Adding Salt

Salt is normally added in the dry state or mixed with limited quantities of water. The techniques of salting products vary: in most cases, the entire mass of the product is covered in salt, that in some important techniques (e.g., for Parma ham,) the salt covering is limited to the area where there is the greatest probability of microbial growth (the main blood vessels, areas in proximity to the head of the femur, etc.).

Traditionally, the addition of salt was by hand; nowadays, salting machines are being used more and more, because they allow for the complete or partial covering of the muscle surface without the exertion of mechanical actions that could damage the conformation of the product and/or cause breakage of bones or lacerations of the muscle fractions. The use of tumblers, which may give rise to the above-mentioned defects, is limited to certain production but is not normal practice for the traditional production methods of some countries (Italy and Spain).

Similar situations are encountered in products other than ham; for these, because of the differing conformation and the absence of bones, the use of tumblers is widespread.

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