Bacon is a beloved breakfast staple, but its high sodium content can be a concern for those watching their salt intake.
Luckily, there are now options for low sodium bacon on the market. But how is it made? Is it still as flavorful as regular bacon?
In this article, we’ll dive into the process of making low sodium bacon and explore its taste and health benefits.
So grab a cup of coffee and let’s learn about this delicious and healthier alternative to traditional bacon.
How Is Low Sodium Bacon Made?
Low sodium bacon is made using a special curing process that allows for a reduction in salt content without sacrificing flavor. The process typically involves using a combination of water, salt, sodium phosphates, sodium erythorbate, and sodium nitrite.
The pork belly is first trimmed of excess fat and skin before being injected with the curing solution. The meat is then left to cure for several days, allowing the solution to penetrate the meat and infuse it with flavor.
After the curing process is complete, the bacon is rinsed and dried before being sliced and packaged for sale.
What Is Low Sodium Bacon?
Low sodium bacon is a type of bacon that has been specifically processed to have a lower sodium content than regular bacon. This is achieved by using a special curing process that reduces the amount of salt used in the solution that is injected into the pork belly.
Compared to regular bacon, which can contain up to 385 milligrams of sodium in a two-slice serving, low sodium bacon typically contains around 150-200 milligrams of sodium per serving. This makes it a healthier option for those who are watching their sodium intake or have high blood pressure.
Despite having less salt, low sodium bacon still maintains its delicious flavor thanks to the use of natural hardwood smoke during the smoking process. It can be used in a variety of dishes, such as breakfast items, sandwiches, salads, and burgers.
It’s important to note that low sodium bacon still needs to be fully cooked and should be used within 7 days of opening. It should also be kept refrigerated to maintain freshness.
The Importance Of Reducing Sodium Intake
While bacon is a delicious staple in many diets, it is important to be aware of the potential health risks associated with consuming too much sodium. Excessive sodium intake has been linked to high blood pressure, which in turn increases the risk of heart disease and stroke. The World Health Organization recommends that adults consume no more than 5 grams of salt per day, which is equivalent to 2 grams of sodium.
Low sodium bacon is a healthier alternative for those who want to enjoy the taste of bacon without the added health risks. While low sodium bacon contains reduced salt, it is important to note that it still has other nutritional features that should be taken into consideration before consuming it in large amounts.
Reducing sodium intake is an important goal for good health. Eating too much sodium, which is the primary ingredient in salt, can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Even people who do not have high blood pressure could benefit from a lower-sodium diet. Most people consume too much salt – on average 9-12 grams per day, or around twice the recommended maximum level of intake.
Salt substitutes, including herbs and spices, and citrus like lemon can provide more flavor with less sodium. For example, citrus and sodium activate the same taste sensors so that less sodium can be used when they are combined. Explore your supermarket for low-sodium versions of traditional high-salt products, or experiment with new alternatives.
The Process Of Making Low Sodium Bacon
Making low sodium bacon requires a slightly different process than traditional bacon. One method involves using fresh, uncured pork belly and a two-part cooking process that includes baking and frying the pork belly to achieve the desired crispiness without the use of salt.
Another method involves a dry brine, which uses a mixture of kosher salt, brown sugar, and other seasonings to cure the pork belly. The dry brine is rubbed onto the meat and left to cure for 7-14 days, depending on the thickness of the meat. After curing, the bacon is soaked in water and left to form a pellicle in the fridge overnight.
The bacon can then be smoked using hickory, cherry or applewood chips for added flavor or roasted in the oven with natural liquid smoke for a smoky taste. It’s important to read the label on the liquid smoke to ensure it contains all natural ingredients.
The result is a delicious, low sodium bacon that still has all the flavor and texture of traditional bacon. This method allows for a reduction in sodium content without sacrificing taste or quality.
Flavor Comparison: Low Sodium Bacon Vs Regular Bacon
While regular bacon is known for its salty and savory flavor, low sodium bacon offers a milder taste with only half the sodium content. One slice of low sodium bacon contains just 70 mg of sodium, compared to 120 mg in regular bacon.
Some tasters have noted that low sodium bacon is not as salty as regular bacon, but it still offers a delicious and satisfying taste. In fact, some brands like Danepak have received positive feedback for being “tender” and having a “porkier” flavor than their competitors, despite the lack of salt. However, some tasters have noted that it wasn’t salty enough and even drew an unhappy face on their comment form.
According to meat extension specialist Jeffrey Sindelar, the reason why most bacon is not lower in sodium is due to consumer preference. A majority of consumers expect bacon to have a certain amount of saltiness, and unless all bacon is lower in salt, some companies will lose market share if they reduce sodium while others do not. It’s all consumer-driven.
However, there are now options available for those who want to enjoy the taste of bacon without consuming excessive amounts of sodium. Food manufacturers can use natural solutions like SALTWELL® to reduce the added NaCl in bacon products by 35%, without compromising function or sensory aspects. This makes it an ideal ingredient for formulating both meat and PB bacon products, with many sensory studies reporting superior flavor compared to other salts.
Health Benefits Of Low Sodium Bacon
Low sodium bacon offers several health benefits compared to regular bacon. One of the main concerns with regular bacon is its high levels of saturated and trans fats, which are known to increase the risk of heart disease. However, low sodium bacon does not contain any trans fat, and its saturated fat content is significantly lower.
In fact, two slices of low sodium bacon contain only 7 grams of total fat and 3 grams of saturated fat. This is well within the recommended daily intake of no more than 7 percent of total calories from saturated fat and less than 1 percent from trans fat.
Moreover, low sodium bacon is a good source of protein, with each 2-ounce serving providing roughly the same amount as regular bacon. It also contains vitamin B complex nutrients and zinc, which help control gene activity.
Reducing sodium intake is also crucial for maintaining good health. High sodium intake can raise blood pressure, increase the risk of kidney stones, and contribute to stomach cancer. Low sodium bacon offers a solution for those who want to enjoy the flavor of bacon without consuming excessive amounts of salt.
Commercially packaged low sodium bacon is available in supermarkets, but it’s important to note that even reduced-sodium types are still high in sodium. Therefore, it’s essential to watch portion sizes and consider finding alternative sources of protein.
Creative Ways To Enjoy Low Sodium Bacon In Your Meals
If you’re looking for creative ways to enjoy low sodium bacon in your meals, there are plenty of delicious options to choose from. Here are some ideas to get you started:
1. Bacon-wrapped chicken: Wrap a low sodium bacon slice around a chicken breast and bake until the chicken is cooked through and the bacon is crispy.
2. Bacon and egg breakfast sandwich: Fry up a low sodium bacon slice and a fresh egg, then layer them on a whole wheat English muffin for a tasty breakfast sandwich.
3. BLT salad: Top a bed of mixed greens with chopped low sodium bacon, cherry tomatoes, and avocado for a healthy and satisfying salad.
4. Bacon-wrapped asparagus: Wrap fresh asparagus spears with low sodium bacon slices and roast in the oven until tender and crispy.
5. Bacon-wrapped dates: Stuff pitted dates with goat cheese and wrap with low sodium bacon slices before baking until crispy and golden brown.
6. Bacon and sweet potato hash: Dice sweet potatoes into small pieces, then fry with chopped low sodium bacon until crispy and tender.
7. Bacon-wrapped shrimp: Wrap jumbo shrimp with low sodium bacon slices and grill until the shrimp are cooked through and the bacon is crispy.
There are countless ways to incorporate low sodium bacon into your meals, so get creative in the kitchen and enjoy this delicious and healthy ingredient!