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CYS Newsletter


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Last Updated: 6-Dec-2012  

Product-Specific Questions

Q. What is the shelf-life/expiration date for your kits? Why is my kit seasoning clumpy or solid?

A. If you store your kit in a cool, dry place with the packaging intact, there is essentially nothing to go bad or expire.

More specifically, there are two sources of clumping:  Moisture and Oils. 

The flavors for the seasonings come from the natural flavor oils in the spices; the more flavor oils, the more flavor and more clumping. Some amount of free-flowing agent is put into the seasonings when made so they can be packaged by machine, but in time the high-oil spices (that is to say, high quality) will overwhelm the free-flow agents as they sit on the shelf in their respective containers because we are limited in how much free-flowing agent we can add to the mix.

The other reason -- ambient air moisture -- is also a challenge.  The ingredients that we choose to provide the desired flavor profile may also have an undesirable characteristic: They pull moisture out of the air readily. The consequence is occasional lumping of the seasoning. Usually these seasonings are marinades, to which you would add water anyway. With a little stirring in water, everything dissolves just fine. It won't hurt the flavor profile. 

Lumping is NOT from cheap spices (just the opposite), and NOT from sitting on the shelf for a long time. 

Our seasonings have a high turnover rate, and we tend to make smaller batches of the clumpy ones throughout the year to minimize this effect. The alternative would be to cheapen the seasoning by using dried-out spices or non-humidity-loving components, and we really don’t want to do that!

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Technical Questions

Q. If I am making smoked sausage or kielbasa, do I need to add curing salt (sodium nitrite) to the meat?

A. Generally, yes. For all sausages that are smoked (and simultaneously cooked) for long periods of time, curing salt containing 6.25% sodium nitrite is normally added to provide shelf life, color, and flavor. It is added at the rate of 1 oz per 25 lb of meat directly to the meat and seasoning mixture, and mixed thoroughly by hand or machine.  {Where curing salt would normally NOT be used: In fresh (uncooked) sausage, or in fresh, cold-smoked sausage. Exceptions may occur in some ethnic sausage preparations.}

At low temperatures and in an anaerobic environment (inside the sausage link, for example), Clostridium Botulinum is a pathogen likely to occur. The use of sodium nitrite is known to inhibit the growth of Clostridium Botulinum if added during formulation at a rate of at least 100ppm minimum ingoing.

Additionally, sodium nitrite is a very strong antioxidant -- that's why a ham can be stored at refrigerated temperatures for several months, yet a cooked pork roast is only good for a couple of days -- and provides the reddish/pink coloring typical of cured meats.

Bottom line: If you plan to smoke it, then you need to cure it with sodium nitrite for safety.

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Q. When adding curing salt to sausage, do I have to wait for a while for curing to happen?

A. No, curing begins immediately with the development of a gray color. The sausage may be placed into casing and taken to the smokehouse right away. The second stage of the curing process is more heat-dependent. The sausage will take on a reddish color in the smokehouse as it is cooked, or over time from the heat of the ambient environment if hung and dried like some ethnic sausages.


Q. Can I brine cure meats at home?

A. Yes, using the 10-gallon or 2-gallon curing kits that Con Yeager manufactures and provides for sale. These kits are easy to use with a few simple instructions and guidelines:

  1. Follow label instructions carefully. The order in which you add the component ingredients to the water is critical. The first component is sodium tripolyphosphate. It is hard to dissolve, but critical that you do because it helps to keep the smoked/cooked meat moist. Get this phosphate completely dissolved before moving on to the second component of the brine. There is competition between the phosphate and the salt for water molecules to dissolve it (the “common ion effect”), and the phosphate does no good at the bottom of the curing vessel, so keep stirring, it’s worth it.

  2. Never use hot water to speed the dissolving, as this will render the curing brine useless.

  3. Keep the brine at about 40 degrees F for the duration of the curing period. If it gets too cold, the curing process will cease; too warm, and the meat will sour before it cures. Check it occasionally with a thermometer.

Q. What is a binder, and why should I use it?

A. A binder can be a blend of powdered milk, dairy whey, soy protein, and other ingredients, or some of these ingredients by themselves. The function of a binder is to keep ground meat products (like bologna, hot dogs, etc.) from crumbling when cooked, helps to emulsify the fat and the meat (prevents fat separation or “fatting out”), dampens the “wild game” flavor of wild game sausages, and extends the batch. For example, with the addition of 2 to 2.5 pounds of binder (plus water), a 25 lb batch can produce about 32 or 33 pounds of great-tasting, finished bologna with a gain of about 6 to 8 pounds of finished product.

