Prosciutto Crudo di Parma is one of the Made in Italy ambassadors. In every slice there is the history of an Italian territory and culture. He is “the son” of the happy marriage of two ingredients that never lacked in Italy: salt and pork.
Salting was a common method to preserve meat and it is the origin of this delicacy: Prosciutto Crudo di Parma as we know it today is different from one century ago: in ancient times salting was more abundant and such a preserved meat was edible only after washing and cooking.
Taste and scent led Prosciutto Crudo di Parma to win important awards and to be recognised as a PDO with EC Regulation No. 1107 dated 12 June 1996.
Its nutritional characteristics and versatility multiplied its value and made it suitable for all ages people and tasters.
The origins of Prosciutto Crudo di Parma are written in the name itself: in Latin "perexsuctum", means “dried” or, according to other opinions, “sapped” (from "prae suctus"). In any case, the name etymology takes inspirations from the production method. During the seasoning time, salt drains the meat, preventing the growth of bacteria and molds and promoting conservation.
Already in Roman times, Parma was renowned for pig breeding and the production of seasoned pork meat. The Terramare civilization of the Bronze Age had already developed, in Emilia region, a structured agricultural culture and pig farms. The salt water springs presence in that area, despite the distance from the sea, was the basis of the birth of this famous excellence.
In 1963 was constituted the Consortium of Prosciutto Crudo di Parma with the aim of protecting and enhancing this delicacy in the world. The initiatives of the Consortium protect the name and guarantee the production method. The PDOensures compliance with the processing geographical area from the raw material up to the finished product. Only the products from a limited area can be labeled with the Prosciutto Crudo di Parma brand:
"The typical production area of Prosciutto Crudo di Parma - as identified by Law No. 26 dated 13 February 1990 and before that, by law No. 506 dated 4 July 1970 -
includes the territory of the province of Parma (Emilia-Romagna region, Italy) located South of the Emilia Road, at a distance therefrom of not less than 5 km, and up to a maximum altitude of 900 metres, bordered by the River Enza to the East and by the Stirone stream to the West. "
Parma pigs must be from Large White, Landrance and Duroc breeds, born and raised by authorised breeding farms. Their diet is a specially regulated and made of grains, cereals and whey from Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese production. By law the pigs are at least nine months old and must weigh a minimum of 140 kgs at the time of slaughter.
Making a Prosciutto Crudo di Parma is a long process in 9 steps:
cooling, 24 hours storage in special cells at 0 ° C;
trimming for the elimination of excess fat and rind;
salting in several stages, the pigskin is covered with humid sea salt, while the muscular parts are covered with dry salt;
resting for a period ranging between 60 and 90 days in refrigerated, humidity-controlled rooms;
washing and drying;
greasing, the exposed surfaces of the hams are softened with a paste of minced lard and salt in order to prevent the external layers drying too rapidly;
Final Curing in the seventh month, when the ham is transferred to the "cellars" and hang on racks until the curing is completed, at least 1 year, from date of first salting.
Prosciutto Crudo di Parma is a "short label" food: it contains only two ingredients, pork leg meat and salt. No additives or preservatives are used.
It is mainly a source of proteins, about 25% of the weight.
The fat component accounts for about 18% of weight. The fraction of unsaturated fats is significantly higher than that of saturated fats: 65% vs 35%. Prosciutto Crudo di Parma has also a good concentration of linoleic acid, a polyunsaturated fat of the omega-6 series.
Cholesterol is about 40 mg in a portion of 50 g of Prosciutto Crudo di Parma: less than 15% of the daily requirement of 300 mg / day in a healthy adult individual.
Among micronutrients: vitamins B1, B6, B12 and PP and mineral salts such as potassium, phosphorus, zinc, selenium.
According to the indications of the healthy model of the Mediterranean Diet, a portion of 50 g of Prosciutto Crudo di Parma, or other products of the same category, can be the main source of protein in two meals a week.
HOW TO TASTE
The Prosciutto Crudo di Parma is good "as it is". A slice of bread and one of thisdelicacy is what you need to taste this Italian excellence.
It is excellent also combined with figs or melon and side dishes of fresh seasonal vegetables. The wine chosen for the meal can favor the taste explosion, among the Italian ones the most suitable are the white Lugana or Albana di Romagna or the red and fragrant Lambrusco.
-Lo sfruttamento delle risorse animali nella Romagna dell'età del Bronzo. Maini E, Curci A. Annali dell'Università degli Studi di Ferrara Museologia Scientifica e Naturalistica 2016 volume 12/1: pp. 83 - 92
- Le eccellenze agroalimentari del parmense e la loro storia. 2010 Parma Economica
- Paesaggio ed economia nell'età del Bronzo la pianura bolognese tra Samoggia e Panaro. Cattani M. et al. 2010 Centro Stampa della Regione Emilia-Romagna
- Disciplinare di produzione della denominazione di origine protetta «Prosciutto di Parma»
- Linee Guida per una Sana Alimentazione Italiana. Istituto Nazionale di Ricerca per gli Alimenti e la Nutrizione