If you’ve ever had a cheese and meat board, you’ve had a piece of prosciutto.
Some are questioning how safe it is, even though most people love it. Is it safe to eat and is it raw?
Prosciutto is made from the air-dried ham of pigs.
Prosciutto is a lump of dry-cured meat, with no cure or salt. It can be sliced raw, but it should be heated before eating to kill bacteria.
This article is going to answer your question, and hopefully any other curiosities you might have.
Table of Contents
Is Prosciutto Raw?
When talking about meat, we usually refer to it as raw, but that’s not the case with prosciutto.
It isn’t fresh, it isn’t moist and it isn’t raw. A cured meat that does start raw is called a deli. The curing process and food-borne illnesses are no longer an issue.
Back when freezers were not available, cured meat was an ancient way of preserving meat.
This, along with frying meat and storing it in jars surrounded by lard is a way our ancestors kept meat.
Is Prosciutto Actually Dry-cured?
The Italian dry-cured meat is called Prosciutto. It starts fresh and raw, but the drying and curing process takes care of two important elements: water and trichinae.
The surface of the meat has a beneficial effect on the development of bacteria. There is no viable way for bacteria to develop quickly if there is no moist environment.
Many mammals have a parasite called trichinae in them. curing salts and seasonings come into play when pigs are included.
The threat of trichinae is removed by the addition of flavor and seasonings. Prosciutto can be eaten straight out of the package because of the whole curing process.
If you still feel uneasy about eating uncooked prosciutto, you can always fry it in a skillet, just like you would with bacon.
Understand that this is a lump of dried meat sliced very thinly. This means that your fried slices will be very easy to cook and will burn very quickly since there is no moisture at all.
Prosciutto Cotto Vs. Crudo
There are two different types of prosciutto available on the market. The one we have discussed so far in this article is the most common version, called prosciutto crudo.
In Italian, the word crudo means raw and can be aged up to 1 year. The other one is made with meat that has been cooked.
The name is derived from the Latin word for cooking. In a controlled environment, it is slowly and deliberately cooked.
It has seasonings and herbs involved and it has never aged like prosciutto crudo.
If it is a rosy color instead of deep red, and the fat is visible on the outside layer, you will know that it is prosciutto cotto.
There won’t be much of a contrast between the fat marbling and the contrast there.
The larger version is moist and slightly larger than the crudo version. This is because crudo is a kind of dehydrated meat.
Does Prosciutto Need to Be Kept in the Refrigerator?
If you aren’t going to eat all of it in one sitting, you should always keep it in the fridge. I am mostly talking about the pre-packaged slices of prosciutto.
If you keep it wrapped in plastic, it can smell very strongly and this will make other foods in the fridge more likely to be contaminated.
If you are going to buy the whole leg of pork, you can keep it in a cool pantry and lightly wrapped in butcher’s paper.
The leg is large and will feed you for weeks or months, depending on how much you carve from it daily.
Keep in mind that this meat is a very strong-tasting one, and you will tire of it easily if you get too much of it.
If you know you are having a big event where you can serve most of it, buy a whole leg.
Prosciutto is a wonderful treat that goes well with a lot of things, including sweet, spicy, cheese, and so on.
It’s more of a snack between meals and we like it with a couple of rose grapes and a cheese.
It is possible to wrap asparagus spears with some prosciutto and grill them for a few minutes.
Hopefully, you got the answers you were looking for and are okay with eating this wonderful Italian cured ham, whether you get the raw dry-aged and cured version or the cooked version.
If you have any curiosities about food, be sure to check out the related articles below, we are always adding more food facts to make life easier.
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