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Effect of Drying Hams Before Salting

21 September 2013

Drying the lean surface before salting reduces the salt uptake in loin and ham, according to research from the Institut de Recerca I Technologia Agroalimentàries, IRTA, in Spain.

The research team found that the reduction in hams is more evident after six days of storage before salting.

However, the team of Núria Garcia-Gil, Israel Muñoz, Eva Santos-Garcés, Jacint Arnau, and

Pere Gou found there is no difference on salt uptake at temperatures of 0.5°C and − 1°C.

The homogeneity in salt uptake is not dependent on storage time or temperature.

The IRTA research team said that salt uptake homogeneity is crucial in assuring quality in dry-cured hams.

The aim of the study was to evaluate the effect of the water contents at the lean surface before salting and of the temperature during salting on the salt uptake.

Pieces of loin stored at 3°C for three days before salting absorbed less salt through a surface that has been dried during storage.

A group of raw hams were subjected to different pre-salting storage times at zero, three and six days and another group was subjected to a different set room temperatures during salting (− 1.0, 0.5 and 4.0°C).

The duration of storage before salting and the temperature during salting had a negative and a positive effect on the average salt absorption, respectively.

The most important effects appeared after six days of storage and at 4°C.

No significant differences in salt uptake homogeneity were found between storage times and between salting temperatures.

The research article, Salt uptake and water loss in hams with different water contents at the lean surface and at different salting temperatures, appears in the January 2014 edition of Meat Science.

September 2013

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