Prosciuto Ham Prosciutto is a flavorful, delicately sweet, and salty product. It typically has a salmon pink to brownish-red color and each slice is streaked with fat. Some prosciutto varieties are seasoned with spices and herbs like black pepper, garlic, juniper, and rosemary. This gives the product a more unique flavor that is fragrant with spices.
To make prosciutto, pork legs are salted and air-dried for several months. Once the meat has lost enough water weight to be preserved, it is pressed into a dense block of ham that can easily last for years without spoiling. The flavor of the meat remains even after this preservation process, making it an ideal food to be eaten on its own. Prosciutto is often used in cooking or added to dishes because it adds richness and flavor to many foods.
Often, prosciutto is thinly sliced and served as an appetizer with crusty bread, melon, or gourmet cheeses. The meat can also be cut into cubes and added to pasta, salads, or soups. Prosciutto can also be fried quickly in a skillet to make it crisp like bacon (called crudo).
Prosciutto is a popular ingredient in Italian cooking, and the country is one of the world's leading producers. In fact, Italy consumes more prosciutto every year than any other nation. Prosciutto from Parma is also particularly well-known for its flavor and quality.
A few years ago there was a salmonella scare in Italy and some of the country's ham exports were temporarily halted. Italian producers actually lost money because they had so much meat on hand that they could not export while waiting for their salmonella test results to come back clean.
Prosciutto is best when it is fresh, but it does not require any special handling after it is purchased. If it is not used immediately, prosciutto can be tightly wrapped and placed in the freezer for up to 6 months. It should also be discarded if it has been frozen for this long because the flavor will have changed from freezer burn.
Prosciutto has an intensely rich flavor and aroma that can enhance almost any dish. It pairs well with earthy vegetables such as onions, mushrooms, and artichokes. The meat is also delicious with red wines and full-bodied beers.
The taste of prosciutto carries notes of salt, sweetness, umami (a savory taste), and nuttiness. The fat in the meat melts at body temperature creating richness which helps to enhance this particular flavor combination.
Global prosciuto ham production
The global prosciutto ham production is forecast to grow in the coming years. The main drivers of this growth are the increasing demand from consumers and the expansion of the industry in new markets.
The leading producers of prosciutto ham are Italy, Spain, and the United States. Other important producers include Germany, France, and China. Italy is the largest producer of prosciutto ham, with a production volume of approximately 200 thousand metric tons in 2017. The country has a long tradition of producing cured meats, and it is home to some of the most renowned producers in the world.
Spain is the second-largest producer of prosciutto ham, with a production volume of approximately 150 thousand metric tons in 2017. The country has a long tradition of cured meat products, and it is home to some of the most renowned producers in the world.
The United States is the third-largest producer of prosciutto ham, with a production volume of approximately 100 thousand metric tons in 2017. The country has a growing demand for cured meats, and it is home to some of the most renowned producers in the world. Germany, France, and China are also important producers of prosciutto ham, with production volumes of approximately 50, 40, and 30 thousand metric tons in 2017, respectively.