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Cured Duck/Duck Prosciutto Without Nitrates

 
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We have a few threads that touch on this, but most of the recipes there include nitrates it seems. I am trying to find a way to convert my excess muscovies into delicious cured meats for my family. Does anyone have some recipe suggestions/ideas for how to do this? Are there any books that you recommend for going nitrate free?
 
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Every recipe I've seen that claimed to be "nitrate-free", was actually using natural sources of nitrates instead. Is that what you're looking for. Or did you need it to have no nitrates, natural or otherwise?
 
James Landreth
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Ellendra Nauriel wrote:Every recipe I've seen that claimed to be "nitrate-free", was actually using natural sources of nitrates instead. Is that what you're looking for. Or did you need it to have no nitrates, natural or otherwise?




Honestly, I don't know. I have read nitrates are bad for you and was thus hoping to avoid them. Are there some (naturally-derived) nitrates that aren't harmful? Or was what I reading not accurate, maybe? Thank you for raising the question
 
Ellendra Nauriel
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James Landreth wrote:


Honestly, I don't know. I have read nitrates are bad for you and was thus hoping to avoid them. Are there some (naturally-derived) nitrates that aren't harmful? Or was what I reading not accurate, maybe? Thank you for raising the question




Excessive amounts of any kind of nitrates are bad for you, because the kidneys filter them out, and they can only handle so much at a time. But the dose makes the poison.

There are nitrates in a lot of foods, but they're most concentrated in green leafy vegetables. So in order to avoid nitrates entirely, you'd have to avoid some of the healthiest foods there are.

Most "nitrate-free" cured meats in the store will have something like celery juice on the ingredients list. They use a concentrated form of it, and it would have been tested first so they could be sure it had the right amount of nitrates to make the recipe safe.

You can use the juice from just about any green leafy vegetable to do the same job, but without a way to test the nitrate concentration, it might be a bit of a gamble. I've never tried such a recipe, and I'm having trouble finding any of the ones I remember seeing. I'll keep an eye out, though, in case I find them again.
 
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I think the pdf at this lonely thread has info about salt curing & smoking meats. Here's the first thing that popped up ...


Easy Method of Preserving Meat in the Country, for a Few Days, without Salt and without Ice.

Put the meat into the water running from a spring. It will sink -- examine it daily -- when it begins to rise from the bottom it must be used; it will be found perfectly sound and tender, and may be boiled or roasted. Meat may be preserved in this manner 3 or 4 days in summer-time, free from taint. The outside will appear somewhat whitened, but the flavor is not injured. It would be advisable to have a box or tub, with a cover, into and out of which the water shall have free passage, which may be put either inside or outside of the spring-house.



Another quote in case of using animal fat for lighting ...

To Prevent the Smoking of a Lamp.

Soak the wick in strong vinegar, and dry it well before you use it; it will then burn both sweet and pleasant, and give much satisfaction for the trifling trouble in preparing it.

 
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From memory, I think the River Cottage curing and smoking book was all nitrate-free, with no celery juice or other nitrate sources added. I can't remember if it had any recipes for duck though.
 
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