If it’s only about eating, there are a lot of sausage lovers. But about cooking?
Huh! Cooking a dish with sausage is not the easiest thing because it has often had us wondering; Is the film around sausage edible? Are you supposed to remove the sausage casing? Are sausage casings digestible?
So many questions about sausage casings, the answer to which we want to find out.
There are various types of sausage casings, and different types of casings are used for different casings types of sausages. And telling which one is edible and which one is not is difficult if you do not possess any knowledge about them.
This article is here to help to find all the related answers to this question: how to tell if sausage casing is edible?
How to Tell if Sausage Casing is Edible?
Before you dig in to know how to tell if your sausage casing is edible, it is essential to know about the types of sausage casing. Whether you can eat it or not highly depends on what kind of casing it is.
If it is naturally made, you can eat it if it has a natural casing. But if it is artificially produced, it is better not to put it in your mouth. But how can you tell if a sausage casing is natural just by looking at it? The simple answer is natural casings are thin.
You can tell which one is edible by observing its thinness. And to get a better idea about the casing, you can read about the other types discussed here.
Types of Sausage Casing
There are various kinds of sausage casings. There are casings made of natural ingredients, and others are artificially made. We are listing some most used ones below.
1. Natural Casing
As the name suggests, these casings are made using natural ingredients. They have been used for centuries, but the methods to produce them have improved with time.
- Material: This type of casing is made of the stomachs or intestines of animals such as sheep, cows, pigs, etc. These casings are made from a part of the intestine which contains natural collagen. These intestines are cleaned thoroughly with salt and water. Before, the process was done with, but now it’s mostly done with machinery. Some sausage casings are made using animal bladder or esophagus.
- Features: These are permeable by air and smoke; as a result, they can retain the flavor of the meat and seasoning. These casings are soft and can be damaged easily. They also take the size and shape of the sausage pretty easily. You can chew them quite easily.
- Used for: They are mostly used to make meat sticks, wieners, pepperoni, etc.
TThey are the most expensive casing out there.
2. Collagen Casing
Although they are made from natural ingredients, these are a type of artificial casing.
- Material: They are made from the hides, bones, cartilages, and tendons of animals, especially the cow and sometimes fish or poultry. It is a protein type.
- Feature: They are damageable and come in different sizes and shapes.
- Used for: They are mostly found in breakfast sausages, smoked sausages, summer sausages, etc.
3. Cellulose Casing
- Material: This type of sausage casing is made of a synthetic material called viscose which is produced from cotton or wood pulp.
- Features: These types are penetrable by smoke, not easily damageable, and are quite transparent. They are also used in the food industry to mass-produce sausages without skin.
- Used for: Skinless sausages, hot dogs, and so on.
4. Plastic Casing
- Made of: As the name suggests, they are made of the elements of plastic-like monomers or polymers.
- Features: This casing is thick and keeps the meat in shape. As they are thick, it is not possible to chew them. Additionally, as they are made of polymers or monomers, they don’t get infected by bacteria.
5. Vegetarian Casing
These types of casings are plant-based.
- Material: The main ingredients used to make them are- vegetable glycerin, a type of sugar or starches, and water.
- Features: An interesting part about them is they look similar to natural sausage casings. They are mostly used with vegetarian sausages. They are easily damageable.
- Used for: Manufacturing vegetable sausages.
How Can You Determine Which One is Edible?
Generally, you can determine if a sausage casing is edible or not by observing how thick it is. If the casing is relatively thin, it is edible, but the more it thickens, the more inedible it becomes.
To determine which sausage casing is edible, you should also look at the ingredients list on the package.
- No ingredients: If there’s nothing written on the package, it means the sausage casing has been removed, and they are mostly artificially made casings.
- Natural casing: You can eat natural sausage casings. They also taste good. Generally, curved sausages have this casing.
- Collagen casing: They are edible, but it is advised not to eat them. They are quite hard so you will know they are artificially made when you eat them. Chewing them is hard labor. They are usually removed before cooking or being marketed.
- Cellulose casing: These are not edible. These casings are mostly stripped or removed before they are marketed.
- Plastic casing: Not edible. Since they are made of monomer or polymer, they are not manufactured, keeping edibility in mind. They are generally removed before they are marketed.
- Vegetarian casing: They are edible since they are made from vegetables.
How to Remove the Sausage Casing
If the sausage casing is not edible and in the unlikely situation it is there, not removed from your sausages, you will need to remove them. And there are also times when you might need to remove the sausage casing in order to cook a particular dish.
Removing the sausage casing is not an easy task.
Sometimes they stick to the meat so tightly that it takes a chunk of meat with it when you remove the casing. That is why it is advised to exercise caution when removing the casing.
It is best to remove the sausage casing when it’s frozen. You can remove the casing by following the instructions given below.
- Take the sausage when it’s frozen.
- You can put it in a bowl of water for a few minutes if it’s too frozen.
- Take a sharp knife and gently cut the casing vertically.
- Slowly and gently peel off the casing. Don’t put too much force.
You might be interested to read also our another comprehensive article of: How to Separate Sausage Links at Home – Tips to Keep In Mind
- Is the natural sausage casing clean?
Yes, they are. They are scraped and cleansed with salt as well as water. Before, cleaning the natural casing was a process done by hand, but now it’s mostly done by machines.
- Are natural sausage casings safe?
If the natural casings are properly cleaned, they are safe. However, if they are not, it’s bad news for you. Because of their nature, natural casings are liable to decomposition or spoil. If they are not cleaned properly, they might get affected by bacteria, which will spoil your casing or sausages and your health.
- What are sausage casings used for?
The casings are used to give the sausages their shape. You might have noticed that sausages have some interesting shapes though mostly cylindrical.
- Should I remove the edible sausage casing before cooking a dish?
Some dishes do not require you to remove the casing. However, there also exist some dishes that do. Additionally, some people do not like the casing, so they remove it. So, it mostly depends on the person who will eat the dish whether you should keep the casing or not.
How to tell if sausage casing is edible? Well, now you have the basic ideas about how you can tell if the sausage casing is edible or not.
Casings are essential for the sausages to maintain their shapes. Casings, especially natural ones, can keep the flavor of the meat and seasonings or can destroy the sausages you have. Additionally, artificial sausage casings are not that easy on the mouth, and they don’t taste good either.
But keeping the information you have learned here and buying the kind of sausage you want will help you make that dish you have been craving.