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What are the parts of a sausage?
- Meat, fats and fillers
In Australia, we have regulations that state that at least half of all sausage content must include lean meat flesh. This can come from any part of any animal but is mostly the trimmings (or off-cuts of premium cuts like the rump or blade) of pork, beef or veal. The meat is then ground or sliced into small pieces and stuffed into a casing with other ingredients, such as breadcrumbs, seasoning and flavourings (e.g. spices.)
Cheaper varieties of sausages also contain sausage meal (aka, fillers) that are usually made from wheat (or rice flour if labelled gluten-free). Water is then added to bind the meat and fillers and add bulk to the weight of the produce.
As water affects the shelf-life of food, most bulk-buy sausages are packed with preservatives to stop the growth of bacteria and delay oxidation of the meat. However, these are tested by Food Standards Australia New Zealand to ensure they are safe for consumption. The preservatives most likely to be included in sausages are mineral salts, preservative (223), sulphur dioxide (220), sodium and potassium sulphites (221-225 and 228). These are limited to 500mg per kilogram. Note: some sulphites can cause allergy-like intolerances, so are best avoided by those who are particularly sensitive to preservatives.
In addition, as water dilutes the natural taste of the sausage, flavour enhancers are often added. Dextrose (a refined sweetener) and hydrolysed vegetable protein made from maize are the most common.
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Sausages are usually stuffed into one of two types of casings: a natural casing made from animal intestines or a synthetic casing. The latter are made from industrially-processed collagen protein, which is derived from beef or pig hides. Synthetic casings are usually cheaper and come in a variety of sizes.
What are the different varieties of sausages?
The most common types of sausages available on the market are vegetarian, pork, lamb, Italian, beef and chicken. Below, we’ve rounded up a few of our favourite recipes to satisfy all your sausage cravings:
- Lamb sausage pasta bake
- Easy pork sausage curry
- Chicken sausage röstis with caramelised onion gravy
- Veggie sausage popovers
- Baked Italian sausage vegetables
- Beef Cumberland sausage with apples and onions
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