Iberian Ham & Serrano ham
We love talking about ham! Of course, it is our favorite ingredient and it is also one of the star gastronomic products of our country. Serrano or Iberian, the two varieties different from each other where it is also very important to know the appellation of origin. Undoubtedly, the Serrano ham is the most common product that is usually bought in evidently because its price is cheaper. Quality is talking about something else.
This is the best selling and most consumed type of ham. It comes from white pigs that may belong to different breeds, such as Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and Large White. These can be raised and fed in a stable way or sometimes they can be released. The adjective serrano receives it when the ham has been cured in a cold and dry mountain climate. On the other hand, one of the very important qualities is the healing process. And based on that time they qualify like that.
-Wine of the winery: from 9 to 12 months of healing
-Jamón reserve: from 12 to 15 months of healing
-Jamón Gran Reserva: more than 15 months of healing
As for the attributes and organoleptic qualities that define this meat of Serrano ham we can highlight that it has a pink color that extends throughout the piece and has much less veins of fat than the Iberian, so it seems less bright and drier . As for the flavor, it is less juicy to have less fat. At the same time it has a more salty taste because it has a higher percentage of sodium in its composition.
Within this variety of ham, we find that in Spain there are two brands with designation of origin that protect and stimulate the production of this white pork. These are: The Trevélez ham, from the Alpujarra de Granada, which is one of the main products of the gastronomy of this mountain area, which is above 1,200 meters of altitude. The ham of Teruel: this was the first D.O of a ham in Spain. It occurs in the municipalities of said province and is never located below an altitude of 800 meters.
The Iberian ham is undoubtedly the ham par excellence. The ham for the exquisite palates. It is one of the star products of Spanish cuisine, as it is only produced in our country and has special characteristics. It comes from Iberian pigs that are exclusive because it is an endemic species here.
The feeding of these pigs ends up playing a fundamental role in the quality of the ham and finishes classifying them in labels according to variety:
– White label: is the one that comes from pigs fed with feed in intensive livestock.
-Green label: same feeding but in outdoor dehesas in extensive livestock where they can also eat grass.
-Red label: hams that come from crosses of pigs that are not 100% Iberian, raised in freedom and that feed on acorns and pastures only during their last phase of fattening.
-Black label: these are the highest range and quality. Those of pure race, raised in freedom and fed only with acorns and pastures.
The Iberian hams at the end of their preparation usually have a healing process of between two and four years. Aesthetically they stand out for having a bright and lively tone with many white streaks (which is the result of the high fat component). This is the touch that gives a juicy and tasty taste that is not dry in the mouth and that practically seems to melt. It is not as salty as the mountain and has a much stronger smell that makes it unmistakable.
In Spain we find that there are a total of four denominations of origin that represent a very good production of this ham. They are the following: Jabugo, from Huelva, Los Pedroches, from Córdoba Jamón de Guijuelo, from the municipalities to the southeast of the province of Salamanca. Dehesa de Extremadura, coming from the homonymous areas of said community.