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My specific query is to the products on http://www.columbussalame.com/products/italian-delicacies The website says that it is "cured and naturally aged" Does this mean I dont have to cook it before eating?

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    One of those (the pancetta) specifically says you need to cook it, so it's probably pretty safe to assume that the ones that don't mention cooking don't need it. – Cascabel Jul 31 '14 at 6:58
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The website specifically says :

All of our salame are cured and naturally aged. Other salumi items like our Mortadella are spiced and cooked in the Italian tradition.

The problem is that there are two classifications of meat that only vary by a letter:

  • Salami (the plural of salame) are cured, air-dried meats. They can be stored at room temperature (at least before you cut into them), and would be fine to eat raw.

  • Salumi (the plural of salume) is a larger classification of salted meats, that includes not only salami but also cooked or raw products, such as mortadela and pancetta. The cooked products (eg, mortadela) would be fine to eat as-is.

Pancetta is salt and spice-cured pork belly, is still raw, and should be cooked before eating.

  • Think of Pancetta (Pahn-cheh-tah) as Italian bacon - you need to cook it. – jsanc623 Jul 31 '14 at 16:52
  • @jsanc623 : actually, think of it as salted, spiced pork belly -- as classic bacon is smoked, there are plenty of curing methods that may make bacon that is safe to eat raw. (although I wouldn't do that with your general supermarket bacon). See cooking.stackexchange.com/a/13962/67 – Joe Jul 31 '14 at 18:13
  • Well, today I learned something new. Many thanks Joe! – jsanc623 Jul 31 '14 at 18:28

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