What Does ‘Uncured’ Mean?The real difference between cured and uncured ham and bacon

Jones Dairy Farm’s Canadian Bacon, Hickory Smoked Ham and Turkey Bacon are all “uncured.”

While it has become more common to see products labeled as “uncured” in stores, the difference between cured and uncured ham, bacon and other meat products remains a mystery to most consumers. Nonetheless, the answer is quite simple and it all boils down to how the meat is preserved.

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What is curing?

Simply put, curing is the process of preserving meat. During this process, nitrates and nitrites (natural compounds made of nitrogen and oxygen) are added to the meat to prevent spoilage. Curing also adds flavor, color and texture to the meat.

Before refrigeration, curing by means of salting and drying was a primary method of preserving food. In Japan, there are records of dried fish, such as salmon and trout, being sent to the emperor as early as the Nara Period (710-794).

What is the difference between cured and “uncured”?

The main difference between cured and uncured items is that cured meats use chemical, man-made preservatives like sodium nitrite, while meats labeled as “uncured” rely on natural preservatives, such as celery powder and sea salt.

“Uncured” ham and bacon are actually cured

Uncured ham and bacon are still cured, just in a more natural way. Products labeled as “uncured” — such as Jones Dairy Farm’s Uncured Canadian Bacon — use vegetables and fruits like celery or beets, which transform into nitrite when processed.

Since nitrite isn’t added as an independent ingredient, these products are considered “uncured” and labeled as “No Nitrates or Nitrites Added.” It’s important to note that these products are not nitrate or nitrite-free. The molecules simply come from natural sources like celery powder, rather than man-made sodium nitrite and other manufactured chemicals.

Is “uncured” meat healthier?

You’re at the store and find both uncured and cured ham. Which one should you buy?

The question of whether uncured meats are healthier for you is a topic of debate. As discussed, products labeled as “uncured” still contain nitrite. Nitrates and nitrites prevent foodborne diseases and give ham, bacon and other cured meats their distinctive color.

If you’re looking for great-tasting products that don’t use synthetically-sourced nitrites, we recommend shopping for Jones Dairy Farm’s uncured ham and bacon products (see full list below).

Shop for Jones’ Uncured Ham and Bacon at Costco

The following products are uncured and available at Costco locations across Japan:

Jones Dairy Farm is committed to creating safe, great-tasting products that your family will love. All of our bacon, ham and sausage products in Japan are certified gluten-free and MSG-free.

Learn more about the Jones Dairy Farm difference.

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