A: Have you ever wondered about this? Well, my husband asked me about corned beef randomly out of the blue one day (after a trip to the grocery store), and I had to admit I wasn’t too sure. So I had to look this up. As you might expect, corned beef has nothing to do with corn. It has to do with the salt curing process of the beef, which involves large grains of rock salt the size of wheat kernels. These large grains are also known as ‘corns’ of salt.
Corned beef is actually used in many dishes around the world, like in the United Kingdom and in Canada. Examples include corned beef sandwiches, corned beef hash or simply corned beef eaten with chips and pickles. Meat in general is a good source of protein, iron, zinc and other nutrients like vitamin B12. So it’s not surprising that a 3 ounce (or 85 grams in weight) serving of corned beef without added sauces provides 213 calories, 15.4 grams of protein, 1.6 milligrams of iron, and 3.9 milligrams of zinc and 1.4 micrograms of vitamin B12. A 3 ounce serving is approximately the size of a pack of cards. Although the total fat content for this serving is about 16 grams, it is interesting to note that a higher percentage of the fat actually comes from healthier monounsaturated fats versus unhealthy saturated fats (7.9 and 5.4 grams respectively). Also, be aware that the sodium content of a 3 ounce piece of corned beef is 827 milligrams, which is more than half the US Dietary Reference Intakes Adequate Intake sodium level recommended for those between 9-50 years old (AI for sodium is 1.5 grams per day)! So keep this in mind the next time you tuck into a dish of corned beef.
And pastrami? That’s just corned beef that has been smoked.