Lucanica di Picerno

Wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare), is the spice that accounts for the characteristic flavor of Lucanica, other spices such as black pepper (Piper nigrum) and chili (Capsicum annuum) also contribute to the aroma, albeit to a lesser degree. A spicy version of the product is permitted, in which the perceived intensity of the ‘chili’ aroma is greater, although the ‘wild fennel’ aroma must still predominate. The way in which ‘Lucanica di Picerno’ sausages are traditionally hung on special racks when they are being matured gives them their characteristic ‘U’ shape which distinguishes the product to this day.

MeatsMetricUS
Pork shoulder, lean cuts400 g0.88 lb
Lean pork from leg (ham), loin300 g0.66 lb
Pork belly, jowls, back fat300 g0.66 pb
Ingredients per 1000g (1 kg) of meat
Salt25 g4 tsp
Cure #12.0 g1/3 tsp
Sugar3.0 g1/2 tsp
Pepper1.0 g1/2 tsp
Chili pepper, hot1.0 g1/2 tsp
Fennel seeds1.5 g3/4 tsp
T-SPX starter culture0.12 guse scale
Instructions
  1. Grind meat and fat through 10-14 mm (3/8 – 1/2”) grinder plate.
  2. Mix ground meat with all ingredients, except starter culture. Hold at 8° C (48° F) between 4 - 24 hours to allow good absorption of spice flavors by the meat.
  3. Add starter culture, re-mix the paste and stuff into 40 - 44 mm natural casings.
  4. Hold the sausages for 5 hours at max 22° C (70° F) (90% humidity, then ferment/dry for 3 - 7 days, until they lose about 15% of the original weight. The acidity level pH should fall between 4.8 and 5.3.
  5. Dry/mature sausages for at least 18 days at 18 → 13° C (64 → 54° F), 85% → 75% humidity.
Notes
Lucanica di Picerno was awarded PGI certificate of origin on October 29, 2018.
The label on each ready for consumption sausage must display Lucanica di Picerno’s logo, and the European PGI symbol.

The geographical area of production

The ‘Lucanica di Picerno’ production area lies in the territories of Picerno, Tito, Satriano di Lucania, Savoia di Lucania, Vietri di Potenza, Sant’Angelo Le Fratte, Brienza, Balvano, Ruoti, Baragiano, Bella, Muro Lucano, Castelgrande and Sasso di Castalda. Climate conditions in the area are typical of the Lucanian Apennines, with hot, dry summers followed by seasons with plentiful precipitation and frequently snowy winter months. These conditions of temperature and humidity are the main factors encouraging the exuberant growth of fennel, an ingredient traditionally used to produce Lucanica di Picerno PGI. A recipe from Picerno, originating from peasant household tradition, involved the use of this seasoning at a ratio of around a hundred seeds per kilo of meat mixture, thus underlining the distinctive feature of this product. The seeds of this ancient perennial aromatic plant were present everywhere and were gathered and sold by elderly people. At present the wild fennel is generally, but not necessarily, taken from the identified geographical area.

Production

Meat. Only meat from approved breeds of pig is allowed and the animals are raised for at least nine months to gain a suitable heavy weight. Lucanica di Picerno may be produced using only cuts such as shoulder, neck, belly, tip of tenderloin and rear leg (ham part).
Ingredients: salt from 2.0 % to 2.5 %; mild or hot chili pepper (Capsicuum annum) from 0.1 % to 0.15 %; wild fennel (Foeniculum vulgare) seeds from 0.13 % to 0.18 %; black pepper(Piper nigrum) from 0.05 % to 0.1 %; dextrose and sucrose max. 0.5 %. The following additives and preservatives are also permitted: sodium nitrite (E250); potassium nitrate (E252) up to 0.10 g/kg; ascorbic acid (E300) up to 0.1 % or sodium ascorbate (E301) up to 0.1 %. Starter cultures are allowed, but milk, milk products and genetically modified plant or organisms are not permitted.
Processing: Meat is ground through 10-14 mm (1/2”) plate. The ground meat is mixed with all ingredients and held at 8° C (48° F) between 4 and 24 hours to allow good absorption of spice flavors by the meat. The meat paste is stuffed into 40 - 44 mm natural casings. The sausages are conditioned/dried for 5 hours at 90% humidity, then they are fermented/dried between 3 and 7 days, until they lose about 15% of the original weight. The acidity level pH should fall between 4.8 and 5.3. After that the sausages are dried/matured for at least 18 days at 18 → 13° C (64 → 54° F), 85% → 75% humidity. The Aw (water activity) should be below 0.88. The product weighs between 250 g and 350 g. It is between 3.0 cm and 3.6 cm in diameter and between 20 cm and 35 cm long. When the product is cut, the slices are firm and red in color, and fat particles are visible.

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