What is Prosciutto?

The Italian word for ham is prosciutto. In the United States, prosciutto refers to an uncooked, dry-cured ham, referred to as prosciutto crude in Italian, and prosciutto cotto refers to baked ham. Its sweet meaty flavor, delicious saltiness, and buttery texture melt on the tongue when thinly sliced.


A charcuterie board can include cheese, bread, spaghetti, or risotto. Because extended heating might toughen it and spoil the delicate flavor, add it last. Briefly cooking it makes crisps.

What is it?

Pork rear legs produce it. After cleaning, a maestro Salvatore (salt-master) thoroughly salts the leg with sea salt and stores it in a cold, dry place for several weeks. The salting procedure evaporates any remaining moisture, making it impossible for germs to grow.

It also gives the dish a distinct flavor. The legs are then hung for 60 to 90 days in cool, humid environments. After salt curing, the leg is cleaned, the salt removed, and the ham is dried for 12–36 months in massive buildings that capture and circulate winds.

The breezes that dry Italian prosciutti crudo may explain their varied flavours.

Salting, air drying, and ageing affect it. Young prosciutto has a beautiful reddish-pink color and a soft, moist texture with a sweet flavor. It gets drier and firmer as it ages, developing an orange veneer and a more refined, delicate, and complex flavor.


Great prosciutto has a great mix of sweet and salty flavors, a rich yet refined porcine flavor, and a translucent texture that melts in your mouth, allowing a variety of taste experiences to emerge.

Types of Prosciutto

Here are seven different types of it:

  1. Prosciutto crudo: This air-dried, salt-cured ham is found in Italian delis throughout the European Union and the United States. This ham is favored for its lack of nitrates or artificial preservatives, and Butchers typically use sea salt during the curing process.
  2. Prosciutto cotto: Prosciutto cotto is prosciutto that is cooked instead of air-dried. This type of ham is low in sodium and may be sold in grocery stores and charcuteries as “deli-style ham.”
  3. Culatello: Culatello is prosciutto made from small pieces of the pig’s hind legs cured in red wine. It comes from the Emilia-Romagna region of Italy. Culatello isn’t prosciutto since purists can’t slice it thinly.
  4. Prosciutto di San Daniele: This type of prosciutto is produced in the Frioul region of Italy. During the curing process, these hams are stacked on top of each other, sweetening the flavor and darkening the meat.
  5. Prosciutto Toscano: This type of prosciutto is produced in the Tuscany region of Italy. Some Tuscan butchers add pepper, garlic, rosemary, and juniper to the raw ham during the aging process, creating a drier, zestier final product.
  6. Prosciutto di Parma: Prosciutto di Parma, or Parma ham, is solely manufactured in the Parma region under the Consorzio del Prosciutto di Parma, and its packaging has the Ducal Crown with “Parma” in the middle. The pigs raised for Parma ham are fed whey from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese.
  7. Prosciutto di Modena DOP: This variety of prosciutto is made in the hills and valleys around the Panaro River basin. This includes charcuteries in the provinces of Bologna and Reggio Emilia.

What Makes it?

It uses premium pork legs. The meat is salted and left to rest for several weeks. The salt pulls away blood and moisture during this period, preventing pathogens from entering the flesh (which is why we can eat it “raw”). When salted, meat flavors intensify.
Pork legs are salted, rinsed, hand-seasoned, then cured for 14–36 months. It’s sweet and delicate flavor comes from salt, air, and time.

Techniques for making it differ by location, producer, and consortia (refresh your Italian certification expertise here). Only heritage breed pigs from 11 Italian regions make Prosciutto di Parma DOP. From salting to maturing, the entire process must take place in Parma, where the air and environment give the meat a distinct flavor. Friuli Venetia Giulia produces Prosciutto di San Daniele DOP. The meat has a deeper and sweeter flavor due to the higher altitudes and distinct climate. Prosciutto di Modena, Prosciutto Toscana, and Prosciutto di Carpegna are among the various kinds available.

How to Cook Prosciutto?

The best technique to prepare it is to cook it as little as possible. Italian prosciutto crude is artisanal even when produced commercially. Serve it raw with melon, Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese, or fresh figs.

While heating slices of salt-cured ham can cause them to dry out, spreading slices of prosciutto over a freshly baked pizza enriches the ham’s flavor without sacrificing its smooth consistency.

To improve soups and stews, slice and boil its rinds and unpalatable parts. Prosciutto slicers often discount these ends.

How Healthy is it?


It is a tasty method to supplement your diet with protein, vitamins, minerals, and flavor. Moderate consumption provides health benefits.

  • Good source of vitamin B12 and iron to combat tiredness, fatigue, and muscle weakness.
  • Good content of B vitamins (B1, B2, B3, B6, B12) – boosts energy levels and restores vitality.
  • Anti-anemia food thanks to B vitamins and iron content.
  • Source of vitamin B12 and cholesterol – protects the integrity of the myelin sheath coating around the tails of nerve cells, with benefits for the nervous system and motor function, as well as protects against early cognitive decline.
  • It crude is great brain food – it supports the intellectual effort and cognitive functions thanks to its fat content.
  • High in protein, it helps make neurotransmitters for the nervous system that help regulate mood, appetite, sleep, etc.

Where to Buy it?

It is now available with prepackaged deli meats in most well-stocked deli counters and supermarkets in the United States. If you want premium it, you should acquire it freshly sliced from a shop specializing in imported Italian items or charcuterie. When buying it, look for a rosy hue in the ham; avoid it if it has a dullish hue or appears dried around the edges.

Thinly slice ham and trim fat to 1/4 inch. Better purveyors will often let you try a little piece first.

The maker and region determine its price. Prosciutto di Parma and San Daniele cost $30 per pound, whereas US-made it costs $13 per pound.

Best Way to Eat Prosciutto

We recommend presenting prosciutto in paper-thin slices to get the most taste. Put a chunk of fat in your mouth and let it melt on your tongue. As you appreciate the leaner areas of the prosciutto, which have a sweet yet salty flavor, this creamy texture will coat your palate.

It goes well with wine, cheese, bread, veggies, and fruit. For recipes like pasta and pizza, we recommend using younger it. To eat alone, save the older kids, which have a deeper, more nuanced flavor.


Pre-Roman days were primitive. Villagers in Italy started dry-aging hog legs to supplement their meat supply during the long winters. Italy and the world now celebrate its decades-long perfection. Despite misinformation about the health benefits of cured hams, it remains a classic and healthful dish.

It’s a staple of Mediterranean cuisine in most places. It is a delicious meal to eat, especially when paired with wine. A leg can last six months in a cold, dry place. The cut ham will oxidise and lose flavour if refrigerated in plastic for a few days.