Applications - Meat & bacon
Processed meats are among the three leading classes of processed foods in terms of sodium contribution.
Salt is the most important non-meat ingredient in sausages. Typical finished salt levels are about 2.5%.
Salt content must be cut drastically in order to comply with food legislation requirements for making a comparative sodium claim.
Replacement of NACl by SOLO® low sodium sea salt can significantly reduce the sodium level while preserving consumer acceptance.
Salt function in meat
In addition to its seasoning role, salt also serves as a preservative or curing agent, to inhibit the growth of undesirable micro-organisms, as part of the fat emulsification process in sausages, and as an aid in forming an edible or "skinless" casing for sausages.
The salt dissolves the different muscle proteins in the meat. By enrobing the fat globules during chopping, the salt soluble protein form a binding solution which combines the meat moisture and fat into a desirable gel structure - a sausage.
Upon cooking, the protein form a gel coating that prevents fat from coalescing or separating during cooking.
Flavour, texture and shelf life are reduced with reduced NACl levels. Levels below 2% salt result in inferior flavour and texture, lower yields and inadequate emulsion stability. Reduction of sodium can be achieved without these problems by replacement of NACl with SOLO®.
The degree of substitution that is taste acceptable in sausage products is formula dependent.
Mild flavoured luncheon meats, such as Bologna, replacement ratios of less that 1:1 is recommended to avoid lower flavour scores, disagreeable bitterness and excessively weak emulsions.
Higher substitution is possible if phosphates (0.13% K3PO4) or sodium phosphates are included.
The use of sodium phosphates to maintain colour, texture and emulsion stability might allow for a reduction of the level of SOLO®. This should be an acid phosphate or a neutral pH mix as alkaline phosphates seem to mask saltiness and accentuate KCl bitterness in meat emulsions.
An appropriate addition would be 0.1 - 0.2.
Frankfurter formulae: Salted at 2.5% level, excellent flavour and emulsion stability has been found using equal molar ratios of NaCl/KCl - (44% NaCl/56%KCl).. (ref.: Whiting R.C. and Jenkins R.K., Journal of Food Quality p 259-269 ).
Increased sugar cured ham pumped: possibility approach 1:1 ratio depending on other potassium ingredients in the formula.
Bacon is a popular food even though it is perceived to have a relatively high sodium content. Uncooked cured bacon contains about 700mg sodium/100g but this increases to more than 1000mg/100g in the fried, drained product.
Most of the sodium in bacon is contributed by the salt.
An optimal level for flavour enhancement and shelf life ranges between 1.5 - 1.7% NaCl.
Replacement of NaCl by SOLO® can significantly reduce the sodium level while preserving consumer acceptance.
At 1.5% salt level, salt provides taste, water binding for colour and texture and it serves as a preservative.
Substitution with SOLO® at a ratio of 1:1 maintains saltiness intensity and flavour, shelf life, texture and colour quality as the ionic strength of SOLO® is close to that of NaCl.
Pumping pickle using SOLO® can be prepared by using sodium chloride brine tables and salometer formulae as the specific gravity/solution concentration relationship are nearly the same.
As KCl is not as soluble as NaCl at low temperatures it is recommended to prepare SOLO® brines in batches and not in automatic brine makers used for NaCl to ensure consistent Na/K ratio. There will be a temperature drop when dissolving SOLO® caused by the strong negative heat of solution of KCl.
The solubility rate of SOLO® is approximately 4 times that of pure dried vacuum salt.