Spam is one of the most popular canned foods in the United States.
In fact, it made its way into other cultures around the world, transforming from being American soldiers’ quick meat source during World War I to becoming a staple in global kitchens today.
Its flavor goes well with rice. For example, Hawaiians combined it with rice and condiments to make Spam musubi.
Despite its popularity, it constantly receives negative feedback for one thing: saltiness.
You might be wondering, “Why is Spam so salty?”
The answer is simple: because of the canning process.
Here’s what you need to know.
What is Spam Made of? Why is Spam So Good?
Before we delve deeper into its salty taste, let us first talk about its contents that give it that unique combination of flavors.
Hormel Corporation introduced the product in 1937, which remains to be popular across the globe today.
Many people think that canned pork luncheon is made of all sorts of different things, but the truth is, Spam uses just a handful of ingredients from then until now.
This delicious canned luncheon meat is composed only of pork shoulder, water, sugar, and salt.
The only change the formula underwent is the addition of sodium nitrate, which was only implemented in 2009.
However, the only thing it does is remove the gelatinous layer that many people previously disliked.
When you open a can of Spam today, you only get the slab of luncheon meat without this gelatinous layer.
These simple elements make up the ready-to-eat canned pork we all know and love.
The first thing that makes Spam such a good treat is, of course, its taste. It is pretty straightforward.
One bite and you can easily get a taste of pork, along with its salty, yet slightly spicy and sweet flavor.
However, even professional chefs have a bit of trouble replicating it exactly because of its unique texture and taste.
They can definitely create canned luncheon meat with the same ingredients, but the quality, taste, and feel are just not the same, making Spam a truly iconic product.
Why is Spam So Salty?
A lot of the older generation has taken a liking to Spam, especially because it was an extremely cheap and accessible alternative to fresh meat.
While it is still popular today, many people have expressed concerns about its saltiness.
Let’s take a look at its content.
The current nutritional information of a regular serving of Classic Spam is as follows: 16 grams total fat, 40 milligrams cholesterol, 790 milligrams sodium, 1 grams total carbohydrates, and seven grams protein.
As you can see, there is a significant amount of sodium in one serving.
Two ingredients contain this mineral namely salt or sodium chloride and sodium nitrate.
There is a good reason why Spam is so salty.
One of the things that made it popular during the Second World War is its long shelf life.
At the time, having a meat source that can last for a long time in your pantry is valuable.
Plus, it is very versatile and easy to prepare.
Canning made this kind of convenience possible.
This method of preservation increases longevity, but it also takes away some of the flavors.
This is where salting comes in. Manufacturers add salt to help preserve the taste.
Furthermore, salting is another preservation method that contributes to the canned product’s long shelf life.
How to Make Spam Less Salty?
There are several techniques you can do to minimize the saltiness of Classic Spam.
The most simple thing to do is to rinse it in water before cooking.
You can also take extra measures by boiling the meat for a few minutes as it can extract some of the salt content.
If you are cooking a meal, you might also want to get some potatoes.
These tubers are known to absorb the salt.
Just throw potatoes into the mix along with your Spam and let the tubers do the work.
You can also boil them with the meat, then make mash them to go with your meal.
Those who want to further reduce the salty taste can take notes from professional chefs.
In the culinary world, it is known that adding a bit of acidity can help reduce excessive saltiness.
Spritzing a bit of lemon or vinegar can give you the same effect.
Which Spam is Less Salty?
Today, there are lots of Spam varieties that can tickle your fancy.
You can get the Classic can, or experiment with any of the flavored options such as Bacon, Oven Roasted Turkey, Hickory Smoke, Jalapeno, and many more.
The good news is you can choose a variant that contains less salt out of the can.
These are the Spam Lite and Spam 25% Less Sodium.
Instead of having 790 milligrams of sodium, these two options contain 580 milligrams.
Because they have the same amount of sodium, it does not matter which one you choose, right? Wrong! Many people tend to confuse these two, but looking at the nutritional facts, the difference is very apparent.
Spam Lite contains half the total fat (8 grams) compared to Classic (16 grams).
Meanwhile, the Less Sodium variant might be less salty, but it contains the same amount of total fat as the Classic.
If you are only looking at the sodium content, then you can go for either Lite or 25% Less Sodium. However, if you are concerned about the amount of fat you consume, then go for Lite.
Why is Spam So Expensive?
Spam was a cheap alternative during the war because fresh meat was scarce and too expensive back then.
Now, this luncheon meat is generally considered expensive, given the variety of substitutes and the abundance of more affordable raw meats.
The steep price is attributed to the cost of manufacturing, which is composed of several stages to ensure its quality, sanitation, and longevity.
Every can is handy to have in the kitchen for cooking in a pinch, or as an emergency supply.
What Does Spam Taste Like?
The taste of Spam alike a salted ham lunch meat with a variety of spices, pepper, cheese, curry, and other flavor-enhancing ingredients.
Spam has a moist and spongy texture that you can find at a sausage patty.
Spam is salty meat and is best eaten with foods that need extra seasoning.
What Does Spam Go Well With?
You can eat spam in many different ways.
You can slathered it with sriracha mayo and snuggled between English muffins.
You can eat them seared and tossed into fried rice.
You can have them with a jalapeño quesadilla with lot of melted cheese.
Spam served in a nice taco is find you tasty.
In fact, Spam can go anywhere bacon would be. You can also try mixing up your usual bacon, egg and cheese and bring Spam to the stack instead.
Can You Eat Spam Raw?
Yes, you can eat raw spam.
In fact, spam is precooked before it gets canned.
All canned foods are pasteurized throughout the canning process.
So, you can eat spam straight from the can.
But the one thing may abstain you from eating raw that is its smell.
The smell of just opened tin can be a little unbearable.
How to Freeze Spam?
Yes, you can freeze spam.
To freeze your spam, follow below steps:
Slice the Spam
You need to divide leftover spam into distinct portions. So that you won’t need to thaw a whole block of meat every time.
Get ready your Freezer-Safe Bags
Line the inside of freezer-safe bags with wax paper. It helps to prevent the Spam from sticking to the bags and to each other while it is stored in the freezer.
Keep the Spam in Freezer-Safe Bags
Don’t never overfill your freezer safe bags with food.
So, you should divide your leftover spam so that each bag contains a single serving of Spam.
It is good to store around 3-4 slices per bag.
Label the Bags
Mention the freezing date and contents clearly on the freezer safe bag.
It is very much easy to lose track of the stuff we stick in freezers. So, labelling is essential.
Store Bags in the Freezer
Keep your bags in the freezer.
If you are freezing multiple batches, make sure to stack them on top of one another. So, you can find them easily.
How Long Will Leftover Spam Last in the Freezer?
If properly stored in the freezer, Spam lasts for as long as 3 months.
However, when kept consistently frozen at right temperature and proper condition, it is probably safe to eat for even longer.
If you store spam for long term, freezing is the best option.
Freezing serves as a long-term storage solution for your leftover Spam.
If you want to consume your Spam soon, you should try refrigerating it.
So, now you know, “Why is Spam so salty?” It is simply because of its canning process.
Spam is one of the most popular canned foods.
However, you can lower its saltiness by aforementioned ways and enjoy it.