AskDefine | Define prosciutto

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. A dry-cured ham from Italy.




  1. prosciutto
  2. ham

Extensive Definition

Prosciutto () is the Italian word for ham. In English the word is almost always used for dry-cured ham which has not been cooked, in particular from central and northern Italy such as Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto di San Daniele.


The word prosciutto derives from the Latin perexsuctum, which gave way to the modern Italian word prosciugare which means "thoroughly dried" (lit., "(having been) very sucked out").
In Italian, "prosciutto" refers to the pork cut, not to its specific preparation. Italian speakers therefore make a distinction between prosciutto cotto (literally, "cooked ham"), which is similar to what English speakers would call "ham", and prosciutto crudo ("raw ham"), the dry-cured ham which English speakers refer to as simply "prosciutto" or "Parma ham". By default, in Italian menus (typically in pizzerias) an unqualified "prosciutto" refers to "ham" ("prosciutto cotto"), whereas "prosciutto crudo" is sometimes referred to simply as "crudo". Culatello is a special variety of prosciutto, made with a fraction of the normal cut and aged, and may be cured with wine, with Culatello di Zibello having PDO status.


The process of making prosciutto can take anywhere from nine to eighteen months, depending on the size of the ham.* Jamón ibérico, from Spain Similar hams are produced in many other countries, in many cases imitating others rather than following a long tradition.

See also

  • Coppa or capicola, made in Italy from dry-cured pork shoulder.
  • Bresaola, made in northern Italy from air-dried beef.

Notes and references

Further reading

  • McGee, Harold. On Food and Cooking (revised). New York, NY: Scribner, 2004. ISBN 0-684-80001-2

External links

prosciutto in German: Parmaschinken
prosciutto in French: Jambon de Parme
prosciutto in Italian: Prosciutto di Parma
prosciutto in Dutch: Parmaham
prosciutto in Japanese: プロシュット・ディ・パルマ
prosciutto in Slovenian: Pršut
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