Is anyone shocked that March 17th is National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day? Likely not. To “corn” something is simply to preserve it in a salty brine (the term corn refers to the coarse grains of salt used for curing). Corned beef is a salt-cured beef product.
In the traditional Irish Corned Beef and Cabbage recipes, salt pork or bacon joint were used instead of corned beef. Uncertain of the date, but knowing it was sometime in the early 1800′s and possibly even earlier, in Ireland, cows were not used for their meat. In truth, cows were used for their dairy. Considered a luxury food, beef was only consumed for “food” by the wealthy. Instead of beef, it was pork that was served to celebrate the holidays.
Sometime in the mid 1800′s when the Irish immigrated to America, they found that Jewish “corned beef” was very similar in texture to bacon joint (pork). It was then that corned beef was used as a replacement for the bacon when preparing corned beef and cabbage meals. Soon after that time, the Irish-Americans began having Corned Beef and Cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day.