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. (June 2011)
Sea salt being added to raw ham to make Prosciutto
Bag of Prague powder #1, also known as "curing salt" or "pink salt." It's typically a combination of salt and sodium nitrite, with the pink color added to distinguish it from ordinary salt.
Salting is the preservation of food with dry edible salt. It is related to pickling in general and more specifically to brining (preparing food with brine, that is, salty water) and is one form of curing. It is one of the oldest methods of preserving food, and two historically significant salt-cured foods are salted fish (usually dried and salted cod or salted herring) and salt-cured meat (such as bacon). Vegetables such as runner beans and cabbage are also often preserved in this manner.
Salting is used because most bacteria, fungi and other potentially pathogenic organisms cannot survive in a highly salty environment, due to the hypertonic nature of salt. Any living cell in such an environment will become dehydrated through osmosis and die or become temporarily inactivated.
It was discovered in the 19th century that salt mixed with nitrates (saltpeter) would color meats red, rather than grey, and consumers at that time then strongly preferred the red-colored meat. The food hence preserved stays healthy and fresh for days avoiding bacterial decay.