Small scale drying experiments
The production of dry-cured ham with low salt content can take up to several years. Therefore, small scale experiments were performed and compared in order to study the effects of drying temperature, relative humidity and salt content on the development of quality parameters as well as drying kinetics in an acceptable period of time. Three different salt content (unsalted, low salted and medium salted) were analysed at 6 different drying conditions.
The drying process of meat has been described by a semi-empirical model using the Fick's law of diffusion. The effective moisture diffusion for the drying at 75% RH for the three used temperatures was estimated between 2.4 10-11 and 6.6 10-11 m2 s-1, while for the drying at 80% RH the values for the same three temperatures were between 5 10-12 and 2.8 10-11 m2 s-1.