The problem of ham? It is very rich in salt. "In one hectogram you can find well over 5 g, the dose that you shouldn't exceed a day to stay healthy," warns Dr. Diana Scatozza, a dietician. "That's why, from a nutritional point of view, I gave the highest score to less savory products".
Taste, texture and aroma
Excess salt is also a negative characteristic for food technologist Giorgio Donegani: «The taste of a good raw ham must be delicate, relatively intense, balanced. It doesn't have to be too salty (serious defect even in the absence of other imperfections) nor excessively taste of fresh meat. As far as consistency is concerned, the lean part must melt well in the mouth ».
"If, on the other hand, it is very dry or, on the contrary, wet, pasty or sticky or, worse still, fibrous and rubbery, the product is of poor quality", continues the expert. "The scent must instead be typical, delicate but still perceptible. It must not remind of fresh meat and it must not be pungent or have a slightly metallic hint ».
Appearance also matters
«The slices must have dimensions not too small, regular and homogeneous shape and they must separate from each other without breaking. In evaluating the appearance, I looked at both the marbling fat, which must be visible and well distributed, and the peripheral fat, which must not be absent or appear excessive », Donegani continues.
«Both must have a beautiful white color (pinkish to the limit), but never yellow or greyish. The lean part must instead be of a uniform and quite intense pink red, but not too dark. Finally, on the ingredients front, I rejected the only product with nitrates and nitrites».
Principe Prosciutto di San Daniele Dop, € 3,99 the 80 g pack (€ 49,87 / kg).
The strong point. It melts in your mouth.
Dop San Daniele ham, without preservatives or added flavorings. The appearance has a white infiltration fat like that of the covering, however, not very abundant. The slices separate quite easily.
The scent is delicate without an excessive meaty note and the typical sweet taste, with a slight hint of salty. The consistency is pleasant, the lean tends to melt in the mouth due to the long aging, without being too soft.
In 100 g: 14 g of fat (of which 4,7 g saturated), 28 g of protein, 4,8 g of salt, 238 calories.
Corte Parma Alimentare Srl Prosciutto di Norcia Igp, € 3,99 the 85 g pack (€ 46,94 / kg).
The strong point. Smells of spices.
The slices of this Norcia IGP ham look good. The color of the peripheral fat (not excessive) and of the internal veins is pure white. The lean part is of a rather marked, homogeneous red.
The scent is rightly intense, typical, not too salty, with very light spicy notes linked to the addition of pepper and garlic in the preparation. The hint of meat is barely hinted at and not annoying. The taste is harmonious, pleasant, with well balanced salt.
In 100 g: 13 g of fat (of which 5 g saturated), 29 g of protein, 4,4 g of salt, 268 calories.
Fratelli Beretta Pure Beretta Raw ham, € 3,99 the 90 g pack (€ 44,33 / kg).
The strong point. It comes from an ok supply chain.
This ham boasts on the label that it is obtained from a controlled supply chain, which guarantees respect for animal welfare and avoids the use of antibiotics. The slices are presented well, with little vein fat and also to cover.
The color of the lean is homogeneous, rightly intense. On the nose the smell is pleasant, not too fleshy, sufficiently intense. The taste is balanced, not excessively salty, and the hint of meat is not accentuated.
In 100 g: 12 g of fat (of which 4,2 g saturated), 30 g of protein, 5,5 g of salt, 228 calories.
La Felinese Salumi Spa Parma Ham Dop, € 2,19 the 50 g pack (€ 43,80 / kg).
The strong point. It has perfect slices.
The color of the lean is sufficiently intense and numerous tyrosine crystals are evident to testify to the good maturation. Above all, the slices of this Parma ham are perfect: they have almost only peripheral fat of a beautiful pure white.
The aroma is not too fleshy, in the mouth you can appreciate the marked sweetness in balance with the salt and the typical taste of the ham. The consistency is pleasant, with the red part that tends to melt pleasantly.
In 100 g: 16 g of fat (of which 6 g saturated), 28 g of protein, 5 g of salt, 260 calories.
The nostrolab: Dr. Giorgio Donegani, food technologist in Sesto San Giovanni (Milan); Dr. Diana Scatozza, specialist in Food Science in Milan.