You can leave sodium nitrate out of the recipe if you are concerned about using it or don’t have any on hand. There have been claims that it may cause cancer, although those have not been proven. What is known for sure is that sodium nitrate blocks bacteria that causes botulism from forming, which was helpful years ago, before refrigeration was available, but is not as serious a concern today. If you don’t use it to make your corned beef and cabbage, the only difference you will notice is that the meat stays gray instead of turning pink.
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