natural source for curing pork.  He suggests infusing the vinegar -lemon powder and vinegar –lactate to form a mixture, which can be used to cure pork products.  He says that vinegar has anti-microbial properties, and it possesses power to inhibit the growth of bacterial pathogens such as Listeria monocytogens (which usually grows in non-preserved meats). Still vinegar cannot mimic the effect of nitrite that is conventionally used to cure pork products.


Sebranek says: “With a naturally fermented vinegar product, you have a mixture of organic acids. It’s not typically used as a preservative, but it provides some of the organic acids that are recognized antimicrobials. There’s a mixture in that kind of a product that essentially provides a preservative effect.” Scientists are also researching about the possibilities of using cranberry extracts to cure pork.  Sebranek says that he and his team are working hard to provide same level of protection as the conventionally cured porks.


If the experiments find success then, we can expect to savor the cranberry flavored meats in the near future. 


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Vinegar - Natural Source For Curing Pork