Q.: I was watching Jacques Pepin on PBS. He was making different kinds of sausages. They looked wonderful and reminded me of my childhood growing up on a farm. He used Morton Tender Quick. Can you tell me why it is so special, other than maintaining the color of the sausage? I’m guessing it’s a preservative as well, like pink salt. I’ve been on the hunt for it ever since. I could find it only on the Morton website; found nothing locally. Any help with this one?
— B.B., Suffield
A.: Morton Tender Quick is a meat curing product, which acts as a preserving agent when making foods like sausages or jerky and other cured meats.
It can be purchased online from various sites, including Morton. Locally, you will find it at the sporting goods store Fin, Feather & Fur Outfitters, 4080 Belden Village St. NW, Jackson Township, or at Leener’s, 9293 Olde Eight Road, Northfield, which specializes in supplies for making wine, beer, cheese, and other fermented and cured foods at home. A 2-pound package sells for about $7. You also can order online at www.leeners.com.
According to the manufacturer, Morton Tender Quick is a fast meat cure for fresh and frozen meat, poultry and game, which can be used for either dry curing or sweet pickle curing. Morton Tender Quick contains salt, sugar, propylene glycol, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite.
“The salt acts as a preserving agent, along with sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite, which also contribute to color and flavor development. Propylene glycol helps to keep the mixture uniform,” according to Morton.
While pink salt is a curing salt, it cannot be used interchangeably with Morton Tender Quick. In general, it is best to use whichever is called for in the recipe you are following.
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