What is the difference between cured and uncured meat?

Natural or Organic. No Sugar Added. Vegetarian Fed. These are words you frequently see on Pederson’s labels. These terms are pretty much self-explanatory, or they are at least things most of us have a general understanding of. “Uncured” is another term you’ll find on our labels, but what does that mean exactly, and why does Pedersons not cure any of our meats?

What's cured meat?

Here at Pederson’s Natural Farms, we take pride in the fact that our products, whether purchased online or in-store, are never “cured.” Our uncured bacon and uncured ham are just as delicious and don’t contain any unnatural ingredients. Cured is a term that is dictated by the USDA labeling regulation. The USDA defines these curing agents as sodium and potassium salts of nitrates or nitrites. Curing is a highly regulated process. We could go into the science of how the cure happens, but we’ll spare you the unnecessary details. Basically, in the typical curing process, a packet of nitrite is added to the brine, which is then injected into the meat.

What’s uncured meat?

“Uncured” simply means that the meat was not preserved using any added nitrates or nitrites. This helps to keep the meat just that - simpler. Uncured meats are still preserved but rely on the natural salts and flavorings, not by adding chemicals. Why add chemicals if it’s not necessary? Using the natural options available just makes more sense in our opinion, and fans of our uncured bacon and uncured ham certainly agree.

Why should I buy uncured meat?

There is a lot of information and plenty of disagreements around the internet regarding the nutritional value of uncured meats or the benefits of cured options, and we’re not here to be another voice online telling you what you should do. We make all of our bacon and ham uncured to offer you high-quality meats that use fewer ingredients, plain and simple. It does slightly impact the nutritional value as uncured meat has a lower sodium content. However, some people are nitrite sensitive or have nitrate intolerance. People with this condition experience uncomfortable side effects after consuming these additives, and many miss out on some of their favorite foods because of it. Pederson’s Natural Farms products are always uncured, allowing everyone to enjoy nitrite and nitrate-free options of the foods they love.

Keto & Whole30 Approved Spiral Sliced No Sugar Added Boneless Smoked Uncured Ham
Keto & Whole30 Approved Spiral Sliced No Sugar Added Boneless Smoked Uncured Ham
Keto Whole30 Approved No Sugar Added Uncured Dry Rub Bacon
Keto Whole30 Approved No Sugar Added Uncured Dry Rub Bacon
Keto Whole30 Approved No Sugar Added Uncured Dry Rub Bacon

Why doesn’t Pedersons cure our meat?

We don’t cure our meats because it’s not necessary. It’s a choice we made to remain faithful to ourselves and you. When Pederson’s Natural Farms was beginning, we simply decided: we didn’t want to add chemicals to our products. We believe in using fewer ingredients, and this is how we can keep that promise to you. We still preserve our bacon and ham. We just do it a little bit differently. Our process is less invasive to the meat. We use vacuum tumbling to preserve our meats. We put our pork bellies and brine in a big stainless steel tumbler in small 2000 lb batches, close the lid, draw a 20 lb vacuum, and then turn the tumbler on a slow rotation. This process opens up the muscle fibers in the pork belly to soak up our brine slowly. We believe this one process sets our bacon apart from other products that are needle-injected. It is simply less invasive to the meat.While this decision was easy for us to make, it does make our business a little more challenging. Did you know that uncured meat has a shorter shelf life? Its shelf life is approximately 30-50 days shorter than its cured counterparts. But we aren’t complaining!  We’re proud to have made this decision.