Brine Cure

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A curing process that involves the soaking, washing, or injecting of food with a solution that is used to pickle or preserve foods. Typically, the brine is a simple solution of salt and water, or it may consist of a more complex solution of salt, water, sodium nitrite, or flavorings, such as honey, sugar, herbs, or spices. Brine curing is also known as "wet curing." Among the most commonly brine cured foods are ham, olives, and cheese. Brine cured hams are cured by soaking or injecting the meat with a brine consisting of water and any number of other ingredients including salt, sugar, sodium nitrite, sodium nitrate, honey, spices, seasoning, and artificial flavoring. The ham may also be cooked or smoked during this process. Brine cured olives are soaked in a brine typically consisting of water, salt, vinegar, and other ingredients that provide the olive with a moist shiny flesh. The intent of this type of curing is to remove the bitterness of the olive that makes it inedible prior to curing. Cheeses that are brine cured are washed with, or submerged into, a brine bath as part of the cheese making process. The cheese must remain in the brine for several hours to several months depending on the type of cheese being produced.

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