Can You Eat Prosciutto Raw?

by Charlie

Prosciutto is a delicious Italian food. It is made from the hind leg of a pig, salted and dried for a couple of months. This curing period can vary from seven months at the basic level of up to three years for the premium ham. This meat has a salty and sweet taste. 

Since Italy is known for producing exceptional prosciutto, it exports to the other parts of the world like the United States. So, the prosciutto you’ll find in the stores is not locally made. You can be sure it’s the original one. 

So, can you eat prosciutto raw? Yes, since it has been dried and cured for months, it is safe for human consumption. The drying and salting process discourages the growth of microbes, known to cause diseases and infections in human beings.

So next time you are in the supermarket and find prosciutto purchase some and enjoy eating them raw. 

How is Raw Prosciutto Prepared?

The preparation of prosciutto requires time, skill, quality pork, passion, penicillin, and a conducive environment for drying. 

This Italian dish is hand salted and left to cure for 7 months to 3 years. 

The preparation process entails rubbing the salt inside the pork chops and applying penicillin on the outside. Salt helps in dehydration and removal of moisture from the meat and binding of cells.

 Salt also inhibits and slows down bacterial growth on the piece of meat. On the basic level, this meat is less likely to go bad than when it non-salted. It also creates an acidic environment that denatures microbes, further maintaining the freshness of the pork. 

While salt is doing its magic inside the meat, penicillin, on the other hand protects the outside. The outcome is one of the finest cuisines in the world. 

How Can You Eat Raw Prosciutto?

Since it’s safe to eat raw prosciutto, what are some of the ways you can enjoy this delicacy? 

You cannot go wrong with using it for bread sandwich, or chopping it into smaller pieces or wrapping it around a watermelon. But cooking shouldn’t be one of the options. The reason is, the meat may taste more salted and less enjoyable. 

If you can find rock melon, it’s the best for sandwiching your prosciutto. Combining the delectable fat of the prosciutto with the sweetness of a rockmelon is an unforgettable experience.  

While some suggest cooking under low heat, the outcome will be unpleasant. Cooking is known to change the flavor of the meat and also intensify the saltiness. Even when the temptation is there, resist! 

Also, you can try wafer-thin slicing to maintain saltiness balance. This process also enhances the taste of your prosciutto. So, next time, why don’t you give it a trial? 

Can Pregnant Women Eat Prosciutto Raw? 

Prosciutto is a cured meat and eaten while cold. There are varying opinions on whether pregnant women should eat this cured meat or not. 

The opponents argue that raw prosciutto will cause listeriosis or toxoplasmosis. These are bacterial infections caused by eating raw/poorly cooked and cold meat. However, cured and cold pork chops are less likely to cause these infections. 

But that doesn’t eliminate the possibility altogether, unless you cured the meat yourself.  

The determining factor is whether the meat has been labeled ‘safe to eat’ and comes from a reputable brand. The premium prosciutto has been salt dried and cures for many months, and the chances of bacterial infection after consumption reduced significantly. 

As such, prosciutto is less likely to cause any harm to the mother or the unborn child.

However, if you feel you want to double up protection against infection, you can cook prosciutto under low temperature or just heat it. You should, then, eat it while it’s hot. You can also freeze your prosciutto for four days, which kills any microbes. Allow it to thaw and enjoy it while cold. With this, no need to worry about infections. 

So, can a pregnant woman eat raw prosciutto? Yes. Just ensure it carries the label ‘safe to eat’ and has been manufactured by a reputable brand. To be sure you are safe, you can go for the premium one, dried over a longer period like 3 years. Cooking under low heat can help you feel better and safe as you enjoy your prosciutto. 

What are the Health Benefits of Eating Raw Prosciutto?

One of the best rewards of eating prosciutto has to do with amino acids. 

The process of drying and curing the meat makes the amino acids easier to digest and more beneficial to the body. During this long period, the amino acids are broken down into smaller elements that can go through the digestive system sooner and be better absorbed into the blood stream. 

Even those people who avoid eating meat because of the slow digestion process can eat prosciutto and enjoy the improved digestibility with prosciutto. 

Final Thoughts

  • Prosciutto is a delicious cuisine with its roots in Italy. It’s made by salt drying and curing pork for seven months to 3 years. 
  • It is safe to eat prosciutto raw as the curing process, and salt drying removes moisture and inhibits the growth of bacteria that can cause diseases. 
  • Pregnant women can eat prosciutto but should make sure it’s labeled ‘safe to eat’ and comes from a reputable brand. 
  • You can eat your prosciutto as a bread or melon sandwich. It’s also okay to slice it into smaller pieces and enjoy it that way. 
  • If you want to eliminate any chance of microbes in prosciutto, you can heat it under low temperature or freeze it for about 4 days. Heat or low temperatures eliminate the parasites. 
  • Prosciuttos are beneficial as the amino acids are broken further during the curing process, making them more digestible and absorbable into the bloodstream. 

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