Matt's Food Blog

Prosciutto Update

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Yesterday (mid February) was elevation day for our cured ham. As mentioned the pig leg had been curing in the fridge for 16 days and so it was time to prep it for hanging. The curing process allowed the skin to take on a darker, richer hew. As the pics below show, after rinsing the salt cure off, the next step is to cover any of the exposed flesh with lard (an oddly pleasurable job…). This step adds a protective layer like the skin, and also ensures that the drying process happens at a similar rate for the whole ham. Then it’s time to add a layer of crushed black pepper to discourage beasties. Another protective measure is to wrap the ham in four layers of muslin: the leg’s now ready to be hung.

Time for elevation! My brother has a beautiful garden housing some fabulous mature trees: a perfect spot for Swine Haus. Although an even more fitting reason to have the ham dry there is that it’s being prepared for his forthcoming nuptials in June.

Swine Haus was constructed using flotsam and jetsam I had lying around: some wooden batons, tongue and groove, plastic corrugated sheet and some chicken wire. The principal was to create a sheltered section above the ham in order to keep rain off – but to incorporate open spaces to the side and below the structure to maximise air flow to the ham to encourage the drying process – we’ll see how that’s worked in a few months time. We used some carabiners we had lying around to balance the Haus and to fabricate a makeshift pulley – the Haus is easy to allow down for inspection.

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