When you take a look at how prosciutto is made, you’d think that it would last a long time even if you leave it out of the fridge. But that is, unfortunately, not the case. Even though prosciutto is cured and left unrefrigerated for months on end, its shelf life is shorter than you would think.
More than that, prosciutto is sliced paper-thin off the pork leg, making it super delicate and at risk of moisture loss. That said, we recommend eating prosciutto within 1 to 3 days after you buy it.
But what if you have leftover prosciutto that you want to use some other time? It will likely go bad in the fridge quickly, so, can you freeze prosciutto?
While we do not recommend it, it is possible to freeze prosciutto.
However, freezing can make prosciutto its unique tenderness and sweet-salty flavor. This is why it’s important to know how to freeze prosciutto properly so that you can keep as much of its original qualities as possible.
Let’s dig a little deeper.
Can You Freeze Prosciutto?
Yes, you can freeze prosciutto to extend its lifespan. However, we do not recommend freezing prosciutto if you can help it.
Why? Because prosciutto is sliced so thinly that it loses its flavor and tenderness very quickly–even when stored in the refrigerator.
With that being said, prosciutto is best consumed within 1 to 3 days after you buy it from the store. If you have leftovers, you can store them in the fridge for up to 4 days if opened and up to 2 weeks if unopened.
On the other hand, freezing prosciutto can extend its lifespan to 1 to 2 months. Although prosciutto can still be safe to eat after 1 or 2 months, the quality can degrade significantly after that. (*)
Does Packaged Proscuitto Last Longer Than Deli Proscuitto?
Pre-packaged prosciutto is vacuum-sealed, which helps it last longer in the fridge. In fact, you can keep pre-packaged prosciutto for up to 2 weeks if you leave it unopened.
Deli prosciutto, on the other hand, often lasts up to 3 to 5 days at most. So, when buying fresh prosciutto from the deli, make sure to only buy the amount you plan to eat.
If you want to freeze your prosciutto for future sandwiches and eggs benedicts, here’s what to do:
How Do You Freeze Proscuitto?
Freezing prosciutto is not a common practice since freezing can take away the meat’s desirable characteristics, such as flavor and tenderness. But it is possible.
To preserve as much quality as possible, follow this guide on how to freeze prosciutto:
- Carefully arrange your prosciutto slices in a freezer bag or airtight container. Make sure that the container is closed completely to prevent the meat from absorbing odors in the freezer.
- Separate your prosciutto into portions so that you don’t have to take everything out to thaw.
- Label the container with today’s date before putting it into the freezer. Ensure that there is enough room around it for air to circulate.
You can keep prosciutto in the freezer indefinitely, but we recommend eating it within 1 or 2 months.
If you are freezing a whole chunk of prosciutto, follow the instructions above but cut it into smaller portions to avoid having to take the whole thing out of the freezer.
When you’re ready to enjoy your prosciutto, here’s what you need to do:
How Do You Thaw Frozen Proscuitto?
The best way to defrost frozen prosciutto is to put it in the fridge at least 12 hours before eating it. Slow thawing ensures that the meat keeps most of its flavor and tenderness.
Do not let your prosciutto thaw at room temperature. Doing so can allow harmful bacteria to grow on the meat.
Keep in mind that bacteria multiply the fastest at temperatures between 40 °F and 140 °F. To avoid wasting your prosciutto, always thaw it in the fridge.
The same goes for prosciutto chunks. After the meat has thawed completely, take it out of the fridge and begin cutting it into wafer-thin slices.
But what if you still have leftovers?
Unfortunately, you cannot refreeze prosciutto once it has been thawed out. Technically, you can, but you’re most likely going to end up with very poor-quality prosciutto.
With that being said, once you thaw your frozen prosciutto, eat it within 2 to 3 days. If you’re not ready to eat it yet, you can keep it in your fridge for up to 3 days.
How Can You Tell if Proscuitto Has Gone Bad?
Spotting spoiled prosciutto is easy. Prosciutto that has gone bad will have a gray or greenish tint, and sometimes even mold.
But more often than not, the first tell-tale sign of spoilage is a pungent smell. If your prosciutto smells even slightly bad, you are better off tossing it.
What Is The Best Way to Store Proscuitto?
We advise against freezing prosciutto, but you can extend its lifespan by storing it in the fridge. Pre-packed prosciutto can last 5 to 14 days in the fridge when left unopened.
Opened prosciutto, on the other hand, can last 3 to 5 days. The same applies to deli prosciutto, which is not pre-packaged.
When storing your prosciutto in the fridge, cover it tightly with cling wrap or transfer it into an airtight container. Place it away from any odorous foods to prevent the meat from absorbing foreign smells and flavors.
How Can You Make Proscuitto Last Longer?
Prosciutto doesn’t have a terribly long lifespan, but there are ways you can make it last a bit longer.
One is to keep it in an airtight container at all times. If you buy pre-packaged prosciutto, always ensure that the bag is sealed tight. Unpackaged prosciutto should be kept in cling wrap or an airtight plastic container.
Can prosciutto be frozen Yes. Do we recommend it? No.If you want to make your prosciutto last longer, keep it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. But to enjoy prosciutto in its best state, eat it as soon as you take it home.
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