Do You Remove Casing From Italian Sausage?
When you prepare a new meal with some savory Italian sausage, you may find a casing on it. However, if your recipe doesn’t tell you what to do, you may wonder if you can take the casing off, or if it’s even edible.
Are Sausage Casings Edible?
The sausage casing is the outer skin or layer that keeps your sausage meat in a specific shape. It makes packaging and cooking easier. The casing can also add or preserve the meat’s flavoring. Is the casing edible, though? In most cases, it is. Different sausage brands do use different casings, however, so the packaging should specify what kind the sausage has.
You can tell if the casing is natural because it will be thin and easy to chew. Inedible casings are used less often and are typically made from plastic or plant-based materials. If the packaging does not state the casing material, you can likely tell it’s inedible because the casing will be thick and extremely difficult to chew.
How to Remove Sausage Casings
Whether the casing is edible or not, you can remove it from the sausage meat. The two following processes explain how to remove the casing from the sausage.
Removing the Casing From Uncooked Sausage
To remove the casing from uncooked sausage, follow these steps:
- Freeze the links on a baking sheet for 20 minutes. The cold air allows the meat to harden in shape. Once 20 minutes have passed, remove the sausage from the freezer.
- Using a sharp knife, run the blade’s tip down the sausage link, top to bottom. Do not cut through the sausage. The cut should be slight but enough that you see the casing tear at the sides.
- Use your thumbs, begin rolling back the loosened casing, and gently peel it off your meat.
- If the meat is sticking to the casing, return the sausage links to the freezer for an additional 10 minutes.
Removing the Casing by Parboiling the Sausage
To remove the casing by parboiling sausage, use these steps:
- Boil water and allow your sausage links to sit in the water for two to three minutes. The casing should turn grey or light brown.
- After this time has passed, immediately remove the sausage from the water and place them under cold water to prevent the meat from cooking.
- Pat the sausage dry with a paper towel.
- On a cutting board, take a sharp knife and pierce the casing at the end of a sausage link. The goal is to get the blade under the casing enough to cut it open without damaging the meat’s shape.
- You should then be able to roll the casing off of the sausage.
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