Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600627
Pork casings, pickled or preserved in dry salt, are available at many locker plants. Beef casings, sheep casings and artificial casings are also available from some locker plants or places where sausage is made. The use of casings can be avoided if fresh game sausage is made into patties and cooked sausage such as salami is made in loaf pans.
All casings preserved in dry salt must first be soaked in lukewarm water before use. Flush each casing by putting the end of the casing over the cold water tap and running cold water through the casing. Unused casings can be drained, covered again with fine salt and frozen. Casings which come in a brine should also be soaked in cold water before use.
Some artificial casings should be soaked in hot tap water (100 degrees Fahrenheit) at least 30 minutes but not over 4 hours before use. They should be punctured with a knife point before sausage is stuffed unless the casings are prestuck. The purpose of puncturing the casing is to eliminate air and fat pockets in the finished sausage.