Curing is one of the oldest methods for food preservation, and until about a century ago, it was the primary way that people prevented meat and fish from turning before they could consume it. To cure something, you just need to cover meat or fish in a combination of salt and sugar, as well as a variety of spices for additional flavor. Some people also use nitrates to further ensure no dangerous bacteria (such as the kind that causes botulism) grow during the curing process. Even if you haven't cured anything at home, you've certainly eaten cured foods: Ham, bacon and salami are all examples of cured meat. But before you start curing on your own, use Food & Wine's guide to learn the best techniques and recipes to try.