Hams are trimmed, salted on the exterior, and hung to dry in a well-ventilated space, often rooms with shutters. The salt draws moisture out, and the flesh absorbs salt in.
Many Air-Cured Hams will keep for years.
Some of the best known examples are the various types of prosciutto made in Italy. Air-Curing is also the tradition in the southern American states — they call it theirs “Country Ham.”
Most Air-Cured Ham can be eaten raw (though American Country Ham cannot be.)
Air-Cured Hams were a specialty of mountain areas because of the winds they received. Today, though, some of Italy’s most well-known prosciuttos are made in the lowlands along the Po river,
Other, different curing techniques for ham are smoking them, or a “wet-cure” — soaking or injecting in brine.
San Daniele appears to be the first place in Italy that there is documented evidence of hams being air-cured, as far back as the original Celt inhabitants there.