(NaturalNews) Those readers who eat meat probably already know that conventional meat preserving methods typically involve the use of sodium nitrite and other chemical additives linked to causing cancer and other serious health conditions. But new research out of Denmark could eliminate the need for such chemicals by replacing them with herbs, berries and other organic substances that have natural preserving properties.
Scientists from Aarhus University in Denmark have collaborated with the Danish Meat Research Institute (DMRI) to come up with new methods of preserving meat that do not involve synthetic chemicals. And one area of research where they have seen considerable promise thus far involves adding natural herbs and fruits with antibacterial and antiviral characteristics to meat.
For their initial research, Aarhus scientists made a list of 37 plant species believed to have antibacterial properties, which included rosemary, rhubarb, wild garlic, sea buckthorn, rose hip, and hops. After testing their effects on Listeria monocytogenes, Salmonella typhimurium, and Echerichia coli, the list was narrowed down to 15 successful candidates, which were eventually narrowed down to eight that are both effective and capable of being widely grown in Denmark.
In the end, aronia (chokeberry), sage, savory, sloe (blackthorn), lingonberry, wild garlic (ramsons), red currant, and horseradish all made the final list of herbs and berries with demonstrable preserving capabilities. Each of these can be added in various combinations and quantities to meat products for preserving purposes, and in most cases, will add pleasant and desirable flavors to meat.
The team is still in the process of testing these herbs and spices to see how they can best be added to meat, and at what amounts. And the Aarhus University MAPP Centre for Research on Customer Relations in the Food Sector also plans to evaluate the public's reaction to these new additives to see if they would even be popular on a wide scale.
Back in 2006, research published in the journal Food Microbiology found that both grape seed and pine bark extracts are also powerful, natural meat preservatives. In that study, researchers found that both grape seed and pine bark work better than synthetic preservatives at preventing the growth of harmful microbes and the development of oxidation on meat (http://www.foodnavigator.com).