How To Make Your Own Delicious Prosciutto

Here on the farm, we rear our own organic pork.  As well as producing fabulous joints, chops and sausages, one of the things we enjoy most is curing our own prosciutto.  Curing is incredibly easy and you can do this at home with a good quality rear leg (ham) from your butcher.

You will need:

1 ham (rear leg) weighed

15 kilos of salt (salt ratio is dependent on the size of your box – see more details below)

A wooden box, a lid or piece of wood smaller than the box, plus a heavy weight (we use a brick!)

Method

First weigh your ham and record the weight for future reference.

Pour half an inch of salt in the bottom of the box before placing the ham on top of this.  Continue to pour salt around the sides of the leg and rub into the ham, before covering the top of the ham with an inch of salt.

Place the lid/small piece of wood on top of the ham and weigh down with a weight before storing in a cool, dry place.

Now for the maths!  Cure for 3 days per kilo, knocking one day off your total.  Our ham weighs 4.5 kilos so we’ll be curing for 13 days.

Once curing is complete, tie up your ham and air dry for 6 months to 2 years!  We place our ham in a game safe (pictured) which hangs outside everyday unless it’s raining or the day time temperature is below freezing.   In hot weather it’s placed in the shade and not direct sunlight.  Whatever the weather I bring ours inside every night.  If you have a secure outbuilding or garage with plenty of ventilation this would work well too. 

After 6 months we can’t resist carving and then devour with gusto – it tastes delicious!!!

Shopping

I bought my Bodega Ham Stand from www.efoodies.co.uk

Good luck and happy curing!!!!

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33 Responses to How To Make Your Own Delicious Prosciutto

  1. Matt says:

    Just read your prosciutto post. Does it matter what type of salt is used?

    Thanks

  2. Matt says:

    Thanks Lizzie, that pork looks amazing.
    Matt

  3. Joe kola says:

    Wow! Looks amazing I wish I had the space to do this, I would eat that picture if I could get my printer to work!

  4. vasilis says:

    hwllo. in other posrs i’ve read about rubbing other herbs as well on the ham for taste. just with salt does it turn out nice in taste.? and when you speak of high temps.. in my place greece it can go pretty hot at summer. is it ok> given that i start the curing process in winter and all the heat come like after 4-5 months?

    • Hi

      Using just salt is quite traditional but I do like your idea of rubbing other herbs onto the meat as well. Once you’ve finished the initial curing process and you’re about to hang your meat out for 6 months the meat does require good air circulation and should be kept out of direct sunlight. We have cured some of meats in a barn where we’ve had access to a good air circulation but the temperature has kept it cool enough. We have seen people in the mediterrean airing their parma hams on the mast of boats to get the air circulation going! Good luck and I’d love to hear how you get on.

      Very best wishes – Lizzie

  5. chris webb says:

    Looks amazing. Do you cook the ham?

    • Hi Chris – The parma ham is cured just by the salt and air so no conventional oven cooking is involved. If you get an opportunity it really is worth giving it a go.

      All the best – Lizzie

  6. Jason Forti says:

    I was raised by my grandparents who were both Tyrolean. We have always enjoyed cured meats such as prosciutto and soppressatta as well as other foods from the region. I always wanted to try making my own and this seems like a very easy way for the beginner to try. Can’t wait.

  7. Francis from West Virginia, USA says:

    Once you start slicing the ham and obviously savoring it, do you have to finish the whole ham within a certain period of time (like in a week or two) or can you refrigerate or freeze the remaining

    • Hi Francis – Once you’ve started to slice you prosciutto you don’t need to freeze or refrigerate your ham as the meat is cured. We leave our ham on the bone in a cool ventilated room in its game protector so the flies don’t get to it, and the ham automatically reseals itself by air drying the cut section (a good anaology is a wound and a scab). The next time you want more prosciutto you just cut off the same section as before (now dried) and it will reveal the cured meat again. We normally eat our ham within a month of cutting the first slice.

      Good luck and enjoy – Lizzie

      • Francis Saldanha says:

        Thank you. Can I substitute the wood box with a heavy cardboard one and a plastic bag to line it? Or is wood required to allow liquids to seep out?

      • Hi Francis – Thank you for your interesting question. I slightly hesitate re the plastic bag idea because I’m not sure how it would affect the curing process. Traditionally wooden boxes have been used because they’re a natural material and “breathe”. It may be worth contacting your local Off Licence/Wine Merchant to see if they have any surplus wooden boxes you could use for this purpose. Good luck and I hope all goes well – Lizzie

      • Francis Saldanha says:

        is it normal to get a slight odor as the curing process is underway? Been 6 days covered in salt as you recommended in a wood box. In a cool basement of the house. Thanks!

      • Hi Francis

        Thank you so much for your email. I didn’t check on the ham while it was curing in the box, but I do know that when it is air drying it smells slightly gamey due to the curing process. I wouldn’t be overly concerned by the slight odour at this point as I’m sure it’s part of the process. However, if it’s a strong rancid smell I wouldn’t eat the ham.

        Good luck and I really hope it all works out well.

        Lizzie x

  8. Adam says:

    Hi Lizzie,

    Great article! We just cured our own ham using this method last night. One thing I was a bit worried about was the lack of nitrates when curing. I’ve read nitrates are required to kill botulism – A few articles on the web about this and so wondered what your view was? Perhaps any dangers are reduced providing the ham is stored somewhere cool when curing?

    Thanks,
    Adam.

    • Hi Adam

      I’ve never experienced any problems with botulism but have always stored the ham somewhere cool when curing and did use my game safe (which is a contraption used for hanging pheasants before you pluck them) It allows the bird or leg of ham to air without the flies being able to get to it.

      All the best – Lizzie x

  9. Carl says:

    Great posting. Thanks for simplifying it so well. Quick question or two. After you take the ham from the salt, do you rinse it? Is this the stage one would add pepper if one wanted?

    • Hi Carl – we didn’t rinse the salt off after we.d cured it in the box. We brushed the salt off and then hung it the keep safe (protective bag made with panels of netting to promote air circulation but keeps off flies). We hung the leg in the keeps safe outside during the day if dry and bringing it in at night. Hope this helps and the very best of luck. All the best – Lizzie

    • We didn’t rinse the salt off just brushed it off and yes I’m sure if you wanted to add pepper you could do this then. Good luck.

  10. Carl says:

    One more question. Is the salt coarse or fine?

  11. Ash says:

    Hi. Thanks for the information! Do you start with a leg of ham or a raw leg of pork?

  12. Dr. Hicks says:

    Wonderful guide, the finished product is excellent.

  13. Joe Van Zijl says:

    Hi Lizzie

    I was told that when I buy the leg of pork, the trotter’s must still be on, if not, the leg can rot.
    looking forward to your reply
    regards from Cape Town

  14. Joe Van Zijl says:

    Hi Lizzie
    do i need to “debone” the leg or can i leave the bone in?

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