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The pig is a wonderful animal that is part of the famous Mediterranean gastronomy. It is a mammal, a very intelligent one and of which there are many different breeds with different characteristics that make them unique. This animal, which belongs to the subspecies of the mammal Artiodactyl, corresponding to the Suidae family, bears the scientific name “sus scrofa” and there are data indicating that its domestication began some 13,000 years ago.
Pigs in gastronomy
The pig is an animal widely used for human consumption, not only because it is edible, but also because it is suitable for meat production due to its litter size and short curing time. In Spain, one of the meats that is consumed most is pork and if we talk about its properties, we highlight its high content of protein and minerals such as iron and calcium, bridging the differences between the different cuts of meat as the loin can provide about 155 calories while pork belly about 412 calories.
So, when we talk about pork consumption, we can distinguish different types of meat, first according to the age of the animal and then according to the location of the cut. In addition to this, we remember that the breed of the animal also influences, as it happens in the case of the Iberian pigs, a unique breed in the world with specific characteristics from which the famous Iberian ham is obtained.
According to your age
Piglet or suckling: A few weeks and its weight does not exceed 4 kg, has been fed only on breast milk.
Piglet: Few months and exclusive breast milk feeding, its weight is about 8 kilos.
Cochino: A pig fattened for slaughter.
Verraco: A male pig intended for breeding.
According to the type of cut
Chops: They are obtained from the middle part of the loin.
Loin: It is considered the part with the highest quality and from there we obtain what we know as sirloin, loin and cured or stuffed loin.
Ham: They are the thigh and the legs of the animal (ham the hind legs and shoulder the front)
Knuckle: central part of the front extremities.
Ribs: As the name suggests, they are extracted from the ribs of the animal.
Pig’s trotters: The area of the legs with which the animal is supported.
Criadillas: pig’s testicles.
Needle: upper part of the neck of an animal.
Pancetta: piece made up of fat and a small part of meat.
Pestorejo: Also known as a mask, it is made up of the animal’s ears, muzzle and upper lip.
Curiosities about pigs
It’s true that “nothing is left of a pig” but if we talk about the animal as such, here is a list of curiosities that may surprise you:
- As farm animals, pigs have accompanied humans even before cows, in fact, are one of the oldest animal species ever domesticated for consumption.
- They are considered very sociable animals, are able to form bonds with people, other animals and show affection.
- Although they are omnivorous and eat everything, it is known that pigs can enjoy food, eating slowly and savoring their food.
- They are very communicative and have more than 20 types of sounds that are used in different situations
- Contrary to common belief, pigs are very clean animals. The mud wallowing is done as a method of cooling their bodies because the pigs don’t sweat.
- They are very intelligent animals, their intelligence is comparable to that of a 3-4 year old human child. In fact, pigs are among the smartest animal breeds on the planet, ahead of dogs.
Now you know much more about pigs, an animal that gives us everything! And if it has whetted your appetite, remember that Enrique Tomás you can enjoy the best hams, ham shoulders and cured meats made with top quality meat.
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What is pig, pork, its use in gastronomy and curiosities about pork in Enrique Tomás' Glossary of World Ham Terms.
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