Have you ever made prosciutto? I certainly have pigs available from local farmers. I could get a whole leg no problem.
I remember my aunt in Europe with her whole leg of prosciutto in her kitchen. I'm just wondering how I could get such a lovely piece of meat like that and so thought went to DIY.
BTW, my aunt didn't make her own. She bought in France or Italy , I'm sure.
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It's not difficult at all but the most important part is keeping an eye on it as it's drying to make sure the conditions are perfect. If there are problems, for example dampness, then you must wipe off any mould or fungus, clean with fruit alcohol (That's what I use and it works well.) and re-pepper then re-hang somewhere less humid with good air circulation.
We live in Smithfield Va..we do ham. quite well. not the best in the world, but hey. The best is probably Westphalia..
Anyway..prosciutto is pretty much the same cure as dry salt cured ham..and it is mostly easy to do...just dig up a good book on charcuterie..
here is something to try first though...scare up a couple of butt roasts and try two recipes, to see how you are going to ike messing with curing meat...Google recipes for Buckboard bacon (AWESOME STUFF!) and canadian bacon....they are both easy to do, and will get your feet wet, so to speak.
there are several good websites for curing how to's as well..
then you will discover sausage making...worse than crack.
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
What do you mean with "fruit alcohol"... something like kirsch, schnaps (the european version) or slivovich (aka alcohol made from fruits) or some kind of alcohol used for preserving fruits?
We've only just started experimenting with saving sausages etc. My SO bought some artisan ones from a local butcher and we are experimenting with the best way of saving them, hanging, laying, salting, location (cellar, kitchen etc). The ones in the cold cupboard in the kitchen were fine except for a minor bit of white spots. I used a handfull of dry coarse seasalt to scrub of the sports and left the salt on. It did the trick, no more mold.
Yes, that sort of thing - any fruit which has been distilled to make what we call in France "Eau de vie". The man comes to our village with the still once a year and we take barrels of fruit to him and have a picnic then come away with an amazingly tiny amount of alcohol. This is part of his still.
You can use any fruit you have - we have a lot of figs and sometimes we have pears which changes the flavour of our meats subtly depending on the fruit used. Next year, I want to try Mirabelle - a really sweet plumb which makes a lovely eau de vie.
We do the same with the white spots - nip them in the bud. Sometimes I use pepper - it seems to stay drier longer.
We've got three copa (French version of prosciutto) hanging at the moment. Next time we cut off a few slices, I'll post a photo.
I've got a friend whose family is from Italy, he is 2nd generation and they dry cure their own using old methods. I know he does some up in the attic and then eventually they end up in the basement. He has a large family as you might expect but I believe he probably has close to 40 or 50 legs and stuff hanging in the basement, along with sausages and other stuff...I need to hang out with him one of these times when their doing it...we usually buy or trade for some throughout the year...it's great.
Thanks for the reply. Love the idea of a mobile still traveling the land. I knew it's allowed down south but around here home distilling is prohibited (growing cannabis for personal use is allowed, but distilling not, so it's more for tax-reasons than anything else). They do sell waterdistillers though with the note "although it is prohibited to distill alcohol this still could be used for that purpose." It's the same as selling stevia "for external use only". Those stills are expensive though and I'm thinking to have a metalworking friend of mine build me one from scrap-metal parts. For now I search around in Belgium and Germany (both borders are within 30 minutes drivingtime, gotta love the Netherlands for that) for artisanal distilleries.
I'll try the eau de vie and pepper method on the next batches...
I did try the guanciale (dry-cured pork cheek) recipe found in Michael Ruhlman and Brian Polcyn's Charcuterie book suggested by John (http://www.amazon.com/Charcuterie-Craft-Salting-Smoking-Curing/dp/0393058298) and it turned out really well, but was nothing like proscuito. It is probably easier to try a smaller cut first just because it takes less time and as a result is easier to troubleshoot.
As for the molds, I got some white mold growing on it, but according to Ruhlman and Polcyn, the wierd colored molds (black, red, green) are the one you need to worry about.