I am wanting to make a spicy Korean soup broth and the recipe calls for ground pork.

I was wondering how long the cayenne peppers would extend shelf life of cooked ground pork?

Or is the broth still "bad in 3 days" as most sites suggest when referigerating ground pork?

  • 3
    Chili has no preservative properties I know of.
    – GdD
    Mar 22, 2017 at 8:42
  • Man you need to provide more info. Why do you think cayenne pepper would extend shelf life? What "most sites" are saying "bad in three days"?
    – Alaska Man
    Mar 22, 2017 at 9:29
  • And are we talking about whole/dried cayenne peppers or about cayenne pepper powder (which is 20000 to 100000 scoville IIRC - and seems inauthentic in a korean style broth :) ) ? Mar 22, 2017 at 13:12
  • @rackandboneman - What makes it inauthentic in a Korean style broth? My 100% native Korean mother would be surprised to hear this, since she regularly went to cayenne when gochu was not readily or economically at hand. Mar 23, 2017 at 13:49

2 Answers 2


Opinion and learned knowledge without doing searches for citations to back it up to follow:

Spices, including peppers have a history of being used to extend the life of foods including meats. This is a false reputation and representation of that history, IMO. The spices in reality were used in large quantities to cover up poor quality proteins and produce and hide the deficiencies and early stages of spoilage. It hid these qualities only, it did little to nothing to reverse or slow them. Under poor storage conditions 100 years ago a bite of pork might have turned your stomach to taste it at two days, but spice it up enough with peppers or a stout curry sauce and at four days you still might not have noticed. This does not mean it will still not end up with you locked in the loo for a few hours or worse.

With improved meat and produce quality and storage capabilities today in most of the world (yes, really, even as much as many of us complain), this is no longer necessary. We make things spicy because we are used to the taste and like it. But stories and traditions of it being a preservative continue. Salt for instance is a preservative, but only in the quantities used in curing and pickling and such, not in the quantities we use to spice food. That is for flavor, not to kill bacteria or extend the useful life of the food.

  • 1
    It's a widespread myth that spices were used to cover off flavors, but spices were too expensive to be used for that purpose. If you could afford spice, you could afford fresh food. Somebody did a nice job of running down the origin of the myth: medievalcookery.com/notes/drummond.pdf Mar 22, 2017 at 15:16
  • 1
    I will not refute the listed claims for medieval cookery, but that is not at all the origin of the commonly held beliefs as I learned. It is from Asian tradition to as far West as India, the spice belt where the spices were common and the tradition of using heavy spices has long been established but food supplies often have had trouble matching demand. Europe in Medieval times, spices were often valued like precious metals and jewels and resulted in treasure hunters exploring the far reaches to try to earn their fortune in spices. Nice find on the document though, is a nice read on its scope.
    – dlb
    Mar 22, 2017 at 17:26
  • Still trying to figure out how SE thinks I have two accounts with the same ID. lol P.S. some of the cover-up still occurs. It was not many years ago a US grocery chain was caught using diluted bleach to mask the smell on past date meat and fish.
    – dlb
    Mar 22, 2017 at 17:27
  • @dlb Same name, not the same account or id. You have user id 48330 and 48358, registered under different email addresses. Instructions for merging are here: cooking.stackexchange.com/help/merging-accounts (it's kind of manual, because they have to verify that you control both accounts).
    – Cascabel
    Mar 22, 2017 at 19:57
  • @Jefromi. Thanks, will look into merging. Looks really silly when I accidentally upvote or downvote myself. lol
    – dlb
    Mar 22, 2017 at 20:56

Hot peppers and spices, while they have anti-bacterial properties, weren't used, mostly, because they made the food safer. When meat goes bad, it's often not just the bacterial load that makes it bad.

The reason why chili became a staple on long cattle drives is because the spices MASKED the taste of the beef going rancid. While more palatable to those eating it, it wasn't actually more edible. I think when one does not notice the rancid flavor of meat going bad, maybe the assumption is made that it isn't rancid, when it still might be.

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