Incubation of curing brines for the production of ready-to-eat uncured ham
The effect of salt level, vegetable juice powder (VJP) and temperature were investigated in a preliminary study to determine optimum conditions needed during the incubation of curing brines including VJP and a starter culture containing Staphylococcus carnosus for the production of "uncured" no nitrate/nitrite-added meat products. Subsequently, incubated curing brines were utilized to produce no-nitrate/nitrite-added ham in which quality characteristics and residual nitrite concentrations were measured. Two ham treatments (SC: VJP and starter culture containing Staphylococcus carnosus; PC: pre-converted VJP) and a nitrite-added control (C) were used for the study. No differences (P>0.05) were found between treatments and control for CIE L* or TBARS values. Residual nitrite concentration was greater (P<0.05) in the control hams during the first week of storage. Although nitrite in the control remained at relatively greater concentration throughout storage, the difference was not statistically significant after the first week. At day 42 of storage, the control (C) treatment retained significantly (P<0.05) greater a* (redness) values than either the SC or PC treatments.