A few of our seasonings are blended with extra salt and spices in anticipation of the addition of binder. If binder would be omitted here, the finished bologna may be a bit too salted and over-seasoned. Therefore, directions must be followed carefully when using pre-blended seasonings.

Q. Does my bologna or sausage need a binder?

A. It depends on a few factors, like the diameter of the bologna and the amount of fat in the mixture. As a general guideline, larger diameter (2 inches or more) bologna containing 25% or more fat would be helped by the addition of a binder.

Q. What kind of casing should I use for my sausage?

A. There are several different classifications of casings: natural, fibrous, collagen, and cellophane. There is no rule that says that you can't use a particular casing for your sausage. However, the structure and function of each type of casing will dictate how the sausage is processed. The following is a short list of common casings and their current uses. (Con Yeager sells all of these casings, but please call if you can't find it on our website.)

Natural sheep and hog casings (carefully cleaned at USDA inspected plants, edible)

22mm to 24mm diameter Sheep: finger-link sausages (fresh), hot stick (cured and smoked)

24mm to 26mm diameter Sheep: hot stick, hot dogs (cured and smoked), breakfast sausage (fresh)

29mm to 32mm diameter Hog: narrow hot & sweet sausages (works well in a sandwich bun)

32mm to 35mm diameter Hog: fresh hot and sweet dinner sausages, narrow kolbassi.

35mm to 38mm diameter Hog: larger dinner sausages, kolbassi and summer sausages.

40mm to 43mm diameter Beef Rounds: ring bologna (edible, but usually too chewy to eat)

Fibrous casings (manufactured with plastic and cellulose, not edible)

These come in a huge range of sizes (pepperoni-sized 30mm to large bologna 180mm) and colors (clear, red, brown, mahogany), and lengths. They are usually open on one end and clipped or tied with a cotton string on the other end so they can be hung up in the smokehouse. Here are some typical fibrous casings:

73mm x 24inch: Bologna, summer sausage. Fits well in kitchen ovens.

32mm x 30inch: Pepperoni, summer sausage.

Collagen casings (manufactured from the inner layers of beef hides, edible)

These also come in a large range of diameters (17mm to 32mm), colors (clear, red, mahogany), and strand lengths (several meters). These casings are compressed into a 10-inch tube that can easily slide up over a stuffing tube, making them very convenient. Since they are manufactured, they are very consistent in their diameter and length, making them ideal for portion-controlled processing. Never wet them before use, but use them dry. They pick up enough moisture from the meat to become soft. They require no refrigeration, unlike natural casings, but they must be kept from drying out and becoming brittle. Storage in a tightly sealed heavy plastic bag is recommended. Here is a short list of typical uses:

18mm: Hot stick

23mm: Hot stick, breakfast sausage

30mm: Dinner sausage (fresh), smoked sausage

43mm: Ring bologna. These are tied on one end with a cotton string.

50mm: Sopra Sada (an Italian dried sausage). This casing bonds and shrinks with the meat.

Cellophane casings: These casings are designed for making “skinless” products, like hot dogs. The uncooked hot dog meat is stuffed into these casings, which are linked, cooked and smoked, and then the casings are peeled off and discarded. They are not easily used by the home meat processor.

 

Q. Can I stuff hot stick from my grinder? 

A. This is not recommended, unless you have a kitchen grinder designed for this purpose. The reason is that the small exit hole creates enough back pressure to force the meat mixture around the grinder’s auger, smearing the meat. It is best to use a stuffer, but then be careful that you go slowly so you don’t strip the gears of the stuffer. Most of the small diameter product is made from large hydraulic stuffers that can produce adequate force. Some electric kitchen grinders can handle stuffing the small diameter products. The larger diameter sausages are usually very easily stuffed from the kitchen grinder with a stuffing attachment, but the smaller diameter sausages can be a challenge.

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Miscellaneous Questions

Q. Can you tell me all of the retail stores near me that carry your products?

A. Unfortunately, the list of all stores that carry our products is not presently available. If you prefer to buy products in person and you are near SouthWest PA, please visit one of our retail stores. Click here.


Q. If I leave a comment with my web order, who reads it?

A. Only our customer service staff can read your comments. Parcel delivery services such as FedEx and UPS cannot. Therefore, leaving comments such as "leave product on front porch" will not be effective. You should post a note on your house to direct the delivery person where to leave your shipment.


