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Unless you live under a rock, chances are you've heard at least a little of the recent buzz surrounding umami, our 5th "taste bud". More than an actual taste bud, umami describes attributes of food that make your mouth water. Umami is that little savory thing you can't quite put your finger on that makes you crave many of your favorite foods. Umami develops naturally in many food as they cure, dry, ripen or ferment. Some foods, like dried mushrooms, fish sauce and ripe tomatoes are naturally high in umami, but almost nothing can come close to the umami tsunami that is salt-cured pork! From bacon and country-style ham to prosciutto, pancetta and beyond, cured pork is the stuff food dreams are made of! So why does cured pork pack so much more umami punch than fresh? Because as the pork ages, fermentation breaks down the pork's proteins into amino acids, releasing brand new umami-packed flavor compounds that didn't exist in the fresh meat! Next time you're at the grocery store of farmer's market, grab a piece, any piece, of salt-cured pork and tuck it away in the fridge. All it takes is a little piece in almost any recipe to turn crave-ability way, way up!