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When it comes to buying Spanish Jamón/ham or simply enjoying it, there are many words to keep in mind. Cured meat, Iberian breedThe Iberian pig is a breed of pig originating from the Iberi... More, Serrano and Bellota (acornThe sugar from acorns is an important component in the produ... More) are the most frequently repeated. But the truth is that there are big differences between each of them, as we refer to simply Jamón/ hamIberian ham (jamón ibérico) is a culinary tradition in Spa... More. Thus, if you do not know whether cured ham (jamónThe head of the ham is the front part where the hoof is loca... More serrano) or Iberian ham (jamón ibérico) differ from each other or which is better, at Enrique Tomás we are going to explain everything you need to know. This way, the concepts and differences will be clearer and you will be able to talk properly about what you like most, Spanish Jamón!
The answer is yes when we talk about Jamón. Jamón, talking about the leg, is nothing more or less than the hind leg of the pig that has undergone a curing processWhen we talk about curing in gastronomy we are talking about... and a meticulous elaboration. Undoubtedly, Jamón is the cured meat par excellence, but it is not the only one. Curing is a process of preserving and seasoning food, a procedure to which not only porkThe pig is a wonderful animal that is part of the famous Med... is subjected, but also some fish and red meat. In the past, it was used to preserve food for a longer period of time. The fundamental difference is the breed, the Iberian ham comes from the Iberian breed and the cured, simply so-called, without further details, comes from the common pig, of white breed and the result is what is usually called Serrano in Spain. More practical information in our video below.
What is needed to cure the meat? To achieve this we need a combination of saltSalt is an essential ingredient in the curing of jamón, as ... More, sugar, nitrates, nitrites and time, although there are also some curing processes that involve smoked cooking.
To simplify the curing process, regardless of the type of Jamón in question, it consists of avoiding the rapid decomposition of the food, extracting all the water from within to prevent the propagation of microorganisms. Although it may seem simple, the curing process of a Jamón is complex and requires all the experience, care and time of artisans and jamón experts. How do we do it? From products such as:
– Help kill bacteria and in turn, produce a characteristic flavor and color.
In conclusion, all hamsHam is one of the star products of the Spanish gastronomy, a... are cured hams and although the word refers to the process of “cooking-preserving” the meat, in Spain, cured ham is the name given to Jamón from white breed pigs, which is also popularly known as Jamón Serrano. So, what is the main difference between Serrano hamSerrano ham is considered a premium ham that is at the top o... or cured ham (Jamón curado) and Iberian ham (jamón ibérico? Here we tell you all about it!
The main difference is found in the breed, Serrano ham comes from the non-Iberian pig while Iberian ham comes, as its name indicates, from the Iberian breed, unique and exclusive to the Iberian Peninsula. The main characteristic that makes this breed unique and different from the rest is its ability to infiltrate the fatThe bacon of the ham/jamón is the layer of fat that covers ... More into the muscle in its meat, which results in an extraordinary, juicy, and very tasty flavor, especially in the Bellota Ham, which we will explain below.
According to Spanish regulations, for a pig to be considered Iberian breed, it must have a minimum purity of 50%, always obtained from a 100% Iberian mother, who determines the breed of the animal.
In order to distinguish the types of Iberian ham, in addition to the percentage of Iberian breed, the pig’s diet must be taken into account.
The Iberian breed is unique in the world due to its genetic qualities and its breeding on the Iberian Peninsula, but in terms of feedIberian pig feed should be of high quality and consist of a ... More, Iberian ham can be called ” de cebo ibérico”, “cebo de campoRecebo is the name given previously to the ham produced by p... ibérico”, or “Bellota ibérico”, depending on whether it has been raised exclusively on the farm, fed on feed and cereals, or has grazed in freedom in the countryside, or has done “the MontaneraThe Montanera Season is a period in which pigs are free in t...” and therefore its diet is mainly composed of wild herbs, acorns and while grazing freely until it has reached the right weight.
The most prized of all is the 100% Iberian acorn-fed hamThe Iberico de Bellota ham is the best ham in the the world,... (jamón Bellota 100% ibérico), popularly known as pata negra. This delicious jamón come from pigs raised in freedom during the “montanera” seasonSpanish Jamón is a product that is consumed all year round,... More, that is, for more than 4 months, have been fed on acorns, wild plants, roaming freely, doing a lot of exercise and muscling their limbs. The final product of this animal could not be other than a meat with an exceptional flavor thanks to the infiltration of fat in the muscle, as well as the vegetable oil from the acorns that impregnates the meat, and the good care and dedication of the experts. Eating this Jamón is a pleasure for all the senses. As we say at Enrique Tomás: “Nobody eats Jamón just to relieve hunger”, we eat it to enjoy it.
The only difference with the previous one is its breed percentage. The 50% Iberian acorn-fed ham lives in the same conditions as the 100% Iberian ham, it is fed on acorns, even though it is not 100% Iberian because of its breed. It comes from a 100% Iberian mother that has been crossed with a pig of another species, such as the Duroc or another white breed pig.
This is an Iberian ham from an Iberian pig raised on a farm and free-range, but which has followed a double diet: one on the farm with feed and the other free-range in the countryside with wild herbs and plants, where it has also made plenty of exercise. A delicious Jamón Learn more about Jamón de cebo de campo ibérico.
The Jamón cebo 50% Iberico is a ham from an Iberian breed pig raised and fed entirely on farm and with feed and cereals.
Thus, cured ham or Iberian ham? You already know that both are cured and that the difference lies in the breed of pig from which it comes, its feed and the curing time. If you are wondering which is better, check these three points and tell us for yourself which one is better for you:
1. The qualityThe assessment of the quality of Iberian ham/jamón is based... More of an Jamón ibérico will always be superior to that of a Jamón Serrano.
2. The best Jamón is always the one you like best.
3. The best is not always the most expensive
Although the main difference is the type of animal from which they are obtained, there are other differences between Serrano ham and Iberian ham. In any case, the most important thing is that whenever you go to buy ham you do so in a specialized store or a trusted place where experts can answer your questions and make you taste the Jamón you want to buy before taking it home. And, enjoy!
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