Standard commercial bacon takes just a few days to cure. The methods in bacon factories involve around 25% water injected as a brine solution together with phosphates to hold the injected brine solution. Quite a high proportion of this is still within the bacon when it’s in the pan. You might have noticed this type of bacon producing froth or a watery discharge, and even shrinking when cooking.

The pink colour and “bacony flavour” of most modern commercially produced bacon has been artificially enhanced with the use of additives such as; potassium nitrate & sodium nitrite (also known as Saltpeter).

Nitrate Free Bacon By Primal Cut

Nowadays you might want to know that Saltpeter is also an ingredient in the production of fertilisers and fireworks and more worryingly – explosives! Though permitted by EU and UK law, there are strict rules on the safe levels of nitrate and nitrite that may be used in food.

When it comes to Sodium Nitrite, this has been linked to a threat of increased cancer risk (World Health Organization Oct 2015 statement “Links between processed meat and colorectal cancer). However, it is not a simple issue. The current evidence shows that the threat of cancer increases as levels of Nitrosamines increase (rather than nitrates or nitrites themselves). Nitrosamines are formed at safe levels naturally in the body, but their levels in food can be affected by various other elements such as exposure to high heat for example.

We can’t advise on the effects of potassium nitrate, sodium nitrite, phosphates etc …….but what does make common sense to us is that firstly you need to start with pork that has happy life and secondly, you need to look for a curing process that involves natural ingredients and few additives. To our thinking the best foods and most nutritious foods, have always been made using natural ingredients.

What is Nitrate Free Bacon?

Natural Bacon with no added water, sodium nitrite or phosphates. Both flavour and preservation are achieved by the careful selection of naturally organic ingredients. There is no grey frothy discharge (from the release of phosphates and water) or shrinkage while cooking.

Natural Bacon cured without the use of phosphates, potassium nitrate and sodium nitrite

Our producers who cure bacon using all-natural recipes without the injection of artificial preservatives, brines and added sugars, gluten or other allergens, take their time!

Primal Cut produce Natural Bacon & Preservative Free Sausages

Kate & Michael Oliver at Primal Cut specialise in Natural Bacon
  1. Primal Cut dry cured natural bacon can take up to 5 weeks to cure.

In creating their bacon cures free from additives, Michael Oliver says that “provenance and organic are key factors” in the selection of his ingredients:

  • Organic Himalayan salt
  • Traditional and fresh herbs
  • Natural and Fresh fruits – without added sulphites
  • Spices – sourced as locally as possible.

The result is all-natural nitrite free bacon with a subtle fragrance and intense flavours,  containing only fresh organic fruit sugars and nitrates present in the natural raw organic seasonings.

100% of his free range pork comes from Landrace/Duroc pigs bred in Yorkshire, this hybrid is specially selected for making bacon due to long backs and large hams. His pork comes from Anna’s Happy Pigs whose chosen husbandry ensures all her pigs have access to fresh food, bedding, and are free to roam, forage, socialise, rest, shelter, suckle and feel the sun on their backs.  

Primal Cut’s Nitrate Free Bacon is certified by Coeliac UK and approved by the Real Food Campaign & Whole30 Diet – Whole30 approved bacon, and also; coeliac, diabetic, paleo bacon, low carb, weight loss and even keto bacon. 

Gazegill Organics Produce Organic Nitrate Free Bacon & Gammon

Emma & Ian at Gazegill Organics produce Organic Nitrate Free Bacon and Gammon

2. Emma & Ian farm with nature using minimal inputs so it makes sense to use a nitrate free home cure for making their bacon and gammons. They use sea salt and molasses to draw the moisture for up to 2 weeks, then wash and hang bacon sides to dry for a further 10 days, this process gives a stunning dry cured bacon which is how bacon should taste.

Oxford Sandy & Black Rare Breed Pigs

Gazegill Organics Nitrate Free Bacon comes directly from their organic Oxford Sandy & Back pork that is cured to a recipe found in the farm archives, traditional and nitrate free cured using just Himalayan sea salt and organic molasses…

Organic Nitrate Free Back and Streaky Bacon
Organic Nitrate Free Gammon Steaks
Organic Nitrate Free Smoked Gammon Joints 2-4kg

In summary, we can’t comment on what the long term health risks are when consuming potassium nitrate, sodium nitrite and phosphates. But we do know that farming with nature and using all natural ingredients makes for the best food something worth shouting about!!