Don’t just say ‘Jamón’ in Spain.
Have you ever been in a ‘Jamonería’ or in a supermarket wondering what the difference is between all those hams?
Each ham is not like the other. We are happy to show you the way.
In fact, there are basically 2 breeds of pigs that provide that delicious ham that is found everywhere in Spain.
Iberian: Iberian ham with black hoof.
Blanca (white): Serrano ham, light brown hoof.
The Iberian is a protected regional product and therefore these pigs are only raised in Spain
You will find them in 4 regions: La Dehesa de Extremadura, Guijuelo (Salamanca), Jabugo (Huelva) and Pedroches (Córdoba)
Iberian ham is also popularly called Pata Negra.
And to make it even more difficult for us foreigners, there are also ways in which those pigs are raised and you can find it in 4 different names:
Iberian Cebo: has a limited range in fenced land and receives animal feed
Ibérico de Cebo Campo: limited distribution in fenced land, eats grass and natural animal feed.
Ibérico Recebo: it is raised in freedom in nature (Dehesa) and eats grass, wheat and flour and in autumn acorns from the oaks, up to 10 kg per day!
Ibérico Bellota: only eats grass and acorns.
And the name also differs according to the part of the animal from which the ham comes and the number of months it has been matured.
The front leg or shoulder is aged for 14-18 years.
Hind leg or Ham 24-26 months.
If they have been aged for more than 30 months, they are called Reserva or Gran Reserva.
The meat of the Iberian ham is pink to deep red, with soft and tender fat.
And importantly, even those who have to watch their cholesterol can enjoy this delicious ham: 30-40mg/100gr. Less than in chicken or turkey!
A high percentage of unsaturated fats and oleic acid, that’s all you need for this ham to melt in your mouth with ease!
And the serrano ham?
It comes from a ‘white’ pig and has a milder and more tender flavor than Iberian.
Here you can also distinguish three types of ham:
Cellar: aged for 10-12 months.
Reserve: 12-15 months
Great reserve: more than 15 months.
Ideal as a healthy tapas and without queues.