Salting (food)

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Sea salt being added to raw ham to make Prosciutto.
Bag of Prague powder #1, also known as "curing salt" or "pink salt." It's typically a combination of salt and sodium nitrite, with the pink color added to distinguish it from ordinary salt.

Salting is the preservation of food with dry edible salt.[1] It is related to pickling (preparing food with brine, i.e. salty water). It is one of the oldest methods of preserving food,[1] and two historically significant salt-cured foods are dried and salted cod (usually referred to as salt fish) and salt-cured meat. Vegetables such as runner beans and cabbage are also often preserved in this manner.

Salting is used because most bacteria, fungi and other potentially pathogenic organisms cannot survive in a highly salty environment, due to the hypertonic nature of salt. Any living cell in such an environment will become dehydrated through osmosis and die or become temporarily inactivated.

It was discovered in the 19th century that salt mixed with nitrites (saltpeter) would color meats red, rather than grey, and consumers at that time then strongly preferred the red-colored meat.[1]

Religious customs[edit]

Jewish and Muslim dietary laws require the removal of blood from freshly slaughtered meat. Salt and brine are used for the purpose in both traditions, but salting is more common in Kosher Shechita (where it is all but required) than in Halal Dhabiha (as in most cases, draining alone will suffice).

See also[edit]