cured meat, dried meat, how long does it last?????
We moved recently and in the course of cleaning out the fridge, we found a shrink wrapped sealed package of jamon serrano which was brought home from Spain some time back. . . okay, I confess, most likely in the winter/fall of 1999 since that was the last time I was in Spain.
It is the "real" cured jamon serrano---air dried cured etc and purchased from a deli in Spain. The package is not bulging and the meat looks fine. No signs of mold or anything. I know that cured products like ham were created to store the food for a long time. To the best of my knowledge, things like bacalao and dried meat have half life, not a shelf life but then again, we've got a kid and we don't want to die.
Dare we eat it? What if I cook with it?
I think, when there's no preservatives, the problem is with the fat going rancid. I would definitely trim every speck of fat from it before sampling any, if you are sure that's what you want to do.
True Serrano ham is available in this country, for significantly less than the cost of a trip to Spain. Why not pitch it and buy fresh?
Jamon Serrano is by definition "preserved." Whether a three year old Jamon will be any good...
I have a really radical suggestion: taste a sliver! I bet it is still okay.
Even if it is a little dried out, Italians use the nubs of Prosiutto to flavor soups and it is a mindblowing addition to a hardy vegetable soup. I bet it would be fine for soup.
Just cube it small, sautee it a bit, and throw into any vegetable soup recipe. You will not be disappointed.
If not, you can get more at www.tienda.com