Sausage Making Ingredients

Allspice:  (pimento).  As its name implies, allspice is reminiscent of several spices – cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves.  Available whole or ground.

Its main use is flavouring licorice and pepperoni sausage.  Available ground or seed.

Ascorbic Acid:
is used alone to help keep the nice fresh bloom in fresh meat, especially pork.  Ascorbates are used in conjunction with Erythorbates which are closely related.  These are used to ensure development of the desired color in cured meat – see colour retainer.  A little extra vitamin C won’t hurt one bit.

Bay Leaves or Laurel Leaves: 
The emperors of Rome were crowned with Laurel Leaves.  Used for soups, stew and pickling.

Bread Crumbs, toasted:
  remove crusts from fresh white sliced bread, then place the trimmed bread on a cooling sheet and place in a pre-heated oven 176 C (350 F) and toast to a very light brown.  Cool and store in an air tight container.  Used mainly in British type sausage.  Also see toasted wheat crumb.

Caraway Seed:
  The Germans add it to sauerkraut.  After years of experimenting I found ground caraway to be the secret ingredient of head cheese.

  Used sparingly in a few recipes in this book, such as liver sausage.  Very expensive.

Cayenne, Red Peppers or Chiles:
There are so many varieties it would impossible to mention them here.  Chili refers to the dish chili con carne.  Getting back to the making of sausage, ground or crushed chills are used throughout this book.

Celery Seed:
Used in many sausage recipes, pickling and cooking in general.

Cinnamon:  Cinnamon is probably the oldest spice and the most commonly used in it original form, dried bark (cinnamon sticks) or ground to a powder.

Cloves:  Use sparingly (whole cloves or ground).  This stuff can overpower all other spices and seasonings.

Colour Retainer:  see ascorbic acid.  The best and safest way it to use the commercially prepared products available at Butcher’s and Packers Supplies.  Two large manufacturers of these products plus spices and various sausage mixes are Hagesud and Wiberg.

Coriander:  From the parsley family.  For cooking in general and sausage making.  You can purchase coriander three ways:  

1.    Whole dried fruit, improperly called seed.  The whole fruit is toasted and ground.
2.    Its most common usage, the dried fruit is ground to a powder.
3.    Fresh dried leaves.

Corn Syrup:  Has a high percentage of moisture and is composed of a moisture of sugars formed by a breakdown of starch and contains dextrose maltose plus a few other sugars.  Corn syrup adds flavour, sweetness plus aids in the browning in the cooking sausage.  

Cumin:  It is a seed which resembles caraway seed.  Its uses vary from German liqueur to cheese and sausages.

Cure – Sodium Nitrite:  Potassium nitrate (salt peter) was used quite liberally in all cured meats.  Today our methods are safe, but like anything else don’t use to excess.  Sodium nitrite is derived from potassium nitrate and is used in minute quantities in modern meat curing – so what we can accurately weigh or measure nitrites, it is first dissolved in water with regular salt and then re-hydrated with 93% salt, 7% nitrites.  This salt and nitrite moisture is added to a sausage mix at 2.50 g per kg of meat.  So you see the amount of nitrites is minimal.  There is constant research going on for an alternative for nitrites.  So far there is none.   

Curry Power:  is used in a sausage making and Indian food.

Dextrose – Or corn sugar is made from corn starch, dextrose along with other sugars is used for flavour, mask salt flavour and to aid in the curing of meat.

Dill Seeds:  It is a small dark seed of the dill plant.  Used mainly in pickling; some sausage recipes.  Try a pinch in you sausage and sauerkraut.

Fennel:  It is a small seed-like fruit very aromatic with a sweet taste somewhat like anise.  Used in making sausage.

Fermento:  I find this product to be the best and most practical in the production of fermented sausage, at home or small sausage kitchen.  It is a diary based products, comes in the powered form.  So there is not problem in storage.

Garlic:  Today garlic is the wonder food of the 90s.  There is suggestion that it lowers bad cholesterol levels, lowers high blood pressure, is a cancer preventative and many more claims, not to mention keeping vampires at bay.  Recipes call for dehydrated garlic – power or granulated, minced or flakes.

Ginger:  Available whole root or as a ground spice.  Life would be unbearable without such things as Ginger Ale, Ginger Beer, Ginger Bread and a wonderful Chinese dish called Ginger Beef.  Ground Ginger is used mostly in pork sausage, liver sausage, frankfurters, bologna, etc.

Juniper Berries:  Nothing exotic about juniper berries, they grow wild in the bush, are nearly impossible to find in the store and about all they are good for other than the distillation of gin, is in marinate and pickling spice.

Mace and Nutmeg:  Probably originated in the Molucca Island – part of the Spice Islands group.  Nowadays cultivated in Brazil, Granada, Java, Malaysia, etc.

  is the freshly growth between the nutmeg shell and the outer husk.  The nutmeg is the kernel of the nutmeg fruit.  Only the ground variety of both is used in sausage production.

