But all that changed after I showed him information on sodium nitrate.
Sodium nitrate is not found in fresh meat but it is put into a lot of processed meats for a couple of different reasons.
The first reason is to simply preserve the colour of processed meats like salami, ham, bacon, pepperoni, and beef jerky.
I don't really care if my meat is super red or not but I guess people think it's fresher looking if it's red, so they'll throw it in there.
The other reason is that sodium nitrate prevents bacteria that causes botulism from forming.
This reason is great. I sure don't want to get botulism. I don't want any kind of food poisoning at all.
But after I looked into botulism I saw that it's really rare and only about 110 people in the United States out of the whole 300 million population get it a year. When I learned that, I didn't feel like I was in danger of getting it.
Now for the consequences of sodium nitrate.
I'm no expert, but this is what I've heard -- In high levels sodium nitrate can be very toxic and even cancer causing. You can get migraines and there have been studies done on relating lung disease to sodium nitrate as well.
So that means that because of the possible consequences of sodium nitrate, I'm going to limit the amount of processed meats I consume. I still eat ham and bacon, just less than I might have before I knew about sodium nitrate because those consequences only occur because of high level intake of sodium nitrate.
Still after hearing the consequences my stubborn boyfriend would prefer to eat only meat without sodium nitrate so I decided to make him some homemade beef jerky. I don't have a dehydrator so I had only my oven to help me.
I found a recipe on the Internet and changed it up to make it suit the ingredients I had on hand and to make it easier on myself. Here it is: