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FAQ

Yes! We inoculate the salami with a benign form of penicillium during fermentation to prevent noxious molds from growing. If you prefer not to eat it, simply peel the casing.
Yes! We use natural casings made from pig and cow intestine. They are edible. If you prefer not to eat it, simply peel it off.
The salami is shelf-stable and will last for up to 3 months. However, in the presence of oxygen the mold will continue to grow, the salami can begin to oxidize, and can continue to dry. Both of these will affect the taste, texture, and smell of the salami. To maximize longevity and enjoyment store the salami in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. We have brought ours on week-long backpacking and canoe trips and found the salami to hold up wonderfully.
We ship Monday-Thursday using USPS and UPS. Any orders placed after 10am CST on Thursdays ship the following Monday. When you place your order you'll automatically receive shipping updates via email.
We source our humanely-raised, Heritage pork from a family of farms located in our neighbor states, mostly from Iowa. The pigs are raised without antibiotics, growth promotants, crates, or animal byproducts. The pigs are fed a vegetarian diet that is mostly grown on the farms where they're raised. Through their life on the farm and transport the pigs are third-party audited for humane treatment. Enjoy with a clear conscience.
Yes it is.
What are Nitrates and Nitrites?
Nitrates and Nitrites are molecules that occur throughout the natural world. They are added to processed meat in the form of salts (sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite) because they function to preserve raw meat by preventing dangerous bacterial growth (esp. Clostridium botulinum, the source of botulism), help to maintain quality (by controlling the fats from oxidizing), and provide the flavor and aroma unique to cured meats. They also enhance the flavors, appearance, and texture of cured meats.

Nitrites actively function to cure meat while nitrates are added because they slowly convert to nitrite over time, continuing the curing work throughout the weeks and months it takes to cure. Nitrates are slow release nitrites.

Nitrite has been found to play an important role in the body’s nitrogen cycle, aiding in regulating blood pressure among other functions. Our saliva contains enzymes that convert plant nitrate to nitrite and the majority of nitrite consumed by people comes from the conversion of plant nitrates while they are being ingested.

The vast majority of our daily consumption of nitrates and nitrites comes from eating plants such as spinach that are high in nitrates and are then converted in our saliva to nitrite.
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What are the risks associated with Nitrates and Nitrites?
In the 1970’s a report was released that questioned whether or not nitrites are carcinogenic. In 2015 the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) identified processed meat (salami is a processed meat) as a Group 1 carcinogen. Other Group 1 carcinogens are alcohol (18x more likely to be carcinogenic) and tobacco (30x more likely).
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How is processed meat carcinogenic?
From the World Health Organization’s Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat (linked here): “carcinogenic chemicals that form during meat processing include N-nitroso compounds and polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons. Cooking of red meat or processed meat also produces heterocyclic aromatic amines as well as other chemicals including polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, which are also found in other foods and in air pollution. Some of these chemicals are known or suspected carcinogens, but despite this knowledge it is not yet fully understood how cancer risk is increased by red meat or processed meat.”

Further researched has indicated that the carcinogenic risk of cured meats is increased (or caused) by exposing the meat to high temperatures (>266°F). When nitrites interact with components in meat such as haem iron, amines, and amides at high temperatures they form N-nitroso compounds such as nitrosamines.
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What about Nitrite- & Nitrate-free cured meats?
Nitrite & Nitrate free meats rely on nitrates from plants rather than purified salts. The label will usually indicate something to the effect of “Nitrate free* --- *except for those naturally occurring in celery, beets, sea salt, etc.” These natural nitrates are converted to nitrites in the same way purified nitrates are (by bacteria in the processed meat) yielding identical compounds as those meats cured with purified nitrates and nitrites.

The USDA has established a “not-to-exceed” threshold on purified nitrates and nitrites to closely monitor levels present in meat at time of consumption, but has no such thresholds for those that are derived from vegetables.

Driftless Provisions chooses to use a controlled amount of Sodium Nitrite & Nitrate in our salami as opposed to the naturally occurring celery or beet juice powder. This controlled process produces a consistent product which effectively reduces the risk of bacterial growth while improving the flavor of our aged product.
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What should I do?
Enjoy your cured meats in moderation.
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Further reading

World Health Organization - Q&A on the carcinogenicity of the consumption of red meat and processed meat

Harvard School of Public Health - WHO report says eating processed meat is carcinogenic: Understanding the findings

University of Wisconsin - What's the deal with Nitrate and Nitrite used in meat products?

American Meat Institute - Sodium Nitrite: The Facts

The Art of Eating - Great Aged (Fermented) Sausage
Reach out to Justin at justin@driftlessprovisions.com and we'll get back to you ASAP
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