We bought a chunk of raw beef in brine in the store. I was marked "fully cured,... boiling will develop pink color". After adding some water and slow cooking it overnight it turned into delicious corned beef with beautiful color and texture.

I tried the broth, it tastes very salty but also delicious. Wanted to keep it for a beef soup but not sure if the chemicals used to cure the beef may have deposited in the broth in unsafe concentration. Anyone has an experience and/or knowledge of that? Is the broth edible?

1 Answer 1


All the ingredients used in curing are safe to eat, otherwise they would not be able to be used in a commercial sense. Typically cured meats of the sort that you describe are called something like "corned beef". These are produced using a curing salt that is composed of sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite along with regular table salt (sodium chloride). The sodium nitrate is the component responsible for the pink colour as it converts myoglobin in the muscle into the pink nitrosomyoglobin.

Corned meats can be cooked and eaten without boiling them, often by roasting. As roasting without boiling would result in you consuming all the salts in the meat without those lost in the boiling process, you can, by inference, assume that the broth is also safe to consume as it contains only a portion of the salts from the meat.

In addition, bacon and ham make excellent and delicious stocks, and these are often cured in a similar manner to corned beef, so your stock should be safe to eat.

  • 4
    It is both off-topic here and potentially controversial, but readers may want to consult medical references on potential risks associated with the consumption of nitrates and nitrites.
    – njuffa
    Mar 31, 2021 at 18:17
  • 1
    @njuffa, indeed, but as medical/health related topics other than food safety are off-topic here, I didn't include any information about that in the answer.
    – bob1
    Mar 31, 2021 at 19:54

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