Ham is pork that has been preserved through salting, smoking, or wet curing. It was traditionally made only from the hind leg of swine, and referred to that specific cut of pork. Ham is made around the world, including a number of highly coveted regional specialties, such as Westphalian ham and Jamón serrano. Technically a processed meat, "ham" may refer to a product which has been through mechanical re-forming.
The precise nature of meat termed "ham" is controlled in a number of areas, often by statute, including the United States and European Union. In addition, numerous ham products have specific geographical naming protection, such as Prosciutto di Parma and Prosciutto Toscano PDO in Europe, and Smithfield ham in the US.
By Dean Hanley
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