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Why is it called Jamón Ibérico/Iberian ham?

Pata Jamón Ibérico

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Why is it called Jamón ibérico? What is its origin and what are its characteristics? How is it made? We have to start from one premise: when we refer to Iberian ham, we are talking about a food obtained from the salting and air-drying /salting curing process of the hind legs of the Iberian breed pig. At Enrique Tomás we provide answers to these and other questions

Iberian ham: its origin and characteristics

Its origin

Jamón Ibérico can only come from Iberian pigs. Therefore, the first thing to point out is that it should never be confused with Gran Reserva ham, which comes from the white pig, not the Iberian pig.

The Iberian pig is native to the Iberian Peninsula. It is a unique species with characteristics that differentiate it from other animals of the same species, such as, for example, the ability to infiltrate fat into the muscle.

Physically speaking, these animals have a well-proportioned head and a pointed snout, unlike other types of pigs, the Iberian has a powerful neck, a drooping dewlap, medium-sized ears in the shape of a visor and a wide belly. Its limbs, the ones that transform into Jamón or shoulder are thinner.

According to the legislation that regulates the production of Iberian ham, the denomination “Iberian pig” includes all pigs whose mother is 100% Iberian and is registered in the herd book of the Iberian Pig Breed. The offspring of this pig, and therefore the products produced from them, can have different percentages of breed purity: 50%, 75% or 100%.

Do you want to know more? Pig breeds: the Iberian pig.

Its name

After reading the previous point, you will surely know why it is called Iberian ham. There is no doubt that it is due to the name of the breed of pig from which it comes: the Iberian breed pig, unique to our peninsula. Iberian ham is the most prized range of hams and one of the star products of world gastronomy.

La imagen tiene un atributo ALT vacío; su nombre de archivo es jamon-iberico-de-bellota-y-jamon-iberico-de-cebo-e1519834654149.jpg
Jamón Ibérico

Types of Iberian ham according to the Iberian pig’s diet

In addition to the breed, in order to differentiate the Iberian pigs from the rest and give them a category among them, the diet must be taken into account. Iberian ham can be of three types: cebo, cebo de campo or bellota. And here we pose the question: what is the main difference between them? Their diet.

On the one hand, fattened Iberian pigs, which live on farms, are fed on feed and cereals. On the other hand, the Iberian free-range pigs combine farm life with grazing in the fields in freedom, so they receive a combined diet of feed and wild fruits collected from the fields.

On the other hand, the Iberian pigs that produce Jamón de Bellota Ibérico are those that are “la montanera” and live in freedom (free-range) in the pastures during the autumn and winter, feeding on acorns and other grasses and fruits of nature. The acorns have an exquisite oil that the pig infiltrates in its muscle turning it into very precious fat which is what makes it melt in your mouth when you taste it.

At Enrique Tomás, we differentiate between white, green and red labels.

The Iberian ham curing process

Another of the most important variables to take into account in order to differentiate Iberian ham is, as we say at Enrique Tomas: “the cooking”. This cooking is nothing more and nothing less than the conditions in which the leg is preserved, the amount of salt, the storage temperature and the curing time. In short, a ham is cured with time, wisdom, care and salt.

In the case of Jamón de cebo Ibérico, the curing time must be 24 months. In the case of Jamón de cebo de campo ibérico, it is from 24 to 30 months, and in the case of Jamón de Bellota ibérico it is from 36 months, which makes it an exceptional type of ham on the palate.

La imagen tiene un atributo ALT vacío; su nombre de archivo es jamoniberico_010-1024x576.jpg

Jamón de Bellota 100% ibérico- Pata Negra

Why is it called Pata Negra Iberian Ham? 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham (Jamón de Bellota ibérico) is the most prized of all hams, popularly known as pata negra. 100% Iberian breed, these are pigs raised in the wild in the pasture that, during the “montanera”, have been fed on acorns, wild plants and herbs, 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 to the feeding and care to which it has been subjected. Eating this ham is a pleasure. As we say at Enrique Tomás: “Nobody eats Jamón to get rid of hunger”, we eat it to enjoy it.

Why is it called Jamón Ibérico/Iberian ham?
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Why is it called Jamón Ibérico/Iberian ham?
Why is it called Iberian ham? How many types of Spanish ham are there? Where does it come from? We will answer all your questions at Enrique Tomás!
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Enrique Tomás S.L.
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Otros idiomas: Español Français Deutsch Italiano


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