What is Cured Versus Uncured Bacon Jam?

Bacon jam is a hot commodity right now. This delicious condiment combines sweet, savory, and smoky flavors with the crispness of well-cooked bacon to delight all taste buds. 

Bacon jam is popping up everywhere: in recipes found in well-known magazines, newspapers, and blogs; on menus everywhere from the local fast food joint to high-end gourmet restaurants; and at neighborhood brunches, dinner parties, and barbecues. 

Do a little digging, and you’ll discover that, among the wide variety of bacon jams you can purchase or make at home, there are two major types available: cured and uncured.

So what is cured versus uncured bacon jam?

 

What Does it Mean for Bacon to Be Cured?

When we say that bacon is cured, what does that mean? Cured bacon is bacon that has been treated with a preservative mixture, usually consisting of salt and sodium nitrates. Nitrates are responsible for the distinctive pink hue of bacon slabs.

This curing treatment is designed to preserve bacon, keep it from smelling odd, and prevent it from developing spores that can cause botulism and other types of food poisoning.

There are two curing practices that are generally used on bacon: dry curing and wet curing.

 

Dry Curing

During the dry curing process, bacon is thoroughly rubbed with a mixture of salt, nitrates, seasonings, and often sugar. The mixture is left on the bacon for roughly a week. After this time has elapsed, the bacon is rinsed off. Usually, it is then smoked. 

The term “dry curing” applies here because only dry ingredients are used in the process. There is no need for “wet” or liquid ingredients.

 

Wet Curing

Wet curing is a much faster process than dry curing, so it has become the prominent process for most of the largest bacon brands. This means that most bacon on today’s market is wet cured.

The same curing ingredients common in dry curing - salt, nitrates, seasonings, and sugar - are mixed into a brine. The bacon is then either soaked in this brine or injected with it, a method referred to as “pumping.”

As in dry curing, the bacon is usually smoked after the curing process.

 

What Does it Mean for Bacon to Be Uncured?

In the strictest sense, no bacon is truly “uncured,” in that all bacon must undergo a preservative process of some sort. Otherwise, it would never make it to the market without going bad.

Still, there is a demonstrable difference between cured and uncured bacon. While cured bacon has been treated with synthetically derived ingredients, particularly nitrates, uncured bacon is treated only with the natural nitrates found in vegetables like celery and beets. 

Not only is the “uncured” curing method healthier, it results in more flavorful bacon.

 

Buy Uncured Bacon Jam from TBJ Gourmet

While all bacon is technically “cured” in the sense that it is treated to extend its longevity and make it safe to eat, there is still a significant difference between cured and uncured bacon. 

While both processes result in bacon that is safe from food poisoning and other threats, at TBJ Gourmet we believe uncured bacon is preferable because it is healthier and tastes better. Try it for yourself! We’re confident you’ll taste the difference.

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