Does Prosciutto Have Nitrates?

Italy has produced many cured hams for thousands of years, making them an important part of the nation’s culture.

Prosciutto, an Italian cured meat that has origins going back over 2000 years is one of the best.

But does prosciutto contain Nitrates?

Nitrates are a naturally occurring preservative that helps to keep the meat fresh and safe. 

Prosciutto is cured meat made from pork leg, shoulder, or loin and has no added nitrates. 

Traditionally made prosciutto does not contain any nitrates or nitrites. They only contain pork and salt.

What is Prosciutto?

Prosciutto is a raw, cured ham made from pork legs. In 100 B.C, a small Italian town called Parma recorded the first mention of the ham.

The correct pronunciation of the ham should be ‘proh shoo toh’. Prosciutto is favorite deli meat, and it pairs well with fruits such as melon, or with cheese and wine.

Prosciutto is not cheap due to the lengthy production process, and it costs between $13 and-15 per pound at the store.

There are several different types of prosciutto, and the price varies depending on the variety of ham.

Prosciutto di Parma has a protected designation of origin and is perhaps the most famous of them all.

prosciutto (2)

How is Prosciutto Made?

There are six stages in making prosciutto. Have a look at them.

First Stage

The master salter salts the pork leg with sea salt. It is important to salt the whole pork leg with sea salt. 

Second Stage

The hams are kept in a temperature-controlled room for 70 days following the salting process. The ham will be given the chance to absorb the salt in 70 days.

Third Stage

Once the 70 days are over, the ham goes through a washing stage in which warm water is used to remove any excess traces of sea salt.

Fourth Stage

After washing, the makers store the hams in large rooms with windows that are big enough for sunlight.

The dry conditions are important for the development of the flavor of the prosciutto. It takes approximately three months for the hams to dry out.

Fifth Stage

If you cook with it, you will know the amazing flavor it gives to the food.

The makers use lard to stop the outside of the ham from drying too quickly in this stage. A combination of salt and pepper is rubbed into the ham.

Sixth Stage

An independent expert inspects the prosciutto with a horse bone needle shortly after the one-year mark.

The inspector uses this needle to make small holes in the meat to smell it.

For this reason, the producers can identify any signs that the meat isn’t perfect. This inspection stage may happen long after one year of storage.

For up to 48 months, producers of premium prosciutto often age the ham. As long as the prosciutto passes the quality inspection, it is ready for packaging and distribution.

Different types of Prosciutto

There are several types of prosciutto available in the market. Some of them are:

  • Crudo di Cuneo
  • Prosciutto di Carpegna
  • Prosciutto di Modena
  • Prosciutto di Norcia
  • Prosciutto di Parma
  • Prosciutto di San Daniele
  • Prosciutto di Sauris
  • Prosciutto Toscano
  • Prosciutto Veneto
  • Speck dell’Alto Adige
Prosciutto di Carpegna

Nutritional Facts

  • Calories: 269 kcal
  • Carbohydrate: 0.3 g
  • Fat: 18.3 g
  • Protein: 25.9 g
  • Vitamin B1 (Thiamine) – 82% RDA
  • Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin) – 16% RDA
  • Vitamin B3 (Niacin) – 37% RDA
  • Vitamin B6 (Pyridoxine) – 81% RDA
  • Vitamin B12 (Cobalamin) – 27% RDA
  • Vitamin B9 (Folate) – 6% RDA
  • Vitamin E (Tocopherol) – 2% RDA
  • Calcium – 1% RDA
  • Copper – 3% RDA
  • Iron – 6% RDA
  • Magnesium – 5% RDA
  • Manganese – 1% RDA
  • Potassium – 27% RDA
  • Phosphorus – 26% RDA
  • Selenium – 20% RDA
  • Zinc – 23% RDA

This nutritional information is for 100 grams of prosciutto.

Does Prosciutto Contain Nitrates and Nitrites?

Nutraceutical manufacturers add nitrates and nitrites to their products. According to the World Health Organization, these compounds are harmful to human beings.

The science is not clear on how much of a danger they present. There is a huge difference between a strip of good-quality bacon and something like a hot dog.

Many people think that prosciutto is full of these preservatives, even though it is not a lump of processed meat.

Pork and salt are the only ingredients that can be used in traditionally made and have no added prosciutto.

Some of the cheaper prosciutto products use nitrates as preservatives. If you want to avoid them, you should look for prosciutto which has a PDO certification.

Also, this is an issue for other cured meats, such as chorizo, which also feature these compounds.

Prosciutto di Modena

Does Prosciutto Contain High Fat?

Some people still believe that animal fats are fat, even though recent science shows otherwise.

Oleic acid is the primary fatiguing acid in prosciutto and pork in general.

Oleic acid is the main source of fat in olive oil. Which people think is a good thing for the heart.


Prosciutto is a traditional, healthy food despite some scare-mongering about the health properties of cured hams.

If you visit most places in the Mediterranean, you will see that it is a staple part of the diet there.

Prosciutto is a great food to eat with a glass of wine.

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