Whether you’re new to the craft or an experienced hand, it’s always good to keep up with a few tips and tricks when it comes to sausage making so we’ve given Luke (the owner of The New Zealand Casings Co) a bit of a spruce up and set him loose in front of the camera to do what he loves to do best – making great tasting sausages using our 100% natural sausage casings. Make sure you listen right to the end to hear his number 1 tip.
Our sausage casings are dry salted for preservation. They will last for at least 12 months as long as you follow the three golden rules:
1) Keep Salted. If you have left over casings and have washed the salt off then remove any excess water by running your fingers down the casing (if off the tube) or squeezing the casing on the tube (if still on the tube). You then need to generously re-coat the casing in finely ground salt eg normal table salt (no fancy rock salt or flaked salt thank you). The easiest way to do this is to put your casing in a bowl and sprinkle a generous amount of salt over it, then roll the casing around in the salt. The salt will stick to the residual moisture on the casing. You want the casing to be completely covered in salt. More salt is better than not enough so if in doubt add more, too much salt will not harm the product.
2) Keep Air Tight. Wrap in clingfilm/gladwrap and put back into the pouch packaging or into a container.
3) Keep Cool. Store your sausage casings in a cool, temperature-controlled environment of between 5°C and 10°C – ideally in the fridge. Store casings away from direct sunlight and heat at all times. We do not recommend freezing your casings.
Casings are generally sold based on their diameter (often referred to as ‘calibre’). Natural sheep casings generally range from 20-30mm, sold as either 20/22 (as in 20-22mm), 22/24, 24/26 or 26/28. Hog casings generally fall between 30-45mm (32/35, 35/38 or 38/42). The sausage casings in our online products are 24-26mm (or 24/26). This means they range from 24mm diameter to 26mm diameter, and that your sausage will therefore end up between 24-26mm. This is about the same size as a NZ $2 coin. Certain sausages have traditionally used certain sized casings but at The New Zealand Casings Co we are not size-ist. Our motto is that it’s not the size of your sausage that counts. What’s important is the quality of the finished product.
Store your sausage casings in a cool, temperature-controlled environment of between 5°C and 10°C – ideally in the fridge. Store casings away from direct sunlight and heat at all times.
Before stuffing your sausages, it is essential to rinse all salt off the casings by soaking them thoroughly in fresh water. The ideal bathing temperature is between 20°C and 30°C. Avoid water any hotter than 30°C as it may promote bacterial growth and damage the strength and integrity of the casings.
Sheep casings need to be soaked for at least 45 minutes.
Hog casings need to be soaked for at least two hours, or better still overnight.
It's better to very slightly over-stuff than under-stuff your sausages, since fat and moisture will escape during cooking, making the meat shrink. Just be careful that it’s not too much or the skin will snap open when you cook it.