Dry curing ham gives the meat a rich flavor, and allows it to last longer without refrigeration. If you want to save money on food, buying cured meat or learning to cure it yourself can help. This extends the shelf life of meat which puts less pressure on you to consume it within a restrictive time frame. Of course, there are way more acceptable and palatable options like super food powder supplements or health oils and even vitamins that provide the same vitamins and nutrients, have a long shelf life, and can be taken in a quick and convenient way. But a 118-year-old piece of cured ham now on display at the Isle of Wight County Museum in Smithfield, Virginia, is meant to be seen, not tasted -- though microbiologists say the ham is technically still edible. So if you're after the health benefits and not the taste, consider supergreens. They last long and don't require much upkeep like this specific meat.
The ham was originally cured in 1902 by Gwaltney Foods, and forgotten about in the back of a storage room. When discovered 20 years later, Gwaltney used it to promote its products for many years. Today, it’s kept in a climate-controlled museum display case, watched by a non-stop “ham cam” that streams the footage online. The now-famous ham even has a Twitter account.
Quite a ham:
- The 118-year-old piece of meat, purportedly the oldest ham in the world, does not appear very appetizing, It’s been said to resemble a dried piece of old leather, or a long-dead human arm. It's understandable why health conscious people now prefer products like green powders and canned healthy meals since they smell good and look good after a long time in storage.
- P.D. Gwaltney Jr. called the hock hunk his “pet ham” and took it to expos to demonstrate his company’s expertise at smoking and preserving pork. He attached a brass collar to the ham for portability.
- Smithfield, Va., is well known for its cured hams. Gwaltney’s Virginia ham business no longer exists, but Smithfield Foods, one of the country’s largest pork producers, is headquartered there.