Don't keep us in suspense! What's 'Prague powder'?
Apparently Prague powder no. 1 is common salt, sodium nitrite, and a pinch of FD&C Red no. 3.
If nitrates are so disgusting, may I interest you in some grey bacon?
I always associated those things with Renaissance Fairs. Which is only natural, considering that people who equate "mythic middle ages" with "Renaissance" probably don't care that turkeys are a New World species.
They were eating dinosaur legs in the middle ages of which there are none now, so they picked a natural substitute. Duh!
Typo in the headline. You typed "disgusting" but the correct spelling is "delicious."
Its one of the more common curing products used for making things like bacon and sausage. The Red no3 is only to color the salt itself so you don't mistake for for regular table salt. And it isn't being added purely for color, it sets a particular color,texture and creates a specific "cured" flavor (think corned beef). Although probably not necessary here it also prevents botulism and other contamination when storing preserved foods.
If anyone's not into adding nitrites or nitrates to their meat direct you can do what the "uncured" cured products do. Add celery juice or powder. Thing is though that celery works here because its a massive natural source of nitrates. You'll cure the meat without adding instacure/Prague powder, but you'll lose any control of actual nitrate levels. You could end up with too little or far too much nitrate in there.
oh no oh no, it's cured meat!
Ohhhh I thought it said "plague powder," and was wondering if maybe they mine that stuff out back of the clown motel.
I don't know the real answer whether Sodium Nitrate/Nitrite is linked to cancers of the digestive tract. There are conflicting studies within the last 5 years on this and nobody has a slam-dunk definitive answer.
Also, Prague Powder is just a substitute for Mummy Powder.
Prague Powder is how smoked meat isn't filled with bacteria. They tinted it pink back in the day so people knew the meat was cured and safe for consumption, and has been around for well over a century at least.
as others may have said prague powder is dyed pink to make it obviously different from regular salt. In recommended quantities for curing meat (such as sausages, bacon, etc) it's perfectly fine. You just don't want to accidentally eat it by itself.
As for the debate on the health impact of nitrates/nitrites, keep this in mind--'uncured' products are labeled as uncured, even though they have the same amount of curing agents as 'pragued' products. The agents in uncured foods are just sourced from celery, which the FDA allows in it's packaging rules to be classified as uncured even though it's the same thing as prague powder.
i've had gout for 13+ years, and it isn't the curing agents that are a problem. it's the meat
(damnit, even thinking about it makes me want oysters, some sausage, and a pint o' stout)
As I understand it the association of dietary Nitrates (usually not nitrite) used in cured and preserved foods with cancers and other health issues is an outdated interpretation based on research from the 70's. The confusion seems to stem from studies indicating health problems from things like nitrate fertilizer infiltration in ground water, and high direct doses. As with all things dose makes the poison, the specific nitrate (sodium vs potassium etc) is important too.
Basically any food product with high enough levels to be dangerous (even over time) would be incredibly unpalatable. And you'd have to eat wildly impractical amounts of properly cured meats to have an effect. That's what I take away from it anyway, and that seems to be the consensus among doctors and professionals that don't have some interest in diet wonkery.
Precisely. If you ate enough cured food for the nitrates to be an issue your blood pressure would be 350/200 and you'd sweat ham juice.
The pink tint to the meat is from the direct action of the nitrate/nitrite. It occurs whether the powder is colored or not. The red/pink color added to modern mixed cure is intended to prevent you from mistaking it for regular salt. Just like these powders use salt as a carrier for the nitrate to help prevent over doing it. Its a safety/convenience thing largely for commercial producers. There shouldn't be enough color added to have any coloring effect on the meat.
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