Prosciutto ---- salty, thinly sliced, cured ham ---- tastes delicious on its own or combined with warm toast, sharp cheeses or blended in a rich sauce. Strictly regulated by the government in Italy, the process of raising the stock, butchering the carcase and air-curing the meat are closely inspected to create a high quality product that is safe to consume. However, if the proper precautions have not been taken to preserve this tender and salty snack, you could become seriously ill. It's important to know the difference between edible prosciutto and meat that should be discarded.
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Look at the date on the package. Pre-sliced prosciutto will have either a 90- or 120-day expiration date, depending on the size of the ham. Do not consume if the meat is over the expiration date.
Open the package of meat. Look at the colour. The meat should have a reddish-pink colour to it, while the fat should look white or pale ivory. Prosciutto should not look grey, green or blue in colour. This indicates the meat has spoiled.
Smell the meat. Prosciutto should smell fresh and have a salty, bacon-like scent. Sour odours emanating from the meat is a telltale sign it is no longer fresh.
Feel the meat. As the lactic acid breaks down the meat, it can cause a slimy texture that coats the surface. Meat should feel dry or slightly moist to the touch. The meat should not feel slimy or gooey.
Tips and warnings
- Keep prosciutto refrigerated at all times when not in use. Store the meat in an airtight container or plastic bag.
- Do not eat prosciutto if there is fuzzy white or green mould present.
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