I love when something new comes across my inbox. There are so many people in culinary arts trying to move forward and hone their craft. This week someone asked me about using acids as a “cure accelerator”. First off “cure accelerator” is a super cool term. Second off, cures are not short term processes. So having something to accelerate the process could help a lot of people. I looked into this to see exactly what was a cure accelerator.
“ What is a cure accelerator?”
In long term dry cures prague powder #2 is used. Prague powder 2 contains both sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite. Enzymes in the meat convert the sodium nitrate into sodium nitrites. A cure accelerator is an acid that is added for the next step in the process. Ascorbic acid or glucono delta lactone speeds up the next conversion. Generally the fermentation process will cause the pH to drop and at a lower ph the sodium nitrite will convert to nitric acid. Now by adding an acid such as ascorbic acid or glucono delta lactone it will speed up the slowest part of the curing process. The addition of 1g of ascorbic acid or GDL to 2.5 kg of meat will help the sodium nitrite convert to nitric acid. Nitric acid then reacts with the myoglobin in the blood which prevents it from turning that unpleasant brown/grey color when cooked. Now this does not have to be applied to every piece of meat that is cured. Any short term or small batch cure will be just fine without needing an additional acid. But if you are attempting to make your first full leg of prosciutto or even on a commercial scale this may be a great little trick to help you speed up the process and make sure you nail it everytime!
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