Q. Why is my shipment's tracking number telling me that my order is not coming to my address but instead going somewhere else?

A. FedEx reuses tracking numbers. If the tracking information that you are seeing seems wrong, chances are good that you are seeing the information for the previous shipment FedEx assigned your tracking number to. You should wait 24 hours and check your tracking number again, at which point it should be correctly showing your specific order location. For more information, click here to go to FedEx's website.


Q. Where do I go to track my Con Yeager order that's being shipped with FedEx?

A.
 
Please click here to go to FedEx's tracking page. 

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Allergen Labeling Information

We understand that people make food choices for a variety of reasons, from medical necessity to personal preference. The products manufactured by the Con Yeager Spice Company are labeled with very specific ingredient information in order to assist you in making accurate and informed food selections. 

The primary source for allergen and gluten information can be found in the ingredient statement. It is important to read the ingredient statement on all the foods you plan to consume, each time you purchase them, since product formulations change over the course of time. 

Allergens 

Food allergens of concern as identified by the FDA are: peanut, tree nuts (cashew, pecan, almond, Brazil nut, pistachio, macadamia, walnut, pine nut, hazelnut, coconut, etc.), soybean, crustaceans (lobster, shrimp, crawfish, crab, etc), milk, fish, eggs, and wheat. There are 160 or more other foods that can cause allergic reactions but are rare in occurrence. 

Gluten

Gluten protein found in grains such as wheat, barley, rye, triticale, spelt, kamut, mir, and farina, cannot be properly digested or metabolized by people with a genetic condition called celiac disease. Oats are also considered to be a source of gluten, because oats are usually harvested on the farm with the same equipment as the other grains and become cross-contaminated during harvesting.  

Ingredient Labeling

It is very important for people who have been medically diagnosed with an allergen sensitivity or gluten sensitivity to have accurate information about the ingredients contained in our products. In order to help them make informed choices about the food they consume, it is our policy to list ingredients by their common and usual name in the ingredient statement on the package label. In order to obtain the most accurate and current ingredient information for the product you are considering purchasing, reading the ingredient statement is a necessity. 

Listings

The Con Yeager Spice Company does not maintain a list of allergen free or gluten free products at this time.

 Labeling of Spices, Flavorings, and Vegetables

The Con Yeager Spice Company is regulated by the FDA; however, the majority of the products we manufacture are used in further-processed meat and poultry products. Meat and poultry are regulated by the USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service. The USDA FSIS LPDD (Labeling and Program Delivery Division) classifies some of the ingredients listed below a little differently than the FDA. The ingredient statement on our product label meets the FDA regulation for labeling and provides the additional information needed for properly labeling meat and poultry products.

This list is provided only as a guide. Please contact the Technical Services Department for additional Information about a specific product.

 

FDA

USDA FSIS

Allspice

Spice

Spice

Anise Seed

Spice

Spice

Bay Leaves

Spice

Spice

Caraway Seed

Spice

Spice

Cardamom

Spice

Spice

Celery Seed

Spice

Spice

Chervil

Spice

Spice

Cinnamon

Spice

Spice

Cloves

Spice

Spice

Coriander

Spice

Spice

Cumin Seed

Spice

Spice

Dill Seed

Spice

Spice

Fennel Seed

Spice

Spice

Fenugreek

Spice

Spice

Garlic: Granulated, Minced

Garlic

Dehydrated Garlic

Garlic Powder

Garlic  

Garlic Powder or Flavoring

Ginger

Spice

Spice

Horseradish

Spice

Spice

Mace

Spice

Spice

Mustard Flour

Spice

Spice

Nutmeg

Spice

Spice

Onion, Chopped Minced, Granulated

Onion

Dehydrated Onion

Onion Powder

Onion

Onion Powder or Flavoring

Oregano

Spice

Spice

Paprika

Spice & Coloring

Paprika

Parsley Flakes

Spice

Dehydrated Parsley

Pepper, Black

Spice

Spice

Pepper, White

Spice

Spice

Pepper, Red

Spice

Spice

Pepper, Green Bell

Green Bell Pepper

Dehydrated Green Bell Pepper

Pepper, Red Bell

Red Bell Pepper

Dehydrated Red Bell Pepper

Rosemary

Spice

Spice

Saffron

Spice

Spice

Savory

Spice

Spice

Star Anise Seed

Spice

Spice

Tarragon

Spice

Spice

Thyme

Spice

Spice

Turmeric

Spice

Turmeric

 

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