(UE origin, seasoned in Italy)
The cured ham, in Italian Prosciutto crudo, is the most famous salume of Italian charcuterie. It is a matured product made from selected pork legs, coming from pigs having weights ranging from 160 and 180 kg (the so-called "heavy pigs").
It is elongated and pear shaped; its internal colour is more or less rosy, uniform and edged by a fat layer. The aroma is fragrant, the taste is delicate, faintly salty, tasty and flavourful. All these characteristics make this product one of the most appreciated salume all around the world.
In the processing of cured ham only 3 ingredients are needed: pork legs, salt and time. After selecting pork legs (with a weight ranging from 9.5 to 14 kg), legs are rubbed with salt and then, after a period of rest, they are washed, brushed, dried, and checked for any possible defects and afterwards placed to dry at temperatures that do not exceed 15° C; then after this , the long and slow maturation process begins and lasts for a period ranging from 8 to 24 months, inside suitable and air-conditioned premises, where hams are hung on appropriate racks.
During maturation, hams are "smeared", i.e. their muscle parts are covered with a mixture (usually based on pork fat, salt and ground pepper, and along with other ingredients that vary according to tradition and customs) that prevents hams from drying too rapidly.
The methodology of seasoning and the exposition at current of air in the place in which they are set the distinguishing characteristics of any typology of the hams.