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Prosciutto Problem

Asked by GlennD. Answered on 20th June 2012

Full question

I've been very fortunate to be given a whole prosciutto, the problem is that it's huge (2kg) and not sliced. Is it possible to slice by hand? Does prosciutto freeze well? Any suggestions?

Our answer

Proscuitto does freeze well but you need to bear in mind that when freezing food smaller items will not store quite as well. Exposed surface areas tend to suffer over time from "freezer burn" and as larger pieces have less surface area than thin slices they will tend to deteriorate in quality more slowly. So if you want to freeze the proscuitto for more than one month then you are better off freezing it in chunks. The chunks should be wrapped tightly in a double layer of clingfilm then either sealed tightly in a resealable bag, with as much air as possible squeezed out, or wrapped in a double layer of foil if they are too big to fit in a bag. It is best to divide it into portions that you can use over 2 to 3 days as once you have thawed the proscuitto it cannot be re-frozen and should be eaten within 2 to 3 days. Always thaw the proscuitto overnight in the fridge before eating.

It is possible to slice the ham by hand but you will not get the wafer thin slices that you get from a deli and you will also find that it is quite hard work, even with a very sharp knife. It may be worth seeing if you can find a deli or restaurant that you can pay to slice it for you. Otherwise, use a well sharpened and heavy knife and just cut as much as you need. Any difficult to cut end pieces could be cubed up and used in a salad or used in a similar way to cubetti or lardons and cooked.

If you freeze sliceds then sandwich the slices between some baking parchment and wrap tightly in a double layer of clingfilm and either seal in a bag or wrap in foil, as above. Again freeze in portion sizes. In this form it is best if used within one month.

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