It’s “uncured” bacon.
You know the stuff. It populates the shelves at Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, and there are generally a few choices at supermarkets. It says “uncured” in big letters, and you buy it because you think it’s better for you, being free of nitrates and nitrites.
But guess what? It isn’t better for you. It does have nitrates and nitrites. Sometimes, higher levels than conventionally cured meats.
This is not a secret. Google it, and you’ll find that all kinds of people have written about it. Somehow, though, it hasn’t entered the public consciousness, and I’m going to do my level best to change that.
The issue is that “uncured” bacon is actually cured. It’s cured using exactly the same stuff — nitrite — used in ordinary bacon. It’s just that, in the “uncured” meats, the nitrite is derived from celery or beets or some other vegetable or fruit naturally high in nitrate, which is easily converted to nitrite. In ordinary bacon and cured meats, the nitrite is in the form of man-made sodium nitrite. But the nitrite molecule is the same, no matter its source….