Whole Dry Salami and Hard Cheese Storage?

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How long will Italian dry salami and hard cheeses last at room tempature? What are the best ways to store these items?

Thanks in Advance

-- Rob (old@potrero.com), July 13, 1999


Rob, I can't answer the question you asked, but I can tell you that in the Southeast salt cured ham was at one time a staple. My grandparents had an unairconditioned room attached to their kitchen. A number of hams were hung from the rafters on strings. If I recall, some of the hams had been pierced and threaded through the meat along the hock and some were wrapped in cloth and the cloth was tied to the string.

After a period of time, sometimes years, the hams would be molded and sometimes infested with maggots. My grandfather always claimed that you only had to cut away the bad parts and you were still left with perfectly good ham. I never ate any ham that had been hung like that, and I never saw my grandfather eat any either although there is no doubt in my mind that he had done so in the past and that he would have no hesitation on doing so in the future if it was put on a plat in front of him.

I just looked in the Carla Emery book and the James Talmadge stevens book and was surprised to see no index references to salt cured meat. I've got a ham upstairs from last December. I can tell you that there is nothing wrong with it. Anyway, I might call the company and ask them about shelf life.

I'm sure that many older folks on the forum could tell you all about ham storage.

-- Puddintame (achillesg@hotmail.com), July 13, 1999.

I called Johnston Co. Ham Comp. in Smithfield, NC, and could not get real authoritative information on storage.

I did get this information: Johnston County Ham Co. 204 N. Brightleaf Blvd. Smithfield, NC 27577


Hams are $2.49 lb. Typical ham weight is 13 lbs. Hams can be shipped UPS or FED EX. Hams can be bought at the store and you save about $13 on a 13 lb. ham.

For those familiar with eastern NC, the store is on 301 just north of the US 70/301 intersection. From Raleigh, turn left at the old Hardees on 70.

I have no connection to the company except I have one of their hams upstairs in the cleaning closet.

-- Puddintame (achillesg@hotmail.com), July 13, 1999.

Rob, Italian hard salami will last indefinitely because of the preservatives. Once you cut it open it should be kept in the refrig or eat within a few weeks. Hanging hams will also keep indefinitely until cut open.

Hard cheese will keep indefinitely if you dip the cheese in melted parrifin wax, (two layers). Parrafin is sold in boxes in the canning section of groceries. Cut cheese in chunks for amount you will eat within a day before dipping.

-- Foxrun (ardrinc@aol.com), July 13, 1999.

Not to be thick headed, but could you name the hard cheeses? Thanks.

-- margie mason (mar3mike@aol.com), July 13, 1999.


The types of cheese I was looking at were parmasean and dry jack, whole uncut wheels.

-- Rob (old@potrero.com), July 13, 1999.

I can't say that I'm a huge fan of dried hard salami, but I purchased some the other day. It says to keep refrigerated, but it makes sense that that would be after you open it. I thing they dry these things by hanging them for months.

Ideally, I would like to "rehydrate" some of them after rollover by soaking them for a while in water (for a larger meal). I have a cookbook which mentions doing this for salted meats. Does anyone have any experience with this?

Also, I love parmesan and romano cheeses, but would the same waxing work for Asiago as well? My wife loves this stuff especially.

-- nothere nothere (notherethere@hotmail.com), July 13, 1999.

The grocery stores around here (Georgia) have the Smithfields ham for $1.99/lb. I read that there is a tradition of giving a smoked ham to a newborn, who then uses it on her wedding day! Hopefully we can have them "hang around" for a few months into 2000. You can also have the butcher slice them and then vacuum pack the slices if you're lucky enough to have a Tilia Foodsaver.

-- Jill (jdance@mindspring.com), July 13, 1999.

Greetings All!

Rob,concerning the salami and cheese-I've been checking in with my nephew who works at a local Quality Foods grocery store about this very subject.He basically claims what the others above said,we decided to only buy in sizes that would be consumed entirely.Do have a propane operated small fridge for storage of crucial items,but elected to keep with our rule of open it-eat it,in order to conserve valuable fuel resources.

Also,the salt cured hams are definitely a plus,grew up on these up here in the Ga. mountains.Got a few hanging in the cellar right now! Another choice would be some side-meat,you can find it your grocery stores(at least down here in the south,don't know about every where else.)or if you're traveling up through here in the mountains,stop at one of the roadside produce stands,they always have this,in small packs as well as whole sides of ham.Especially during the fall,thats when most folks butcher their hogs and cure them out.Lot of times you can get it cheaper there than the local grocery stores.

As a reminder we gonna need something to add some flavor to all them beans and such.A pot of green beans fresh out of the garden has to have some sort of ham added to it,IMHO!That also reminds me,I gotta go pick beans before it gets dark,already canned over 40 quarts and they're still coming in.Hope my little garden does this well next year!

Jill- you're so right about the Foodsaver!Other folks may want to do what we did,we divided up the purchase between myself,my brother and our mom and dad.When preparing this way,not only is it easy on the pocketbooks,it brings a family closer I think.

Take care all!

-- Ex-Marine (Digging In@Home.com), July 13, 1999.


I bought a hoop (wheel) of mild cheddar. It weighed 24 pounds. I cut it into usable portions, and vacuum sealed it. They were sealed in March of this year. The cheese was put into wooden hoop boxes and left in our storage bedroom. I check it regularly for loose seals. So far, so good. The vacuum has not broken and the cheese is still fine. It does weep oil, and gets soft if the temperature is high. I also expect to have sharp cheddar by the time its used! After opening the sealed bags, it does not last as long as fresh cheese, before molding. I think it would be important to make the portions for reasonable use in a very short time.

I did the same thing with the country ham. We had it sliced, and vacuum sealed it. It is holding up fine. The butcher said that as long as the seal held it would keep indefinitely.

This winter, I plan on buying another hoop of cheese and two more country hams. I will vacuum seal them to be able to keep them in usable portions. Hope this helped!


P.S. I use the Tilia vacuum sealer.

-- Dian (bdp@accessunited.com), July 13, 1999.


The 'ends' of the country ham will make good seasoning (just soak, and do not add extra salt!!!). I also canned bacon, so that will give me bacon for seasoning, as well as some lovely (can you say cholesterol?) bacon grease. Some thing to keep in mind for all those canned beans! :-)

-- Dian (bdp@accessunited.com), July 13, 1999.

Sliced almonds also go well with green beans.

-- Tom Carey (tomcarey@mindspring.com), July 14, 1999.

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