Hey Bob. By "cured only in salt" did you mean without any of the wonderful nitrates, or did you mean without any other bacterial injection?The other thing I wanted to ask was, how does one get into charcuterie? I've done simple things like bacon, and corned beef, but long dry aged things like prosciutto, salami, sausages scare the heck outta me. I keep having these horrible nightmares about eating something I've cured and falling over dead and twitching leaving my corpse for my cats to munch on before I'm found.I don't have a temperature controlled room other than a fridge to hang/cure things in. But dammit, I want to make this stuff so badly!!! I DO have a room I can convert to cure stuff in during the fall/winter/spring but the summer can get pretty brutally hot and humid in Montreal.
ZalbarBy and large, whole muscle cures like bresaola, lomo etc. are the safest because there are few air spaces for dangerous bacteria to grow. So, why not start with something like bresaola air dried beef? A great place to hang stuff is in a basement that has good ventilation. I've got a drying room under my basement steps. It's a small space that I've walled up with thick black plastic. I keep the air moving with a small fan that's on a timer. And yes, the ham in the photo is just cured with salt, no nitrates. It's much easier to do than you might imagine. Just get a ham and bury it in coarse salt. Let it cure in the refrigerator 1 day for every pound of meat. Then rinse it off and put it back in the fridge for a week to make sure the salt has completely diffused through the ham. Hang it for at least a year in a cool dark place with air that moves and where the humidity stays between 70 and 80 percent. At home I use a vaporizer to humidify the air.
When you say, put it in the fridge, is that on a rack?
adrianaNo, it does not need to go on a rack or suffer any special conditions.
I was wondering about your aging room: did you wall it with black plastic to keep it dark? How often does the fan go on to vent? As you see, I'm following directions to set up my own aging room in a basement up in the mountains, somewhere in Brazil. This weekend will be checking out temperature and humidity, to see if conditions are OK.
Oh, forgot to ask: was the ham cured with or without the bone.
Adriana, The ham was cured with the bone. The aging room at the farm is kept dark by heavy fabric over the windows, but the walls are not covered in black plastic. The room is big (2 stories) so we have fans running 24 hrs/day mostly to keep mold spores from settling on the meat and cheese. My aging room at home is much smaller and draped in black plastic to absorb light that would hasten the oxidation of the fats.
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