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Nutritional value and storage of deli meats

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Nutritional value

Deli products retain the same nutritional value as the meat used to make them but in smaller amounts. For example, ham, like most meats, is 20% to 22% protein. Once processed, the protein content falls to between 12% and 18%.

Deli products are generally high in fat, cholesterol, calories and sodium. People with hypertension or high blood cholesterol should consume deli meats in moderation.

To reduce the amount of fat and calories, select leaner deli products like boiled or raw hams with 2% fat content. Try low fat terrines instead of rich liver pâtés.

Storage life

Here are a few basic rules to preserve the flavour and freshness of your deli products at home:

  • Always refrigerate your deli products as soon as possible, well-wrapped so that they do not dry out or absorb odours from other foods in the refrigerator.
  • Vacuum-packed products have a much longer storage life as long as they are unopened. Always check the "best before" date on the package however to make sure they are still good.
  • Once opened, the original package should not be re-used. The remaining deli products should be wrapped in waxed paper.
  • Whole meats will keep longer than sliced meats, a cooked or smoked ham will keep for three or four days and raw hams can be stored for up to one week.
  • Wrapped in plastic, pâtés, terrines, mousses, rillettes and cretons will keep for two to three days in the refrigerator.
  • Freezing is not recommended for deli products because they will lose their flavour, texture and moisture.