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. (June 2011)
Sea salt being added to raw ham to make
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
 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
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
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.