  Marjoram is used in everything from soup to soap.  Fresh from the garden or dried.

Mustard:  White or yellow seeds, the only ones used in this book are cultivated pretty well all over the world.  Ground mustard is used for flavour in a few recipes and the whole seed in a couple of others.  Looks nice and gives you something to do later, pick them from your teeth.

Nutmeg:  See Mace.  I think I pretty well covered it there.

Onions:  One of the worlds oldest crops.  Fresh onions – use the large white variety.  All other recipes, dehydrated onions are used.  Powdered, granulated, flaked, etc.  A couple of useful hints – 1 g dehydrated onion = 8 to 10 g fresh.  To make your own onion salt, combine 75% regular salt with 25% powdered onion.

Oregano:  Known also as origanum and Mexican sage.  Another herb from the mint family used in a dried, flaked or rubbed form.  Used a lot in Italian cooking.  Tomato sauces would be pretty bland without the stuff.

Paprika:  Use only the first quality which is bright red in colour and is made from the outer or pericarpal tissue only.  Lower qualities contain other parts or all of the fruit which can be brownish red in colour.
Hungarian Paprika is bright red and pleasantly hot.  Other paprikas are fairly mild, some a little sweeter.

Parsley Flakes: 
This stuff will grow just about anywhere and in its fresh form is used just about everywhere as a plate filler in fine eating establishments so they can cut back your portion of food.  Dried parsley used in cooking general, adds flavour.  Sprinkle some on cooked vegetables with butter.  Looks good.  Italian sausage and Weisswurst just look – pretty darned good with those little green spots.

  Black and white.  The difference between black and white pepper is – black pepper is dried, unripened fruit of a perennial climbing vine.  White pepper is the dried kernels of the fruit which are gathered after they have just turned slightly yellow, they are then soaked for about a week in running water.  The outer skin removed then sun bleached.  Of the two, white pepper is the least harsh and had the best eye appeal in light coloured sausage.  Whole peppercorns are used to add appeal and excitement to Salamis.  What I mean by that last remark is having a bologna sandwich for lunch is boring, but, a nice thick salami sandwich on rye, that’s excitement.  You can spend the rest of the day trying to remove those small bits of peppercorns stuck up between your lips and gums.  Fine ground black pepper is used in a lot of recipes.  It has a bit more bite.  Coarse ground black pepper – more so for ham sausage plus the little black specks look good.

Phosphates –
I recommend its use.  It acts as a cure accelerator, increases water binding capacity and fat emulsifying capacity.  What it all boils down to, is the best tasting, plumpest, juiciest sausages you’ve ever eaten. This product available at Butchers & Supplies.  I use a brand called “Brifisol”.  This comes in a dry form.  They recommend 2 g per kg.  I only use 1 g per kg.  It’s better to use a little less than too much.  Be sure to tell you supplier to sell you the phosphates for sausage and not the one for bacon and hams, there is a difference.

Rosemary – One of those herbs which is overlooked these days, great in lamb and fish dishes.  If used sparingly, rosemary enhances almost any food.

Sage – Another herb from the mint family originating from the north eastern shores of the Mediterranean.  Grows just about anywhere.  Stuffing for our Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey, pork sausages without sage – forget it – this one’s a winner.

– (Sodium Chloride) regular table salt - In the recipes that state salt this is it.  The good old kitchen variety.  In cured sausage, I use the term curing salt.  Curing salt is regular salt with the required amount of cure (sodium nitrite) added.  This does away with the guess work.  Butchers and Packers Supplies sell this product referred to as “F.S. Cure”.  Some suppliers well sell by the kg.  Insist on this product.  

Savory – another herb of the mint family like most of the other originated in the Mediterranean regions. Available ground or rubbed.

Smoke – Liquid – Do not use artificial smoke flavour, use the real thing, this is real smoke from hardwoods which is drawn through water and then goes through a complicated procedure to give you a highly concentrated product.  Maybe you don’t have a smoker yet.  Add liquid smoke to your sausage mix – 2 ml spoon to 1 kg of sausage mix.  Liquid smoke is used a lot in commercial production by atomizing this concentrated liquid into a dense fog and injecting in into the smoke house.  Liquid smoke is OK, but can’t replace the real smoke flavour.

Soy Protein Concentrate – or soy flour used as an extender or binder.  It’s a good healthy ingredient to use, we all need protein in our diets.  To eliminate the bean flavour, the carbohydrates are removed.

Thyme – Native to Southern Europe and is now cultivated over a good part of Europe and North America.  Bees love this stuff.  So the honey from areas where thyme grows is exceptionally good.  The Egyptians used thyme for embalming their dead.  Oil of thyme is used today in cough drops, colognes, soft drinks and benedictine liqueur.  Can be used along with or in place of sage, ground or rubbed.

Toasted Wheat Crumbs – A name given to a variety of blended sausage flours or crumbs usually contains unbleached wheat flour.  It is used as a binder (water, fat) and as an extender.  I prefer to use this product than bread crumbs – available to butchers and sausage makers suppliers.