While preparing curing brine have you run out of curing salt? Then you must read this article, we have provided lots of options.
Well, pink curing salt is utterly toxic for human consumption. But when it is used in the curing process, it is entirely safe.
We have shared 16 alternatives for curing salt and have also explained its use and how it is technically safe while curing meats. So, what are you waiting for? Let’s get started!
What is Pink Curing Salt?
Pink-colored curing salt is a mixture of table salt and sodium chloride. It comes in pink color so that people don’t confuse it with table salt.
One should use this in moderation. Although it is used in the process of curing meat, it is used only in a safe amount. As a result, the curing process is entirely safe, and it won’t harm you.
Use of Pink Curing Salt
As discussed earlier, pink curing salt is used to cure meat. Now we will learn how technically it cures the meat.
Well, the salt prevents the botulinum toxin (a potentially fatal form of food poisoning) from producing. It prohibits the emergence of harmful bacteria. Nitrates are a “time-release” inhibitor of the hazardous chemical because they convert to nitrites over time
Anaerobic bacteria cannot develop in the presence of nitrates. It can be purchased only when sodium nitrite has been combined with and cut by the salt.
Oh! Don’t get stressed because of the presence of nitrite in pink curing salt, as during the curing process, the nitrites in the salt convert into nitric oxide. And this chemical compound is completely safe.
However, you cannot just ignore the fact that pink curing salt is 100% toxic to humans. One should not use it as regular table salt.
This salt’s primary health benefit is that it eliminates toxins from meat, making sausages, roasts, steaks, poultry, and a variety of other foods safe to eat.
The 12 Best Curing Salt Substitutes For Your Recipes
Saltpeter is a chemical compound of potassium nitrate. It is suitable for preservation.
You can use this in place of curing salt. It also helps to make the meat pieces tender. People have been using this since middle age.
Potassium nitrate (saltpeter) is extensively used as a thickening agent in West African soups and stews, such as okra soup.
Do you know pesticides and explosives include potassium nitrate? It can be present in soil and vegetables in their natural state.
But don’t worry, the one which is in the grocery store is safe to use. But, you must use it as per the measurement recommended on the label, as too much nitrate can cause a lot of damage to your body.
Saltpeter also works in a similar manner to eliminate any moisture that may be present in the meat cells, preventing germs and microorganisms from growing.
Thus, it prevents your meat from getting pale and grey, and it is ideal for the curing process.
2. Non-Iodized Sea Salt
You can use non-iodized sea salt as a substitute for pink curing salt.
Non-iodized sea salt means zero iodine. Iodine is found in food, and humans cannot produce iodine on their own.
As a result, ingesting iodine-rich foods is critical because it produces thyroid hormones, which are essential for maintaining our body’s metabolism and regulating a range of other necessary functions.
Iodine is utilized to enhance the ordinary salt that we use in our everyday cookery.
Pure non-iodized salt, on the other hand, is a simple sea salt that has not been added to or processed. Some companies may provide a finer texture, which is normally harsh and chunky.
Sea salt can make your food flavorful. Especially when it is used in dry rubs and baking products, as it gives a hint of salty feel on the surface.
Although it is not the best solution for curing meat, it can still help to keep foods fresh for a bit longer when compared to normal salt.
Moreover, it is also a nice substitute because it can work with all kinds of food.
Choosing non-iodized salt is the best option because, most of the time, iodine present in the salt can alter the taste of the food.
When you replace non-iodized salt with curing salt, the amount will be the same. So, relax and go ahead with your recipe.
3. Basil Leaves
Another substitute for curing salt is basil leaves. This antioxidant-loaded leave is good for arthritis, heart problems, and bowel issues. It has a combo of sweet and spicy tastes.
The oil present in this herb helps you fight against the bacteria that cause urinary infections and respiratory and skin infections.
You can easily put it in your salads and soups. Try these leaves in ground beef for a delicious meatball sandwich. It will make your meal lip-smacking.
4. Garlic Salt
It is an excellent replacement for pink curing salt, and you can prepare it at home. It is widely used in salads, soups, pasta, and lots more.
This flavorful ingredient will make your dish mouthwatering. And, if you prepare it at home, you can alter the portion of garlic used here.
You just have to use two simple things—first, garlic and salt. To prepare this, you have to combine three parts salt and one part garlic in a mixing bowl. That’s all.
Note: Use only Kosher salt and granulated garlic if you like a teaspoon of coarse garlic salt.
And combine both salt and garlic powder to make smooth garlic salt. Make sure to keep them in an airtight container.
5. Celery Powder
If you don’t have celery powder, you can use celery juice. It is rich in nitrate (close to nitrite), which is obviously essential for the curing process.
Thus, you can easily replace celery juice or powder with pink curing salt.
A lot of people use this in sausages, natural deli meats, and organic bacon. It can be a healthier option as it is organic.
Celery powder that is used in cured meats involves a lot of processing, and the celery doesn’t have to be organic.
The powder, which is made by dehydrating, concentrating, and grinding down the green-stalked veggie, has the ability to season, color, preserve, and disinfect cured meats.
However, FDA accepts celery juice/powder in the flavoring agent category rather than the preservative category.
