Proscuitto is a name for any dry-cured ham, but this particular type of meat comes from Italy and most often comes from the area around Parma.
The word proscuitto means “cutlet” in Italian, so you may not know what exactly proscuitto is unless you live in or have visited Italy.
It’s also referred to as prosciutto cotto, meaning “cooked ham,” and prosciutto crudo, which means “raw ham.”
Proscuitto is made by curing pork loin, belly, or shoulder with salt and spices, then drying them out over time.
The curing process typically lasts anywhere from six months to a year depending on how much salt and spice are used.
Once cured, the ham is sliced thin and dried further.
The resulting ham will keep well, but it doesn’t freeze very well.
In fact, freezing proscuitto can make it mushy, so it’s best to store it in the refrigerator instead.
However, storing proscuitto at room temperature is fine too.
In addition to being delicious, proscuitto is an excellent source of protein and is packed with vitamin B12 and iron.
This makes it a great choice for people who need to avoid red meats due to health reasons.
How long does proscuitto last in the fridge?
If you buy a whole proscuitto ham, you’ll want to store it in the refrigerator.
Because it’s salty, you don’t want to leave it in your fridge for more than a few days.
If you do, moisture will start to form inside the ham and make it moldy.
You can keep proscuitto in its package in the fridge for about three weeks, but the sooner you use it, the better.
You can enjoy it right away or slice it thinly and add it to sandwiches, salads, pasta dishes, and anything else you like.
How long does proscuitto last in the freezer?
Proscuitto freezes quite well, but you shouldn’t expect it to last as long in the freezer as it does in the fridge.
For example, a whole proscuitto ham will last about four to five months in the freezer, while one that’s been cut into slices will only last about three to four months.
This is because when you freeze something, it loses some of its flavor and texture.
If you want to save proscuitto for longer, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap (not aluminum foil) and put it in a ziploc bag.
That way, it won’t lose all of its flavor and texture.
How long does proscuitto last after it is opened?
When proscuitto is fresh, it tastes good immediately after purchase.
But if it’s been hanging around in your fridge for a couple of weeks, it starts to taste a bit stale.
Once it’s been open for a week or two, it’s even worse and will probably taste pretty bad.
To get rid of the off flavors, you can either throw out the ham or cook it until it’s tender enough to eat.
You can also try putting it back in the fridge, but it might take several days before it tastes good again.
How should proscuitto be stored?
Because proscuitto isn’t meant to be eaten raw, you should keep it refrigerated.
And since it’s already salted, you don’t really need to worry about it going rancid.
But if you want to preserve it, you can wrap it tightly in plastic wrap (not aluminum foil), place it in a ziploc bag, and keep it in the fridge.
What is the shelf life of proscuitto?
Proscuitto is considered a high-quality product, so it has a long shelf life.
A whole proscuitto ham will last about a year in the fridge, while slices of it will last about eight months.
How can you tell if proscuitto has gone bad?
One of the first things you should look for is a change in color.
When proscuitto goes bad, it turns grayish-white.
This happens because the salt draws water out of the meat, making it less flavorful.
Another sign that proscuitto is getting old is if it smells funky.
If it smells musty or sour, it’s probably no longer edible.
Is it safe to eat proscuitto that has been frozen?
Most likely, the reason why proscuitto hasn’t lasted as long in the freezer as it has in the fridge is because it was frozen for a long time.
So you can safely eat it now that it’s defrosted.
Can proscuitto be refrozen after it has been thawed?
After it’s been frozen, proscuitto becomes extremely hard and tough.
So once it’s defrosted, you can’t refreeze it.
Most likely, you’ll end up throwing away the proscuitto that you froze.
But if you’re planning to consume it soon, you can still reheat it in the microwave.
Just make sure you don’t overcook it because the texture changes drastically after it’s been heated.
Is it safe to eat proscuitto that has been frozen?
Yes, it’s totally safe to eat proscuitto that has been frozen.
Even though it may have hardened, proscuitto is still safe to eat.
It just won’t taste as good as freshly cooked or uncooked proscuitto.
And if you have leftover proscuitto, you can always turn it into soup or stew.
Or you can chop it up and use it as a topping for pizza.
Fig & prosciutto pizzettas
- knob of butter
- 3 shallots finely diced
- 250 g cream full-fat
- 50 g parmesan finely grated
- 4 ripe figs cut into chunks
- 125 g buffalo mozzarella roughly torn
- 6 slices prosciutto torn into strips
- 2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
For the dough
- 400 g bread flour plus extra for dusting
- 7 g dried yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 4 tbsp olive oil
- To make the dough, mix the flour, yeast and salt in a bowl. Measure 250ml hand-warm water into a jug, add the oil, then tip into the flour mixture. Mix together with a wooden spoon, followed by your hands, to make a wet dough – add a splash more warm water if needed. Cover with oiled cling film and leave somewhere warm-ish to rise for 1 hr or until doubled in size. Heat the butter, then soften the shallots and set aside.
- Heat oven to 220C/200C fan/gas 7. Tip the dough onto a floured surface, knead briefly to smooth, then divide into 6-8 balls. Roll out each to a thin circle, then arrange on flour-dusted baking sheets. Mix the crème fraîche, Parmesan and shallots with a little salt and lots of black pepper. Spread over the dough and bake for 10-15 mins until crisp at the edges and slightly puffed up.
- Toss the figs and mozzarella with the rocket. Sprinkle over the pizzettas with the prosciutto. Mix the oil and vinegar, drizzle over the pizzettas and serve.
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