What is Corned Beef?
Corned beef is beef that have been cured in salt for preservation purposes. The term ‘corned’ comes from the kernels of salt (which had the appearance of grains) that were originally used in the crock where the beef is held. Thought to have originated in Ireland, corned beef was the solution of butchers for preserving fresh meat for consumption in the cold season. Curing the meats in salt prevented it from decaying or contracting bacteria and mold. This method was very much useful during the times when refrigeration was still not an option to make meats last.
Today, corned beef is still a widely available preserved meat product. Many confuse corned beef for only being the stringy, red beef product that comes from cans. In fact, corned beef can come in slabs much like hams and it also comes in slices. In fact, the cold cut pastrami is a kind of corned beef.
In Ireland, corned beef with cabbage is traditionally eaten during some holidays in order to commemorate the hardships that their ancestors went through during the Irish famine.
A popular and iconic dish featuring the corned beef is the Reuben sandwich, which is paired with sauerkraut, Swiss cheese served on rye bread.