How Long Does Prosciutto Last (And Other Important Facts)

Prosciutto is a type of ham that is usually served during special occasions and holidays. You can commonly see this delicacy during Christmas dinners and festive gatherings. But even on ordinary days, prosciutto is still in-demand from eager folks like me who want to enjoy the pleasures of eating this ham as many times as possible.

But just like other delicacies, prosciutto has a limited longevity, as it will go off at some time and become inedible. That’s why it is pretty crucial that you consume the entire ham before it exceeds its expiry date. But how long does prosciutto last? Are there any significant indicators that can tell you if this food is about to go off?

Well, the answers to these questions are in the next section, so I would recommend that you read on and check them out. It is for your own good, after all!


How Long Does Prosciutto Last?

As you can see, the flavor of prosciutto varies. Sometimes, it can get sweet and sometimes salty too. It just depends on how the meat was initially prepared. Therefore, at this point, it is quite difficult to ascertain the quality of the meat.

Since prosciutto is a type of Italian ham, it is usually prepared through either curing or air-drying. If it is produced commercially, you can guarantee that any of these methods were conducted in a controlled and safe environment. But that still doesn’t mean the ham will remain edible and fresh without proper intervention.

The Food Safety Department of the United States Department of Health and Human Services has already released guidelines for the proper storage of ham. They have listed different types of hams, but I have excluded most of them so that we can focus on prosciutto and its other related variants. Check out the specific details below.

Prosciutto and other Spanish and Italian Hams:

  • Refrigerated – 2 to 3 months.
  • Frozen – 1 month.

Cured Ham (uncooked):

  • Refrigerated – 5 to 7 days.
  • Frozen – 3 to 4 months.

Cured Ham (cooked):

  • Refrigerated – 2 to 3 months.
  • Frozen – 1 month.

Country Ham:

  • Refrigerated – 2 to 3 months.
  • Frozen – 1 month.

Luncheon Meat Ham (unopened):

  • Refrigerated – 2 weeks.
  • Frozen – 1 to 2 months.

Luncheon Meat Ham (opened):

  • Refrigerated – 3 to 5 days.
  • Frozen – 1 to 2 months.

How To Tell If Prosciutto Has Gone Bad

Now that we know the lifespan of prosciutto and other similar variants, it is time to do a little meddling ourselves. I find the expiration dates of these food items quite annoying and they don’t help me to sleep at all!

I find the most practical and efficient way of determining the lifespan of food is by looking for signs that it is going off, such as the physical changes that take place as the meat grows old. Apart from the expiration date, other factors can provide clear red flags, such as:

  • The color of the ham. Just like other fresh meat, prosciutto is a bright reddish pink when it is fresh, and its fatty layer should be white. However, if these colors are starting to fade, then you should think twice about eating it. 
  • Never forget to smell the meat. Fresh prosciutto should be odorless, as much as possible. If the ham has a sour scent and suddenly reeks, then dispose of it immediately as there is a good chance that it has gone off.
  • Touch the surface of the food. Does it feel dry and firm? If the answer’s yes, then the ham is still in good condition. But if the surface and flesh of the prosciutto is slimy and loose, then these are clear signs that the meat is close to its expiry date. 

By the way, if you want to tenderize the ham, you might need the help of a meat tenderizer tool, which enables you to smoothen the ham for both marination and garnishing purposes.

Do you want to know facts about other meats? Then enroll yourself in this free meat course that I have. Check it out now!

Final Reminders

If you want to get the best out of prosciutto hams, it is imperative that you keep it fresh and safe at all times. Prosciutto should only be stored in cold containers, like your refrigerator and freezer. Never let it be exposed to the elements, such as heat and air, as this will increase the aging of the meat.

Moreover, I recommend that you only buy fresh prosciutto. You can maximize the meat’s lifespan if you have acquired it fresh. You can’t really expect the meat to last long if it’s been on display for a quite a time already, right?

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