When it comes to a tasty treat, spam always makes recipes stand out. Although known for its taste and quality, spam comes heavily salted and will deter those sensitive to high sodium levels. The good news is that there are quick and easy methods of reducing this sodium over-abundance.
1. Rinse Spam Under Cold Water
One of the most common methods of reducing sodium in spam, and other canned meat products, is to rinse it under cold water for some time. The duration of the rinsing process will depend on personal preference. Some may want more salt removed, while others wish to have a small amount removed. Either way, rinsing spam under cold water will reduce the salt to a degree.
To know whether the salt has significantly been removed from the spam, place a pot underneath the spam and look at the water while rinsing. Once the water is clear, or mostly clear, the salt has most likely been removed.
After rinsing the desired amount, pat or air dry the spam before cooking or consuming. This method is reliable and the quickest for reducing the sodium content in spam.
2. Soak Spam in Boiling Water
Next, putting spam in boiling water will significantly reduce the sodium amount. This method is highly effective in reducing or eliminating the salt found in spam. The downside is that it’s time-consuming and will take about 30 minutes.
As this method suggests, place any uncooked spam into a boiling pot of water. This can be done with the entire spam or, preferably, in slices. Boiling slices will remove the salt better as there are areas of the spam that couldn’t otherwise be affected if left unsliced or uncut. Checking throughout the process will tell you when the desired amount of salt has been reached.
To speed up the process, pour off the salty water once or twice, add fresh water, then boil it again. Afterward, proceed with a gentle rinse just in case there is any residue of salt left over. That way, you can get rid of as much salt as possible.
In the end, boiling spam in water will provide the most effective salt removal as long as you have the time and the patience to follow this process.
3. Soak Spam in Cold Water
Thirdly, soaking the spam in cold water is another option. It is an easy method that can be accomplished overnight and ready to use the next day. You can also start the process in the morning or afternoon if you’d like spam for dinner. It is a versatile method, for sure.
Running cold water into a large pot or pan and placing the sliced spam in it for some time will remove much of the salt. Since we are not boiling the spam in water, it will require a more extended period for the salt removal process to be finished or finished to the desired saltiness.
Lastly, as with boiling spam in water, soaking spam in cold water will require some degree of rinsing for good measure, along with an occasional water change. Changing the water will speed up the process because clean water will draw salt out of the meat faster than water saturated with salt.
Soaking spam in water will be the most lengthy process for taking salt out of spam, but it will be very effective. A bonus is that it’s safer to handle since we aren’t dealing with a high-temperature pot or pan of water.
4. Cut Spam in Smaller Quantities
With this method, we cut spam into smaller pieces, such as slices or cubes. The processes for reducing the salt content will be the same as the three methods mentioned above. But, dividing the spam into smaller pieces allows more salt to escape during those methods.
How small you cut the pieces of spam is, of course, your preference and will determine how long the method you use will take. Generally speaking, the smaller the division, the better the chances salt will be reduced.
Finally, make sure it isn’t so small or thin that using water or any other liquid to soak the meat in could render it unnecessarily soggy and difficult to cook.
5. Use Starchy Food To Absorb Salt
This method involves utilizing starchy foods in recipes that include spam. For example, by combining spam and pasta in a casserole and leaving out any extra salt, the goal would be to utilize the salt in the spam to season the entire dish.
In other words, spam’s sodium content will still be present in the casserole you are preparing, but not within the spam. The salt in the spam will letch into the other ingredients added to the casserole as it cooks.
Other starchy foods include vegetables (raw garlic, yam, parsnip, etc.), cereals and grains (rice, flour, natural tapioca, etc.), beans and lentils (black-eyed peas, kidney beans, soybeans, etc.), and nuts and seeds (hazelnuts, peanuts, pistachio, etc.) are some great options.
With this method, instead of removing the salt altogether, it will be used to season all the foods being cooked together. In fact, you can combine some methods here. You can cut and rinse the spam and then cook it with other foods to lessen the salt overall.
6. Add An Acidic Liquid or A Sweetener
Rather than removing salt from spam, you can reduce the saltiness to a tolerable level by adding an acidic liquid or a sweetener. While this is not a perfect solution, it does not require any time-consuming preparation, like soaking spam before cooking. We are simply rendering the taste of the sodium in the spam more palatable.
Start with trying such acidic liquids as vinegar, lemon juice, and cream of tartar to cut through and dampen the saltiness of spam within a recipe. Many recipes call for these ingredients.
But, if you prefer trying the sweeter option, adding sweeteners such as honey, maple syrup, and coconut sugar are some of the best choices. Sweeteners can help balance the salt content in the spam.
As the name suggests, sweeteners are there to sweeten whatever food or drink that must be sweetened. In this case, however, we want to balance the salty taste with the sweet and try to reduce the sharpness of the sodium content and create a more tasty meal.
7. Use Fruits And Vegetables to Balance Saltiness
Like starchy foods, we can add other ingredients that balance spam’s high salt content.
For example, serving spam with a good selection of fruits or vegetables can reduce the saltiness of spam if you are eating both spam and the other food alternately. Or, a spam and vegetable stir-fry would do the trick.
We aren’t removing the salt from the spam; we are eating foods such as fruits and vegetables that have not been highly seasoned along with the spam.
8. Cook With Potatoes
Since spam is made with a lot of salt to help preserve it, if you cook it with potatoes, much of the salt is absorbed by the potatoes making the dish a lot more palatable than serving spam on its own. Potatoes are great because they are known for absorbing salt.
Depending on how you decide to cook the spam, you will want to add potatoes to the menu to help balance the saltiness. Potatoes are easy to cook, boil, or bake with or alongside spam. So, no matter how you want to cook your spam, you can do it with potatoes and make a great meal. And the potatoes will take on that salt and reduce the salty taste.
If you want a well-balanced meal, potatoes, spam, and vegetables of your choice, are the best way to go.
9. Buy 25% Less Sodium Spam
The best option in this list would be to avoid regular spam and buy the 25% less sodium version. Avoiding the standard spam product altogether will ultimately save time. This version of spam only contains about 580 mg of sodium per serving, a significant reduction from spam’s standard 790-1,000 mg of sodium per serving.
Overall, buying any spam product labeled 25% less sodium should avoid the saltiness problem. But it doesn’t hurt to try out the methods mentioned in this article if you already have the original version on hand.
To conclude, we hope this article has given you a way to reduce or eliminate the high sodium content in spam products. Again, many factors come into play, such as the product type, how thinly sliced or cubed the spam is, and how much or how little salt you wish to remove.
Finally, find the best method for you and be willing to experiment with improving the quality of spam by lowering its sodium content.
For more, check out Can You Survive on Canned Food? | Which Types to Store.
Anne James has a wealth of expertise in a wide array of interests, including quilting, cooking, gardening, camping, and making jelly.
She has a professional canning business and has been featured in the local newspaper, and has been her family canner for decades. Anyone growing up in the South knows that there is always a person in the family who has knowledge of the “old ways,” and this is exactly what Anne is.
With over 55 years of experience in these endeavors, she brings a level of hands-on knowledge that is hard to surpass.
Lovingly known as “Jelly Grandma” by her grandkids, Anne hopes your visit here has been a sweet one.