Sausage is delicious, nutritious, and within reach of most peoples pockets. Primarily made from meat, salt, herbs, spices and natural casings. But how do these ingredients combine to make sausages such a tasty treat?
In this article, we will learn about the basic components of sausage and how they work together to create a great tasting product. We will also discover why sausage is so popular and how it has evolved over the years.
You may not realise it, but sausage is a very complex food. There are many different types of sausages, each with its own unique flavor profile. Some sausages contain only pork, while others include beef, chicken, turkey, lamb, fish, and even plant based vegan sausages. And because most sausage is made from meat, it contains protein, fat, carbohydrates, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Sausage is a versatile food that can be used as a main course, appetizer, side dish, snack, dessert, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even a midnight snack.
Unfortunately, UK sausage isn't generally known as a health food as production has become highly mechanised and addition of artificial ingredients made commonplace by the demands of supermarkets. Cafés, supermarkets, butchers frequently use outdoor bred pork shoulder, including off-cuts - some sausages may even be all trim.
Cereals like wheat, oats, barley, or other psuedo flours are combined with water and added to the meat. Sulphites may also be used to delay oxidation and preserve color. Another quite common method for preserving dried sausages (salami) is the addition of potassium nitrate.
What Is Sausage Made Of?
Below is an example of an ingredient list taken from a well-known UK sausage brand in one of the leading supermarkets:
Iodised Salt (Salt, Potassium Iodate)
Flavour Enhancer (Monosodium Glutamate, Disodium Inosinate, Disodium Guanylate)
Preservative (Sodium Nitrite/Nitrite)
The World Health Organization, the NHS and the press are warning that each additive carries its own set of risks and health warnings. Has the processed food industry gone too far?
Here are some interesting facts. Since Roman times, our ancestors preserved leftover meat with salt, herbs, and spices. All of the ingredients were natural and organic. The problem isn't that we don't have the knowledge and recipes to produce healthy sausages, but outside of the home enthusiast most larger sausage producers don't offer this option. Can we change that?
The Sausage Machine
Machine industrialisation of food preparation. As most of us lead busy and often hectic lives, our attention has shifted from where we'll find our next meal to commuting, meetings, picking up the kids on time, and making tea! In a world short on time, we depend on food manufacturers to provide most of our food and to make sure we have access to it at all hours of the day or night to satisfy our needs. We don’t always connect with the issue.
Food manufacture and distribution networks are now on a huge scale, driven by shareholder demands for growth and higher dividends. Priorities have shifted and food production has moved away from local and seasonal to worldwide and whenever. But does processing food on this scale benefit us?
The problem with fresh meat is that it is perishable. Ask any Roman and he will tell you - to keep meat, we have to preserve it – and that’s a problem for the food manufacturer – particularly as the timeline from production to consumer can be more than ten days. How do they keep it “fresh”? As demand for cheaper processed meats with a longer shelf life increases so does the science of artificial preservation - This is something we need to avoid.
Are Gluten Free Sausages Healthy?
Production of gluten-free sausage is now on an industrial scale! When these new products were first introduced we all believed we were onto a good thing - finally, a sausage without the bread! Unfortunately, this was short lived and we now find that even gluten free sausages may include less than nutritional ingredients.
To really understand if a product is healthy, or not, we begin with the small print - that often confusing list of ingredients and technical, even marketing terms used to help you buy.
Is It Really Food?
The problem with many alternative flour filler/binders is the resulting inflammation in the body and associated longer-term health impacts. In terms of "E" Numbers, though they may have been deemed safe as a food additive, our bodies are often unable to recognise many of these compounds as food. Hence, the body’s ability to function normally (to know when we need to eat, and when to stop eating!) becomes confused, hormonal signals to the brain are lost in the syrupy fog of artificial preservative, inorganic compounds, and toxic anti-nutrients like sugar and legumes. Consequently, there's now mounting evidence that in this state the risk of auto-immune and degenerative disease increases significantly.
Good nutrition comes from eating a balanced diet of natural whole foods. A healthy eating plan doesn't need to be difficult if we stick to eating a simple balanced diet of real and natural whole food.
e.g. Fat, Meat, fish, fruit, vegetable, nuts, and seeds will form the majority of a healthy diet with some dairy and butter. Avoid refined sugars, grains, legumes (such as soy, pea flour, and chickpeas) and more particularly, anything containing artificial ingredients - look at the brands of gluten-free sausages in the supermarket.
Next time you are at your local fry-up, think about what you are eating and let go of anything that does not serve. Our ancestors may not have lived to very old age, though they had innate skills and abilities that would serve them well in the hunt, skills that if we could access again would serve us well in these busy times. And the magic pill?
Strip back your diet and eat simple foods, real-food that's as close to their natural state as possible. Real foods are those that don't require processing, i.e. heat to be edible.
The best advice! ask yourself; Could I eat this food in its raw state - without becoming ill? The question is not - do I like raw steak? Rather, could I eat it if I needed to, and can my gut flora cope with it? The answer, is of course, yes!
Does Healthy Sausages Exist?
Yes, check your labels! They are out there - if you know what to look out for.
The principles that guide Primal Cut and our healthy sausages are to use age-old traditions and simple real food ingredients. A kind of marriage of the Italian approach to food and ancestral diets. It's the beating heart of what we do and our range of - healthy sausages.
We're with you on the demands of cooking healthy options for the family, that's why our high meat content, certified gluten-free sausages aren't just gluten-free. They're an entirely free-from healthy option, to be enjoyed by all - including specialist lifestyle diets like; keto, paleo, low carb, weight loss. Finally, the depth of flavour and great taste means they're the first choice for a simple quick family meal - convenient, delicious & healthy. WIN, WIN!!
Sausage Meal Suggestions:
soups and casseroles.
More... healthy sausage recipes.