Corned beef is not corn mixed with beef. Before we go into details, think cows and salt. Corned beef has had a long history, it dates back to the 17th century when there was a lot of beef and salt to go around. Corned beef is the result of the process of salt curing a brisket of beef.
Even if you haven’t had it before, you must have heard people talking about it, or come across it in restaurant menus. There are a lot of recipes out there for making corned beef but they all have a pinkish hue to them that is due to the presence of nitrates in the beef.
What does corned beef taste like? Corned beef has an intense flavor and aroma that some people have compared to salami or bacon. When talking about the taste of corned beef, know that it doesn’t taste anything like ordinary beef. Corned beef tastes sweet, sour, and spicy at the same time. It has that meaty flavor that is accompanied by a soft and very tender texture. Corned beef can be very salty to some people depending on their preference.
Corned beef was a way to preserve beef in the days before refrigeration was invented. But now, it is a way to make ordinary beef special.
Nutritional Benefits of Corned Beef
Before we jump into the nutritional benefits of corned beef, please take note that corned beef has very high fat and sodium content and should not be taken daily. Corned beef might be full of fat, but it contains a lot of protein, calories, and zero carbs.
Corned beef has a high amount of sodium, 34 percent of the daily value (DV), and cholesterol 83% of the DV. All these measurements can be found in a 3-ounce serving of corned beef. In a regular serving of corned beef, you have more than one-third of the DV of sodium.
Sodium nitrite is used in every commercially processed corned beef you can find out there. Sodium nitrite helps keep the beef healthy and fresh because it limits the growth of bacteria that promotes spoilage. This also rules out the possibility of foodborne illnesses. Sodium nitrite is also what is responsible for the pinkish hue of corned beef.
Corned beef is an excellent source of vitamin B12, iron, and protein. These micronutrients play very vital roles in the functionality of our body. But the combined power of these nutrients helps to replenish and create healthy red blood cells.
Corned beef also has high amounts of selenium which is great for the thyroid glands in the body. Selenium can act as an antioxidant, and relieve oxidative stress which is very good for the body. This compound is also needed for the formation of DNA.
Corned beef is processed meat, and studies have shown that a high level of consumption of processed meat can lead to a higher risk of early death. The cancer division at the World Health Organization (WHO) has classified processed meat as a carcinogen meaning it increases the risk of the formation of cancer cells.
While corned beef produces micronutrients that can be of benefit to the human body, it can do quite a lot of harm so it is best to eat it infrequently.
Culinary Uses of Corned Beef
Corned beef can be bought pre-packaged from the grocery store instead of making it by yourself. Corned beef that is homemade with normal pickling salt will have a greyish color.
Corned beef and cabbage is the dish that is used to celebrate St Patrick’s Day. This holiday is celebrated in Ireland, but Irish Americans living in the United States do celebrate it and make a big deal of it. This is one of the popular adaptations of corned beef. Another one is the Reuben sandwich. Reuben sandwiches consist of rye bread, corned beef, swiss cheese, and thousand island dressing.
Corned beef can be served and enjoyed in various soups and stews. It can also be enjoyed in several dishes and recipes. During the world wars, corned beef was famous. It was the fresh meat that was rationed during World War I and World War II. Till today, it still serves as the field ration for many armed forces around the world.
History of Corned Beef? How to Procure It?
The history of corned beef can not be pinned down to a specific place or name. But the name corned is derived from the English representation of grains of salt which were called corns. Corned beef came about when people started preserving beef with salt curing, and evidence of this act can be found in many cultures.
The commercial production of corned beef during the British Industrial Revolution. From the 17th century to mid 19th century, Irish corned beef was traded extensively everywhere. It was favored for civilian consumption and also served as the provision of the British Naval fleets and the North American Army.
Corned beef found its way into French colonies where it served as a form of sustenance for both the colonists and the slaves. Ireland produced a very significant amount of the corned beef trade, but most of its inhabitants consumed little meat due to its cost.
Due to the abolition of the slave trade in the late 19th century, the trade of corned beef slowed and it became a less important commodity. But it still had significance as it served as a ration to troops during the Second World War. In present times, corned beef is deli meat that is mostly enjoyed as a delicacy. Most of the supply comes from South America.
Corned beef can be made or at home, or procured from grocery stores all year round.
What is the Flavor of Corned Beef?
Corned beef has a flavor that reminds you of hot dogs. It is spicy, salty, and beefy. When you think of corned beef, imagine a hot dog in its most perfect form, in the shape of a steak. That is one thing every meat lover would like to have a taste of.
Facts You Don’t Know About Corned Beef
- Corned beef and cabbage were one out of the many dishes that President Grover Cleveland loved.
- At President Abraham’s inauguration dinner in March 1861, he ate a dish of corned beef and cabbage.
- Pastrami is corned beef that has been steamed and smoked.