Science Questions

What's actually happening when you smoke and cure meat to the microbes?

Sat, 24th Sep 2011

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Question

Jasper Aykroyd, Facebook asked:

what's actually happening when you smoke and cure meat to the microbes?

Answer

Nick -   Basically, these are historical processes that people have done for centuries to try and make foods last longer and basically, what you're doing is making conditions within the meat less tolerable for the bacteria that are going to spoil it.  So, making it either very salty or in the basis of smoke, you're changing the conditions of the meat such that the bacteria can't proliferate in the same way as they would do normally.

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