Have you ever purchased a package of salami labeled “uncured”? If you’re not sure what this means and you’re wondering if this type of salami is safe to consume right away, you’ve come to the right place.
So, can you eat uncured salami? I’ll discuss this question in detail and explain the manufacturing process of uncured salami. The short answer is yes. You can eat it! However, please keep in mind the following:
- Uncured Salami Defined: “Uncured” salami doesn’t use chemical preservatives but often contains natural elements like celery juice or beetroot powder which act as nitrates/nitrites.
- Safety: Uncured salami is safe to eat immediately after purchase. However, it might have more salt and nitrates/nitrites than cured versions. Both types are high in fat and sodium.
- Consumption: Despite the ‘uncured’ label, this salami is safe to eat raw. The term can mislead some into believing it requires cooking.
- Storage: Dry (including uncured) salami lasts six weeks unopened, either out or in the fridge, and three weeks once opened. Cooked salami requires refrigeration, lasting two weeks unopened or one week post-opening.
- Identifying Spoilage: Check salami’s color, smell, and texture. White spots are beneficial bacteria; grey or brown suggests spoilage. Off smells or altered textures are also spoilage signs.
Read on to learn more whether uncured salami is good for you.
What Does It Mean When Salami Is Uncured?
Occasionally, you’ll come across salami with an “uncured” label on it. You may wonder how it can be called salami if it’s uncured.
The answer is in the rest of the label. Uncured salami labels usually say that it “contains no nitrates or nitrites.” However, this doesn’t mean that nothing was added to the salami.
When salami is “uncured,” it just means that no chemical preservatives were added to it. Still, you’ll see celery juice/powder or beetroot powder on the ingredients list of uncured salami.
This is because these ingredients will convert to nitrates/nitrites, thus acting as preserving agents and keeping the meat safe.
So, even though it’s labeled “uncured,” this type of salami is cured – it’s just cured naturally.
Is Uncured Salami Safe to Eat?
As discussed in the previous section, uncured salami is cured with natural ingredients such as celery juice/power and beetroot powder used as a preservative.
Per USDA regulations, meat is labeled as ‘cured’ only when chemical preservatives are added to it, but the average person doesn’t know the distinction. Consequently, people are often confused or mislead by these labels.
Since natural ingredients convert to nitrates and nitrates and preserve the meat from harmful bacteria, uncured salami is similar to the cured version. Therefore, it’s perfectly safe to consume it right after you purchase it.
Many people are trying to eat less processed meat due to its potential health concerns. When they see “uncured” salami labels, many think the product doesn’t pose a potential health risk since there are no nitrates/nitrites listed in the ingredients.
However, just because uncured salami is natural, it doesn’t mean there are no health risks. Uncured salami often contains more salt and nitrates/nitrites than its cured counterpart.
Preservatives are in both the cured and uncured versions of salami. The difference is their preservative origins and labeling practices.
Regardless of the label, uncured salami should be treated the same way as the cured version. They both have a recognizable flavor and can be kept unrefrigerated if unopened.
However, they do look slightly different; the cured version has a stronger color.
Like cured versions, uncured salami is safe to eat. Although it has multiple health benefits, keep in mind that salami is high in fat and sodium, so it’s essential to eat it in moderation.
Can You Eat Uncured Salami Raw?
As mentioned earlier, uncured salami is cured; the only difference is in the origin of the preservatives. When it’s uncured, only natural ingredients are used to preserve the meat.
Since both cured and uncured salami are left to dry out, all the harmful bacteria are eliminated from the meat. Therefore, all salami is raw.
People are often confused by the ‘uncured’ label and think they need to cook the salami before consuming it.
However, this is not the case. Since it’s preserved by natural ingredients and dried just like the cured version, uncured salami can be eaten raw.
How Long Can Salami Last in the Fridge?
There are two kinds of salami: raw/cured and cooked. The distinction is in the manufacturing process.
Raw/cured salami is produced by adding salt, spices, and preservatives and leaving it to dry. Uncured salami falls in this category. Cooked salami, on the other hand, is meat that’s cooked or smoked.
Due to different manufacturing processes, their storage time is also different.
Dry salami can be kept out of the fridge or inside it for six weeks if it’s unopened. One of the perks of keeping unopened salami in the refrigerator is the retention of taste and texture. Once you open it, dry salami will last for three weeks in the fridge.
Conversely, cooked salami must be kept in the fridge even when it’s unopened and will last for two weeks in the refrigerator. Once you open the package, cooked salami will remain safe for the next seven days.
Signs of Salami Spoilage
Whether it’s cured or uncured, salami has a recognizable flavor. If you’re not sure whether salami has gone bad, check for the following:
Salami varies in color. It can be anything from light pink to dark red.
When it’s uncured, salami will be paler in color than its cured version, which is entirely normal. If you see white spots on your salami, don’t worry about them. Those are beneficial bacteria that keep the meat safe and prevent harmful bacteria from infesting it.
However, if you’ve noticed your salami is turning grey, brown, or black, or it has fuzzy spots, it means it’s gone bad (white fuzzy mold, however, is okay to eat – click here to learn more). The same goes for both uncured and cured salami.
Salami has a specific, almost acidic smell. Sometimes, it can be hard to establish whether salami has gone bad based on just the smell.
But, if you’ve noticed it has changed in any way, or it smells like rotten eggs, your salami has gone bad, and you should throw it away.
Both cured and uncured salami have a similar texture. If you’ve noticed the texture of your salami is dry and hard, or wet, sticky, and slimy, it means the salami has gone bad.
If you think you’ve eaten bad salami, keep track of your symptoms. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, or chills are signs of potential food poisoning.
The symptoms of food poisoning usually go away without medication. However, it’s essential to drink a lot of fluids to keep yourself hydrated.
If your symptoms are severe, visit a doctor as soon as possible.
So, can you eat uncured salami? After reading the information in this article, you know that you can. Even uncured salami contains preservatives, despite what its labels and advertising would lead you to believe.
Preservatives for uncured salami are simply derived from different sources. Uncured salami uses celery powder/juice and beetroot powder to preserve the meat, while chemical preservatives such as nitrates and nitrites are used in the cured version.
Cured versus uncured salami is a personal choice. Just remember to enjoy it in moderation.