Corned beef and cabbage will grace the tables of thousands of families in the next three days in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. But as we learned with kielbasa, bacon, and other processed proteins, cured meats aren’t necessarily Paleo. Let’s take a look at this holiday favorite.
What is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is a traditional Irish method of curing beef to preserve it for later use. You might recognize it by its distinctive pink color, which comes from the addition of saltpeter, also known as potassium nitrite. We’ve lightly discussed the addition of nitrites to foods before, namely the nitrite (celery salt) often added to bacon and sausage for curing purposes, so we won’t get into that again. Corned beef is basically a beef brisket that’s been “corned” or “cured” in a salt brine with a few spices and seasonings.
Is Corned Beef Paleo?
Regardless of your stance in the nitrite/nitrate debate, corned beef, when made at home, can be Paleo by anyone’s standards. Be aware of the high salt content, but feel to indulge in your traditional St. Patrick’s Day meal without negative side effects from the corned beef. If you want to reduce the salt, toss white potatoes into the broth when cooking the meat to help absorb the salt and then throw them out!
Also, you may have seen canned corned beef on sale at your grocery store, which is decidedly not Paleo, so please do yourself a favor and stay away!
Are you struggling with which foods are Paleo? Do you need help planning some Paleo meals? Check out this great Paleo cookbook: