Salt is a common ingredient used in preserving. However, there are a variety of different types of salt, so you need to ensure that you use the correct one for your method of preserving. You might be wondering whether canning salt or pickling salt is the same as curing salt. Canning salt is not the same as curing salt.
What Is Canning Salt?
Canning salt is often also referred to as pickling salt. This type of salt is made up of very small particles that have the ability to dissolve quickly and easily. That’s why canning salt is often used to make the brine that is used for canning vegetables.
This type of salt is also commonly used for fermenting vegetables, such as cabbage, in order to make sauerkraut. You’ll also find that pickling salt, unlike table salt, has no additives such as anti-caking agents.
Additionally, canning salt does not contain iodine as this is not recommended for canning or pickling because it can discolor the vegetables that are being canned or pickled. Therefore, canning or pickling salt is nothing more than pure salt in a form that can dissolve quickly.
Apart from canning salt, you can also use other pure unadulterated salts, such as pure sea salt and kosher salt, for canning and pickling. You just need to ensure that the salt you use has absolutely no additives.
What Is Curing Salt?
Curing salt is another form of salt that is a mixture of common table salt and sodium nitrate. These types of salts, and there are different varieties, are generally used for curing or preserving meats such as salami and ham.
The reason that sodium nitrate or nitrite is added to these salts is that it inhibits bacteria from growing on the meat while it is curing. It does this by drying out the surface of the meat, as moisture offers the perfect environment for bacterial growth.
The addition of sodium nitrate to curing salt also turns the meat a red color which makes it more appealing and more flavorful.
You can easily identify curing salt from regular salt because it is dyed pink. However, this is not to be confused with Himalayan salt, which is also often pink.
The grains in curing salt are also coarser than canning salt and are similar in size to common table salt.
Can Curing Salt And Canning Salt Be Substituted For Each Other?
You should definitely not substitute canning salt with curing salt, as these are two different products and have quite definitive uses. However, canning or pickling salt can be substituted for table salt if you happen to run out.
The only negative of using canning salt instead of table salt is that the pickling salt is likely to form clumps as it does not have any anti-caking agents. To overcome this, store your canning salt in an airtight container and add a few grains of rice. The rice will absorb any moisture and stop the salt from clumping.
On the other hand, curing salt should never be used for any purpose other than for curing meats. This is because the addition of sodium nitrate causes a chemical alteration in the salt, and this could be harmful to your health if used in any other way.
In fact, many people who are concerned about the possible health risks of using curing salt have looked for alternatives that may offer a safer option.
Alternatives To Curing Salt
Here are some common alternatives that you might consider instead of using curing salt for preserving meats at home.
Saltpeter is potassium nitrate. It has been used since the middle ages as a preserving agent. Like the sodium nitrate in curing salt, it, too, dries out the surface of the meat and draws out the moisture to inhibit the growth of bacteria. It is ideal for use on meats that will be cooked after they’re cured.
Non-iodized Sea Salt
Coarse sea salt can also be used to cure meats, but the meats should be cured for a shorter time to limit bacterial growth. However, avoid using sea salt that has been fortified with iodine, as this can taint the taste of the meat.
Celery Juice Or Powder
Both powdered celery and celery juice are often used by commercial operations to cure meat. This allows the operators to mark their cured meats as “nitrate-free” for health-conscious consumers.
Celery actually contains nitrate but in a natural form. However, if using this method at home, you need to consider that it is not possible to ascertain how much nitrate the celery juice or powder contains. So, you need to take care to ensure that the meat has not become tainted with bacteria.