Ham is a universal favorite when it comes to preparing food for special occasions, such as family get-togethers or festivities.
And prosciutto, the salt-cured, pressed, and dried form of ham is a great option to go for. It can be grilled, fried, or smoked as per your choice, and your guests will simply love its taste.
However, you need to be a bit cautious about storing prosciutto as it has a relatively shorter shelf-life than other forms of ham. Hence, you should have it before it turns bad.
And as like every other meal, how long it stays fresh will depend on different factors like storage, temperature of the surroundings, and so on. So, to make it clearer for you, we have compiled all the information you need to know with this comprehensive guide.
To know more, give it a read.
A Brief Guide On The Shelf-Life Of Prosciutto
- A Brief Guide On The Shelf-Life Of Prosciutto
- Signs That Prosciutto Has Expired
How Should You Store Prosciutto?
Storage is of utmost importance when it comes to any food product and prosciutto is no exception. That’s because it determines the freshness of the food.
So, don’t make the mistake of casually keeping prosciutto anywhere in the kitchen. Here are the ways in which different forms of prosciutto can be stored.
Note that in case you are purchasing it in a pre-packaged form, the plastic packaging can be reused. As such, it is very easy to seal any slice that is leftover. However, if you don’t want to use that, you must wrap it up tightly in paper, a plastic wrap, or an aluminum foil.
Such packaging ensures that the ham doesn’t come in contact with any bacteria. Plus, it doesn’t pick up any foul smell or dry out completely.
However, if the prosciutto is sliced after being opened, it loses its freshness faster. Remember that you should always store the sliced form in the fridge, whether it’s entirely sealed or not.
That way, it can be kept away from warm areas. Also, make sure that it doesn’t touch other food items with aromas as that could affect its scent or taste.
Cured Prosciutto Leg
If you purchase a prosciutto leg, you can keep it at room temperature. That’s because dry and cured meat can be stored in a cool room, a pantry, or a cellar. Note that if the weather is too humid or warm, it will be best to refrigerate the prosciutto.
Deboned Prosciutto Leg
On the other hand, if the bone in the leg is removed, prosciutto is generally sold in vacuum-sealed packs. Making the package devoid of air helps extend the shelf-life of the meat. You should only open the package when you are about to use the prosciutto.
How Long Does It Last?
The freshness of prosciutto will vary according to its form. So, let’s have a look at how long each form of this dried ham will last.
- Uncooked Country Ham
Generally, the country ham will last longer in a fridge compared to a freezer. When kept in a fridge, the uncooked ham will last for 2-3 months, while in a freezer it will last for just one month.
- Unopened Luncheon Ham
An unopened luncheon meat will last for at least 2 weeks in the fridge and for 1-2 months when kept in a freezer.
- Opened Luncheon Ham
If opened, the luncheon meat will be fresh in the fridge for 3-5 days and for 1-2 months in the freezer.
- Cooked Slices Of Ham
Ham slices would last for a very short duration than the whole meat. While it’s just 3-5 days in case of a fridge, for a freezer, it is 1-2 months.
- Cooked Ham With A Label
If you purchase cooked ham with a label and refrigerate it, the ham shall remain fresh for 7 days. And if you have a freezer at home, the ham can be kept fresh for 2 months.
- Cooked Country Ham
In the cooked form, country ham remains fresh for 7 days when kept in a refrigerator, while in a freezer, it stays edible for a month.
- Whole Cooked Ham (Wrapped)
Many of you might not slice the ham and put it in a tight wrap after cooking it. In that case, you can expect it to remain fresh for 7 days when kept in a refrigerator. But in a freezer, the freshness will be intact for 1-2 months.
- Vacuum Sealed, Unopened, And Dated Cooked Ham
The dated cooked ham that you buy in a sealed packet will last in the refrigerator till the expiry date. In a freezer, you can store it for 1-2 months.
- Uncooked Cured Ham
Ham that is store-picked or cured retains its freshness for 5-7 days when kept in a refrigerator. But in the frozen form, it can last for as long as 3-4 months.
- Cooked Cured Ham
Cooked meals usually last for a shorter duration than the uncooked form. And cooked cured ham is no different as it lasts for just 2-3 days in a refrigerator. In a freezer, it can remain fresh for a month.
- Cooked Vacuum Sealed Ham
Cooked ham that doesn’t come in contact with air and is kept in a fridge will retain its freshness for 2 weeks. However, you can store it in a freezer for 1-2 months.
Signs That Prosciutto Has Expired
There are several signs which would tell you whether the prosciutto is still fresh or it has turned bad. In this section, we briefly describe each of these signs.
Generally fresh prosciutto doesn’t produce any smell. So, if a foul or sour smell comes from the meat, you should dispose of it.
Date Of Expiry
Packaged ham has an expiry date mentioned, which tells you the time after which the ham starts decaying. In some cases, the date of packaging is mentioned, along with the number of months in which the ham will turn bad. You will have to find out the expiry date or month with that information.
The condition of the meat can be determined by touching its surface. Note that the meat should be dry or moist, but if it seems slippery on touching, then the batch has probably turned bad. Also, if mold has grown over the meat, it can be understood by touching the surface.
Noting the color is another way to judge if the prosciutto has turned bad or it can still be consumed. While the ham has a reddish-pink color, the meat fat is ivory or white in color. These shades are natural to ham, but if it starts turning grey, blue, or green, it’s a clear indicator that the ham has expired.
Stored For A Long Time
If an opened prosciutto is kept in the refrigerator for more than a week, it is best to dispose of it for your safety.
Frequently Asked Questions
Should I Refrigerate Prosciutto?
Yes, always make sure you refrigerate prosciutto. That’s because it may spoil quickly if left out in the open. When you feel like eating some, pick a few slices and leave only those on the countertop for 10 minutes to acquire room temperature.
Is Eating Raw Prosciutto Safe?
Prosciutto is the dried form of ham which implies it is already made edible by dehydration prior to being packaged. So, it is completely safe to eat when you buy it from any grocery or online store.
That’s all the time we have for you today. We hope you’ll now have a clear idea about how long prosciutto lasts and the signs of decay.
But before we call it a day, here’s a small piece of advice on how you can have raw prosciutto. Make sure you pair it with mozzarella cheese or feta as the cheesy flavor goes very well with it. However, avoid salty cheese such as Halloumi as prosciutto is already salted.
With that, we’ll take your leave. Till we meet again, take care!