What is Prosciutto? A Complete Guide

In the United States, prosciutto is used to describe an uncooked, dry-cured ham that is also called prosciutto crudo in Italian, whereas baked ham is called prosciutto Cotto. 

Prosciutto is a fatty cut of meat that has a sweet meaty flavor and a pleasant edge of saltiness, and it has a buttery texture that melts in the mouth.

The Italian word Prosciutto means “cooked ham”—a name that has been given to one of the most unique kinds of ham available.

The Prosciutto di Parma is produced from the leg and loin of the hog that is dry-cured and aged to develop a flavor and texture similar to prosciutto di San Daniele.

Prosciutto is produced only from hogs raised on small farms near Parma, Italy.

It is a delicacy that has always been enjoyed by the rich, elite, and nobility. Today, it has become increasingly popular as a portion of gourmet food.

What Is Prosciutto?


Prosciutto is a form of cured meat from Italy. It’s a type of air-dried ham. Prosciutto means “prosciutto,” which means “something that cures.”

If you look at prosciutto in its purest form, it’s a salty and tasty snack. But if you think about the origins of prosciutto, you start to see how important the word is to the identity of the product.

Prosciutto comes from the Latin word “Priscus,” which means “first.” So prosciutto is first to come around, meaning that it’s something new, and therefore unique.

It’s the first of its kind. It’s the most original and interesting thing in the world. Prosciutto is the only air-dried ham in the world.

That’s why prosciutto has such an amazing flavor and texture. Prosciutto is a great meat for beginners to try because it’s not too fatty and doesn’t have much fat.

It’s also one of the best meats to eat with cheese because the saltiness of the prosciutto and the creaminess of cheese work well together.

Prosciutto is the most popular kind of Italian ham. It’s made from the hind leg of a pig.

Once the leg is cleaned, it’s heavily salted with sea salt by a maestro Salvatore and left for several weeks in a cool, dry environment.

After the salt cure, a piece of cured ham is hung in a building to dry. The drying room is a large, humid room where temperature and humidity are controlled.

There, the ham is hung for 60 to 90 days. Once it’s dry, the salt is brushed off the meat, and it’s ready to be packaged and shipped.

How Is Prosciutto Made?

Prosciutto is made from high-quality pork legs. The meat is covered in salt and left to rest for a few weeks.

This period allows the salt to draw out blood and moisture, while also preventing bacteria from entering the meat.

Salting the meat can help the flavors to become more concentrated.

After the salting process, the pork legs are washed and seasoned by hand (often according to a secret family recipe), then left to dry-age at a controlled temperature for 14 to 36 months.

It is the combination of salt, air, and time that gives prosciutto its sweet and delicate flavor.

For example, prosciutto di Parma DOP is made exclusively from carefully selected heritage breed pigs raised in 11 regions of Italy.

The entire process from salting to aging must occur in the Parma province, where the air and climate impart a unique flavor to the meat.

On the other hand, Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP is made in the FriuliVenezia Giulia region.

This area is a bit cooler and there is more humidity than most other areas of Italy. As a result, the meat tends to be richer and sweeter.

Where Does Prosciutto Originate From?

Prosciutto originated in the region of Parma in Italy. It has its roots in the meat production methods used in this area.

The meat is first cured and then aged for at least six months in humid conditions to ensure that the meat develops its typical taste.

The word prosciutto derives from the Latin word pro, meaning “in favor of”, and sciutto, which is Italian for “dry-cured”.

Today prosciutto is made all over the world, though it is particularly popular in Italy, Spain, and Germany.

The name prosciutto was first used in 13th century Italy and is derived from the word “prosciutto”, meaning “in favor of the pigs”.

What Does Prosciutto Taste like?

Prosciutto is a flavorful, delicately sweet, and salty product. It usually has a salmon pink to brownish red color and each slice is streaked with fat.

Some varieties of prosciutto are seasoned with spices and herbs like black pepper, garlic, juniper, and rosemary, which give it a more unique, fragrant flavor.

Longer, tougher meats, like prosciutto, benefit from a longer aging process.

While it’s not as fast, it’s better to let it rest for a week than it is to rush it and end up with something that has just been in the fridge for three days.

What Is the Best Way to Eat Prosciutto?

For the best flavor, try serving your prosciutto in thin slices to let the fat melt on your tongue. You can use this same technique for many kinds of fatty meats like lamb, pork, beef, or salmon.

The best way to eat prosciutto is on its own or paired with a delicious selection of ingredients. Younger prosciutto can be used in dishes that call for Italian-style meat, such as pizza and pasta.

Reserve the older varieties of coffee for the best cup of joe! They tend to taste deeper and have a more complex flavor. If you’re looking for something with a little extra kick, try having a few shots of espresso!

Is Prosciutto Raw?

Prosciutto is usually dry-cured. It’s made from cured pork back fat. It has a lot of fat content so it can take on the flavors of the season.

It is typically served as part of an antipasto, or as an appetizer with pasta or vegetables.

Types of Prosciutto

There are different types of prosciutto.

  • Prosciutto di Parma
  • Prosciutto Toscano
  • Prosciutto di San Daniele
  • Prosciutto di Modena

Prosciutto di Parma

Prosciutto di Parma is a form of dry-cured ham originating from the Italian region of Parma.

It is made from pork loins and cured in salt, sugar, and red wine, and is aged for up to 18 months.

The distinctive flavor comes from the air-drying process and the aging of the meat.

Prosciutto Toscano

Prosciutto Toscano is the name of a delicious Italian ham that comes from the Tuscany region.

It’s made with a unique combination of Italian herbs and spices. Together, they bring out the flavor of the pasta.

Prosciutto di San Daniele

Prosciutto di San Daniele comes from the small village of San Daniele in Italy. Unlike other types of prosciutto, this one is made using special curing methods.

Overall, the prosciutto is dark in color and sweeter than Prosciutto di Parma.

Prosciutto di Modena

Prosciutto di Modena comes from Modena in Italy. This is less salty and has more flavor when compared with other types of Prosciutto.

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