Note: Remember, this method of curing is inexact because it’s difficult to know how high the nitrate concentration is without examining the meat in which the celery juice is utilized.
6. Tomato Sauce
Tomatoes are high in folate, vitamin C, and potassium. It assists in making your lasagna, spaghetti, or soup mouthwatering.
This sauce is all in one. It gives a rich color and texture to the meat. It works well as a substitute for pink curing salt in everything from meatballs to pesto and curry sauces.
7. Apple Cider Vinegar
You can also replace apple cider vinegar with pink curing salt. It can give several health benefits, plus it is utilized as a food preservative too.
Raw, organic apple cider vinegar can boost your digestion. It helps to build your immune system stronger.
If you have diabetes, it will assist in keeping your sugar level balanced. Plus, it is also truly good for your skin and hair.
Vinegar is acidic. It especially helps to preserve fish flesh. Thus, you can replace pink curing salt with vinegar.
However, the directions for using vinegar in the curing process are different.
For instance, you might be using a pinch of pink curing salt in the curing process, right? But while curing fish, you have to soak the whole body in vinegar in order to preserve it correctly.
9. Soy Sauce
There are two kinds of soy sauce-Chinese and Japanese. The difference is that Japanese soy sauce contains more wheat, and Chinese soy sauce has a lot of salt.
One can use soy sauce in place of pink curing sauce, as it prevents the budding of bacteria. The three components of soy sauce that give it its antibacterial properties are salt, acid from lactic bacteria, and alcohol from yeast.
As a result, cuisine prepared with soy sauce lasts longer since it aids in natural preservation.
It also makes your food tangy and flavorful, plus it provides sodium and potassium.
10. Rice Vinegar
You can also try rice vinegar instead of pink curing salt. The process of fermentation is pretty slow, as it is soaked in water and then fermented. You can also read an article that we have covered on Does vinegar goes bad & How long it lasts
However, today, there are many chemicals that can reduce the fermentation time process. Also, it is less acidic in nature.
If you compare it with distilled vinegar, it is milder. That’s why it is a good friend to salads, sauteed veggies, and marinades.
11. Kosher Salt
Fun Fact: Did you know the phrase “kosher” refers to foods that follow traditional Jewish dietary laws? The law constitutes what foods one can eat and how much of it should be produced, processed, and prepared.
Kosher salt can also be swapped with pink curing salt. It will function similarly to non-iodized sea salt. It has been utilized for preserving food for ages, like in pickles and meats.
Because of its big grain size, kosher salt is ideal for the koshering procedure, which entails removing the blood from meat prior to processing.
This salt is manufactured entirely of sodium chloride and does not contain any additions or iodine, contrary to certain other varieties of salt.
It is generally used for baking and food seasoning. You have to put a gallon of water for every cup of kosher salt in the refrigerator and leave the meat in this solution overnight.
Scarlet red spicy, peppery paprika powder is used to garnish dishes and also holds nutritional values.
You can replace it with pink curing salt. It will give the meat a nice color, texture, and flavor.
Garnish your eggs with paprika, or add it to your veggies, stew, or meatballs.
13 Himalayan Salt
Himalayan salt is pink-hued salt that is extracted from the Himalayan mountains of South Asia. Although it is mined, it is technically sea salt. It has brilliant benefits if you compare it with table salt.
You can replace pink curing salt with Himalayan salt. However, the outcome would not be the same as pink curing salt because the shelf life would be shorter.
It is much healthier because it contains less sodium. Moreover, it adds a pleasant taste. It has zinc, calcium, magnesium, potassium, and calcium too.
This salt also helps to improve respiratory health and prevent dehydration.
While curing, the ratio of Himalayan salt will be the same as that of pink curing salt.
Rosemary is a seasoning spice that one can use while preparing soups, salads, and stews. It is a great companion to pork, chicken, lamb, and fish.
This spice is one of the most efficient preservatives, especially when the extracts are high in carnosic acid. You can exchange pink curing salt with rosemary.
Fun Fact: Do you cumin seeds were used in Egypt for mummification?
Cumin also acts well in preserving food. It not only adds flavor but also offers many health benefits. These tiny seeds belong to the parsley family.
And these seeds can boost your digestive system. They are rich in iron, help diabetic patients, and help weight loss and fat reduction.
You can swap pink curing salt for cumin seeds.
16. Raw Sugar
Raw sugar is excellent at preserving food. It is called turbinado sugar and is extracted from sugar cane juice. It acts as a curing agent, minus the molasses part.
It’s excellent for curing pork belly bacon, corned beef, salt pork, sugar-cured ham, fruit preserves, jams, and jellies, among other things.
Pink curing salt is quite obviously used for curing meats, but the pink color of salt helps to give a nice color to the meat. However, it can act as a food preservative. One can use it for pickling meats.
The best substitute for pink curing salt is saltpeter. You can also use kosher salt and non-iodized salt, but the results are not as good as curing salt.
Vinegar is also an excellent alternative. You can try apple cider vinegar and rice vinegar. However, do not use balsamic vinegar in place of curing salt.
If you use any of the substitutes that are on our list, do let us know in the comments.
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.