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Sausage science question... [Jan. 11th, 2007|10:03 am]
John
Okay, when last kightp was up here, she discovered a lost tube of sausage in the back of my refrigerator, long past its "sell by" date, and puffy. We threw it away, being careful not to let the plastic tube they encase sausage in break.

Today, I saw a package of sausage that is about a month *before* its "sell by" date... and it was puffy too. Not as bad as the last one, but puffy.

Being the brave stupid person I am, I opened it, smelled it, and got a faint whiff of sulfur. Mostly, it smelled like sausage, but there was that tiny bit of rotten egg smell. I threw it away.

Of course, now it occurs to me that I've never smelled sausage carefully when opening it. Hell, for all I know, every time you open sausage, if you put your nose close to it and snort, you'll get a tiny whiff of sulfur mixed in with the rest of the scents. And, for all I know, sausage isn't supposed to be packed solid, and it's normal for there to be some air in the tube.

Does anyone know anything more productive than "the less the public knows about how sausages and the law are made, the better they will sleep at night"?
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: wolfette
2007-01-11 06:19 pm (UTC)
hmmm, not knowing what you call "sausage", I can only answer for UK style sausages - and I would be very worried if my bangers had a whiff of sulphur.

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[User Picture]From: kathrynt
2007-01-11 06:39 pm (UTC)
uhhh. . . that tube isn't plastic.
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[User Picture]From: wolfette
2007-01-11 07:00 pm (UTC)
some are "natural", some are artifical. Artifical skins aren't unlike plastic.
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[User Picture]From: kathrynt
2007-01-11 07:01 pm (UTC)
well OK. But you can eat them, which makes them "not plastic" in my admittedly reductionist book.
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2007-01-11 07:20 pm (UTC)
You're thinking of link sausage, not the tubes of bulk sausage sold in grocery stores.
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[User Picture]From: kightp
2007-01-11 07:57 pm (UTC)
Right. We're talking Jimmy Dean pork sausage in a plastic tube, not Real Sausage in casings.

And if they're all swole up, they skeer me.
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[User Picture]From: kathrynt
2007-01-11 08:59 pm (UTC)
D'oh.
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[User Picture]From: jhetley
2007-01-11 07:09 pm (UTC)
Maybe yes, maybe no. I _thought_ John was referring to bulk sausage rather than link sausage, in which case the casing would be removed before cooking.
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[User Picture]From: jhetley
2007-01-11 07:07 pm (UTC)
"If in doubt, throw it out."

No, sausage shouldn't smell of sulfur. However, puffiness could just be a low-pressure front coming through.

Did the ingredients statement list sulfites/sulfates as preservatives?
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[User Picture]From: johnpalmer
2007-01-11 07:26 pm (UTC)
Re: "If in doubt..." sure, but there's also the whole "Okay, that's two tubes of bulk sausage in a row I've tossed, one with certainty and wisdom, one with a bit of doubt. And I don't want to keep throwing out sausage tube after sausage tube, and have it turn out that, if I sniffed really hard at ordinary, fresh, healthy sausage, maybe I'd detect just a tiny whiff of sulfur. (Or, maybe it's one of the spices is nearly-sulfury smelling, and my nose is confused.)

I'll check the ingredient list next time; I'm not interested enough to dig through the trash :-).


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[User Picture]From: elimloth
2007-01-11 09:39 pm (UTC)
You shouldn't throw out fresh sausage but instead take it back to the store. If something is awry, the store needs to know that to prevent others from getting hurt. In any case, assuming you trust the store, someone there would be able to assess its freshness.
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[User Picture]From: teddywolf
2007-01-11 11:55 pm (UTC)
Maybe you should buy a sausage from the store and open it that evening. Investigation requires a fresh sample.
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[User Picture]From: irismoonlight
2007-01-12 12:24 am (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: kyra_ojosverdes
2007-01-12 03:26 am (UTC)
I'm used to just about anything that's been packaged in an airtight manner at a lower elevation being puffy. Where you live near sea-level, this would be very different. (I'm at about 3200 feet.)

I'd consider sulfur a bad thing. I have in fact spent time sniffing at various types of meat products, and "good" sausage, in my experience, has the basic "clean meat" smell, with spice. No sulfur.
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[User Picture]From: wyang
2007-01-12 01:56 pm (UTC)

Spoiled sausage?

I've never smelled sulfur with my bulk sausage. At my altitude (or your near-sea level one), I've also never seen puffy plastic wrappings, though I do think that some brands (Jimmy Dean) may be less tightly packed than others (Bob Evans, which may not be available out west). Faced with such an issue, twice, I would have taken the product back to the store -- they're usually pretty good about making that kind of thing right.

There's got to be some fun jokes about this.. hell references, jokes about not knowing how law, sausage, or Microsoft software gets made, etc... but the field's just a little too open. I'll leave it as an exercise for the reader. ;-)

-Bill
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[User Picture]From: eleccham
2007-01-14 08:45 pm (UTC)
Unless you're sensitive enough to sulphur that you're picking up on the sulphites used as preservative, that's a definite bad sign. But you could be doing - I know people who are.

And almost all sausage that's not "organic no preservative use immediately" contains lots of sulphites.
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