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Growing Mold on Cured Salami

Written By Culinary Pen on Tuesday, December 18, 2012 | 5:03:00 PM

I love this type of thing.  I feel like a kid with a chia pet, watching it slowly grow bit by bit, day by day.  With cheese making I love watching the blue mold spread out through a wheel, or the fuzzy white rind gently blossom and thicken on a wheel of Brie or Camembert.  Now, in the cold winter months I find myself watching the mold grow across my home-cured salami.  After a few days out of town, I come home, greet my wife and dog, then go to inspect the meat room.

Hanging there is my largest charcuterie project to-date; a 5 pound salami of cured pork stuffed into a beef bung casing.  The casing was inoculated with  Penicillium nalgiovense, a harmless white mold.  This mold acts as a dominant bacteria on the surface of the salami, blocking out pathogens.  But before people knew of pathogens, they cultivated this mold because it helped to keep the salami protected from light, which could turn the fat rancid.  Oddly enough, they would even coat the salami in flour if the mold would not "take," also helping to keep the meat protected.

So here we are, a few weeks in and the salami curing nicely.  I'm hoping the mold will eventually encompass the entire casing, but we'll see how it goes.  It seems to prefer the concave sections of the salami best, avoiding any parts where the meat pressed out sharply against the casing.


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