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How do I remove salt from a meat product?

Becky Asked:
How do you get salt our of a ham while you cook it?

We Found:
One of the most practical ways to remove salt is to wash the ham with a stiff bristled brush, removing as must salt as possible. Another popular way to remove salt is to cut large chunks of potatoes and place in the soup, allow it to simmer and the potatoes will absorb the salt. Also, ginger ale has been used to reduce salt content.

Removing salt from a meat product without making any other ingredient changes may affect the product texture, taste, microbiological quality and processing characteristics. While small changes can be achieved without a marked effect, larger changes require careful product reformulation with adjustment of a wide range of the ingredients to ensure that they end product has similar characteristics. This may take a considerable time and requires food technologists to develop recipes that maintain the desired product characteristics. Product testing including microbiological shelf life testing, is often required and this can be costly and time consuming, particularly for smaller processors.

Salt is added to sausages, bacon and ham for two main reasons:
1) As a natural preservative, salting is one of the most traditional ways of preserving food. Removal of all, or a large portion of, salt from sausages could lead to food safety problems
2) Taste and texture, salt is a natural flavor enhancer, which contributes to the taste of sausages and also to the texture of many sausages

The very nature of bacon and ham depends on the use of salt.

Fresh Red meat (pork, beef, and lamb) is naturally very low in sodium, a component of salt. Some meat products contain no added salt. Current food labelling regulations do not require the sodium content of food to be listed unless a nutrition claim is made on food packaging. If sodium or salt content is to be declared it has to be indicated in terms of sodium. Consumers need to look at the label and convert sodium (given as grams per 100g, ie percentage) to salt by multiplying by 2.5. Some manufacturers also voluntarily express this information in terms of the equivalent amount of salt.

Some powerful food poisoning organisms such as botulism can grow more readily in the absence of salt. If salt is removed from products alternative means of controlling these organisms must be introduced.

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Posted by on 12/29 at 09:41 AM
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