Historically, salami has been popular amongst Italian peasants because it can be stored at room temperature for periods of up to a year, supplementing a possibly meager or inconstant supply of fresh meat.
A traditional salame (singular), with its typical marbled appearance, is made from one or more of the following meats:
- pork, chopped beef, venison, poultry, goose, lamb, goat.
Additional ingredients include:
- minced fat
- various herbs and spices
The raw meat mixture is usually allowed to ferment for a day and then the mixture is either stuffed into an edible natural or non-edible artificial casing and hung to cure. The casings are often treated with an edible mold (Penicillium) culture as well. The mold is desired as it imparts flavor and prevents spoilage during the curing process. Most salami have the mold or the casing removed before being sold in international markets. Purists insist that the mold should be left intact.
More modern (but still traditional) mixtures include additional ingredients to assist in the fermentation process. These ingredients aim to take the guesswork out of traditional curing and can be found in many of the finest salami varieties in the world, although some producers eschew the nitrates and nitrites due to health concerns.
- nonfat dry milk
- lactic acid bacteria starter culture
- ascorbic acid
- sodium nitrite
- sodium nitrate
Salami varieties include this smoked Westphalian salami with added Camembert cheese.
Varieties of salami include:
- salami - a soft, cooked salami with the same taste look and feel to Bologna.
- Saucisson sec (French "dry sausage")
Texts adapted from Wikipedia.