Prosciutto Tastes like Blood. What Does That Mean?

Mother Nature has created a protective mechanism. We shouldn’t eat food if we don’t like its smell or taste.

Prosciutto is cured ham that is traditionally made from the hind leg of a pig. Sometimes when curing the pig a little amount of blood is left. 

This might be the reason why your prosciutto tastes like blood.

Many people feel uncomfortable eating meat with a metallic flavor. If you’re wondering why your prosciutto tastes like blood and whether it’s safe to eat, let’s take a look.

There are many reasons why prosciutto tastes like blood, but they are not dangerous.

Sometimes dry-cured meat tastes better when the blood isn’t fully drained. The type of salt used during the curing process can cause issues.

The taste may not be down to the meat, but rather an underlying health condition with someone consuming the product.

In this guide, I will explain whether it is okay for prosciutto to taste blood.

I will list some of the most common reasons why prosciutto has a metallic flavor and how to handle it. Then, read on to find out if it is safe to eat it.

How Is Prosciutto Made?

Prosciutto is a type of dry-cured ham. It is made from pork leg meat that has been salted and air-dried for several weeks.

As salt binds to moisture, the meat loses moisture over time as it sits. This process of salt drawing out blood and moisture prevents harmful bacteria from entering the meat.

Salting beef, chicken, or pork before cooking and drying them out in a controlled environment is a common way of extending the shelf life of meat.

When salt is applied to meat, it draws water out of the muscle fibers and then pulls it back in to make sure the muscles remain firm.

It is the combination of salt, air, and time that gives prosciutto its sweet and delicate flavor. These three factors are what help prosciutto develop its unique characteristics.

For example, prosciutto di parma is a delicious type of pork that is cured for at least 14 days and then air-dried for another 5 to 6 months. It is prepared in a specific region of Italy.

Is It Okay for Prosciutto to Taste Like Blood?

A delicately sweet and salted taste is what prosciutto should have. Cured prosciutto should have a rich red color, while cooking it should be pale pink.

Thin, fat streaks are the only things that should be included in high-quality prosciutto. Prosciutto should not taste or smell like blood or ammonia.

There are several reasons why a metallic flavor is present in prosciutto.

Some are related to the meat itself and some are related to the person’s health conditions consuming the meat. The bad news is that there aren’t any dangerous reasons.

Reasons Your Prosciutto May Taste Like Blood

Let’s look at what makes prosciutto taste like blood and solve the issue.

Iodized Salt

Iodized salt is referred to as table salt. If you are making your prosciutto and using it instead of coarse salt, then this may be the reason.

Iodized salt has an anti-clumping agent that makes it very smooth. This chemical has a metallic taste and is associated with blood.

It may not be noticed by most people but will be noticed by those with sensitive taste buds. Professional cooks don’t use regular table salt due to this reason.

If someone prefers more salty food than others, it is a good idea to put iodized salt on a table. It won’t hurt the taste if you add a bit of table salt.

The metallic flavor will be noticeable if you use large amounts of iodized salt to cure meat for extended periods. Coarse or kosher salt can be used to replace table salt.


If you notice blood taste on your prosciutto even after it is cooked, the reason for the blood is myoglobin, a protein that helps transfer oxygen to muscles. The structure of this protein is similar to that of hemoglobin.

Myoglobin is what gives beef and pork their red color. Unfortunately, this protein isn’t so great in some types of food.

The trick is to cook the prosciutto at a low temperature but for a long time. Afterward, sear the meat in a preheated skillet for a few minutes. This will add a crispy texture to the prosciutto and prevent any myoglobin from being left.

You can make this meat taste better by bringing the prosciutto in a salt solution. The prosciutto is already salted, but not always enough to satisfy the salty craving that comes with your meal. Adding in a little bit of salt will take it over the top!

You can cut the prosciutto horizontally. Leave it uncovered in the fridge for about 12 hours, then, pull it out, wash and dry.

Prescription Drugs or Health Conditions

Many medications can make food taste bad, but some medications cause a particular taste to linger after consuming a particular food.

They taste somewhat like blood. Some of the drugs that are responsible for this taste are tetracycline, allopurinol, and lithium. 

If you’re taking any medications, check with your doctor whether this may be one of the side effects. As for health conditions, plenty of them may affect the way we taste food.

Some of these ailments may not be easily detected. In other cases, the only way to determine if a problem is happening is to test.

You can get to a conclusion whether your prosciutto is tasting like blood by offering a piece to someone else and asking for their taste. If they said it is metallic then no need to attend the test.

Not All the Blood Has Drained

Prosciutto is dry-cured meat that can be delicious even though it has no real relationship with cooked ham!

Dry-curing preserves meat by applying salt and nitrites for up to eight months. This creates a distinctive flavor and texture that can be quite different from traditionally-cured ham.

Although prosciutto can be made from pigs other than the Parma breed, only those produced in that region can carry a ‘DOP’ seal.

To assure its authenticity, prosciutto should not have blood remaining in it at the end of the process. But sometimes not all the blood has drained from the prosciutto.

Although most meats can indeed be safely eaten, there is always a risk.

When it comes to consuming red meat, it is important to understand that there is a risk of the meat causing harm if not properly handled.

The blood in prosciutto is completely safe to consume. Salt slows down the growth of microorganisms. All excess water is removed from meat during the drying process.

So for some reason, if your prosciutto is tasting like blood then this might be the reason.

Exercising Before Dinner

An unexpected question is what it is, indeed. It is not uncommon for an intense metallic taste to occur after a heavy workout.

The bloody taste may be normal if you have eaten a sandwich with prosciutto right after you finish your run.

There are many reasons why this effect is happening. It could be a result of irritation of the mucous membranes.

Most of the time, the metallic taste is related to pulmonary edema. During a workout, your heart must work harder than usual, which can lead to fluid build-up in the lungs.

There are small leaks of blood cells caused by the increased pressure in the lungs.

A metallic taste is caused by excess blood cell molecules being released from your lungs into your mouth.

The raw taste of prosciutto can be enhanced by the presence of hemoglobin cells in your mouth.


You can take care of this problem by either buying only authentic prosciutto or by only using coarse salt when you make it yourself.

Either solution will keep your meaty pleasure problems to a minimum.

Finally, if you’re wondering why prosciutto tastes like blood, ask someone else to taste it.

You can make sure that this isn’t a health issue, as you can taste it yourself to make sure.

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