Salame 101: Proper Handling, Shelf Life and Serving

salami square Salame 101: Proper Handling, Shelf Life and Serving

History, science  and Italian tradition have deliberated, tested and determined that the ideal storage temperatures for artisan salami would be a cool environment, around 55 degrees.  Since this is difficult for majority of us to maintain, refrigeration is the next best solution.  Artisan salami should be wrapped in butcher paper or cheesecloth to allow for proper air flow.  The salami will continue to age under these conditions, subtle changes in texture and flavor characteristics will occur.  Avoid storing the salami in a plastic bag, as this can create moisture affecting the quality and shelf life.  In addition, avoid freezing salami as it will cause changes to the texture and flavor characteristics.

Shelf life will vary between types of Italian artisan salame because of shape, size, ingredients and proper handling.  Start by cutting only what product you intend to use, the remaining should be re-wrapped and refrigerated immediately.  To ensure optimum experience and flavor profile I recommend utilizing within 30 to 45 days once cut.

As we all have found with our wine experiences,  once opened they all need a little time to breathe and come to life.  The exact same can be said for artisan salami, cold temperatures will mask the subtle layers of flavors created by the salumieri, to experience the true flavors and characteristics of artisan salame they are best served at room temperature.  A general rule of thumb is to allow 20 -30 minutes before serving.

A couple tips I’ve learned along the way, first lets discuss the frustration in removing the natural casing from artisan salami from time to time.  A trick I’ve discovered to help out, moisture.  You can either place the salami under cool running water for 30 seconds or wrap in a damp paper cloth for a couple minutes, a simple and quick way to remove the natural casing uncover the artisan experience ahead.

The thickness and cut of the salame will make a difference.  The purists believe that everyting should be cut ‘thin’, others let the diameter of the salame determine the thickness of the cut.  I say let your personal preference be the guide and experiment from time to time to develop your own understanding and appreciation.

Grazie mille,

Chef Michael

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