Seasoning & Additives 103 - The Importance of Salt

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Seasoning and Additives

    Seasoning and Additives 103 - The Importance of Salt

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    Why Is Salt So Important?

    What spices are used in a seasoning will differ from product to product and between flavor profile but the #1 ingredient in almost every seasoning will be Salt. Aside from being very useful as a flavoring agent, it is also used as a preservative, and it has some other benefits and uses as well. Salt is used to enhance flavor and improve the basic meaty taste. Salt can reduce the bitterness of certain flavors and enhance the sweetness in other flavors if you’ve ever heard of people salting watermelon or chocolate milk this is why they do it. If you’ve never done that I suggest you try it, it will give you a better understanding of this. Basically, the presence of salt activates or tricks a taste receptor in your mouth into being more sensitive to a sweet flavor.

    Salt is typically known as Sodium Chloride, and the sodium in salt is what gives flavor, while the Chloride is what provides most of the other functionality in salt. It is also one of the oldest forms of preservation and still plays an important role in increasing shelf-life of meats and other food products. It can reduce and prevent the growth of microbes, which in turn increases the shelf-life of food products. Salt can also inhibit pathogens during the fermentation process in meat snacks, and it cooperates with nitrites in preservation, and when both salt and nitrite are used in the correct levels, they can increase the effectiveness of preservation by 3 to 5 times compared to just using one or the other. Salt also increases the water holding capacity of meat products, which allows for a greater yield in the final product, plus a moister texture and juicier final product.

    Other Benefits

    Another benefit of salt is the binding and meat emulsifying functions it provides. Salt can help water, fat, and proteins bind together more efficiently and produce a better texture in processed meats. Finally, we get to appropriate usage levels for salt in meat products. Salt in seasoning added to meat products is typically added at a usage level of 1.6% to 2.2%. 1.6% is what might be suggested as the lowest limit of usage where the flavor is truly impacted in a meaningful way to really be able to taste the effect. From 2 up to 2.2% is the amount typically seen and used that most people will find most beneficial from a taste aspect. Some sausage formulations may be less than 2.2% and some meat products up to a 3% usage level though. It still does depend on the type of meat product being created.
    Overall, salt is used in meat products for the flavor enhancement, preservation and shelf-life benefits, plus for the benefits in binding proteins and added water holding capacity.

    Isn’t Salt A Mineral?

    Technically yes, Salt is not a spice or seasoning, it is a mineral and because of this, it does not lose its flavor over time. However, for our purposes, we refer to it as a spice as that is what it is most commonly used for in our industry.

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  • Team Orange

    If salt is in your seasoning, do you still have to use sure cure or will the salt preserve it. If so how long will it preserve?

  • Team Orange Walton's Employee Admin

    BJ Anderton Salt does have some preservation properties, but if you are making a product that is typically cured, I would still use sure cure. It helps fight, prevent, and retard growth of botulism spores and does a much better job in preserving the meat product. Many cured products don’t ever get hot enough to kill botulism, so Sure Cure plays an important role in preventing its growth. The toxins from botulism are one of the main causes of food poisoning every year, so sure cure can really help control that and make a safer product. Sure Cure can also help fight rancidity and preserve flavors as well. If you only used salt as a preservative, you would need to use a much larger quantity of salt than you would use in the average seasoning blend. Salt and nitrite in Sure Cure, used in conjunction, is the best way to preserve and cure meats.

  • Team Blue Admin Walton's Employee Power User

    Even I had to upvote that comment from Austin

  • How much salt is in your seasoning? Maybe you can give a percentage based on volume in a package. I’m asking because I’m finding some sausages taste more salty than others.

  • Lumberfish said in Seasoning & Additives 103 - The Importance of Salt:

    How much salt is in your seasoning? Maybe you can give a percentage based on volume in a package. I’m asking because I’m finding some sausages taste more salty than others.

  • Canning Dry Cured Sausage Primo Grills Team Blue Sous Vide Power User Cast Iron

    Lumberfish There has been many discussions about the amount of salt in Excalibur Seasonings. I think the launch code for a nuclear bomb is easier to obtain.

    About the only solution that I can suggest is for the seasoning blends that you find too salty is to go to the drawing board and create your own recipe.

    Many suggestions were offered by the community. I, for one, feel that if I have to cut back the amount of blend to reduce the salt content and add additional spices to get the flavor I want, well I might as well just mix my own.

    I’m very much in favor of Excalibur Seasonings offering salt free and stating a recommended amount of salt to add. I can only guess that by doing it the way they do, it makes it more difficult to backwards engineer the recipe ( but not impossible).

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Regular Contributors Veteran

    Chef I have cut a lot of salt out of my diet, so I find premix seasonings usually on the salty side, That is a good idea to cut back on how much you use (sort of a base) and then add your own spices.

  • Regular Contributors Power User

    Some baseline level of salt has to be there for preservation, binding, and lastly for flavor.
    I feel pretty sure that on some seasoning packs they add salt in amounts that far exceed the preservation and binding requirements.
    Since the last one, flavor, is subjective it would be nice if they cut back on the amount of salt and then let the end user add their own salt up to the maximum amount of the original formula.
    Can always add an ingredient more easily that remove it.

  • processhead That makes sense to me, having a minimum and maximum salt that could be added to some much seasoning would be great. It would cheaper to ship too since spices weight much less than salt.

  • Canning Dry Cured Sausage Primo Grills Team Blue Sous Vide Power User Cast Iron

    processhead It is a given that some salt is essential to sausages, and preserving meat of all types. Lumberfish Your observation that minimum levels could be either added or recommended is exactly what I think. Salt is likely one of the larger volume component of many of the spice blends. If everything was sold without salt with instructions of a recommended minimum salt to add, the packaging should be smaller and thus less expensive. But again, I believe they don’t want to do that because of backward engineering, i.e. trying to prevent people from duplicating the recipe.

    Another solution is that Many seasonings are not too solvable in COLD water, at lease if rinsed rapidly. One could take the blend and shake it in cold water and then filer. Most of the salt would dissolve and the balance mainly being seasonings. Not exactly great science, but would at lease approximate it. Could evaporate the rinse water and get an approximate level of salt.

    Still, with all that, I would love to see Excalibur offer salt free blends, allowing the consumer to control the salt level.

  • Team Orange Power User Canning Masterbuilt Regular Contributors Veteran

    Chef I agree that would be really great for people trying to cut back on salt.

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