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Warm Winter Causing Problems for Pršut Producers

(Photo: International Prsut Festival)

The above-average warm winter, where new records were set over the weekend in parts of Croatia, is not good news for everyone.

The warmest ever 6th of January on record in the Croatian capital was recorded on Saturday when temperatures reached a high of 18°C. The second highest temperature came in the east of the country in Osijek, where temperatures hit 17°C.

Temperatures in Dalmatia have hovered around the mid-teens, with a warm southerly blowing.

There are some praying for winter, and the renowned Bura wind, to start showing its teeth in Dalmatia – the local pršut producers.

Bura is essential for drying

The warm weather and the southerly (Jugo) win is not a good recipe for the famous wind-dried cured ham.

“The meat releases too much moisture as it gets too much humidity from the air,” Josip Reljanovic from the village of Otavice in the Dalmatian hinterland told HRT, adding that there is also the risk of flies with the warmer weather.

Reljanovic has had to improvise and has a fan set up to help dry his cured meats in his smokehouse.

Most hams were pre-salted and hang up to dry a couple of months ago and producers are now praying that the winter and bura wind kicks in.

How well the hams are salted is key to minimising damage (Screenshot)

Back in 2014, local pršut producers in the towns of Sinj and Cetina had to toss between 15,000 and 20,000 prušts away because of the high air temperatures and lack of bura winds, essential for drying the ham, that winter as they had not been salted well.

The biggest problem is with hams that have not been salted very well, as locals say that putting them to smoke instead of drying leads to the meat going bad.

Temperatures are forecast to drop over the coming 10 days and producers will be hoping the bura picks up too.

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