Buy ham with quality and at a good price?
Differences between Iberian ham and Serrano ham
Ham is obtained from the hind legs of a pig. Cured ham is a traditional product in Mediterranean culture. Spanish ham differs from others such as prosciutto by its curing. Serrano ham or Iberian ham follows a similar curing process. After the slaughter of the animal, the ham leg is outlined and goes through the process of salting, postulating and curing.
The term Serrano ham comes from curing the ham at the altitude of the mountains, since the environment and temperature is ideal for curing the ham. At present, curing of Serrano hams can be carried out in any location because most of the modern facilities control humidity and temperature for proper curing.
Pigs have different breeds. For Serrano ham, the most common breeds are Landrace or Large White. The Duroc breed stands out among white pigs for the quality of its meat and the marbling of fat infiltration. For this reason it is used for crosses with the Iberian pig. There are differences between the white pig and the Iberian pig, mainly in the quality of the meat and what it is intended for. Therefore, buying Iberian ham and buying Serrano ham has a noticeable difference in the taste and quality of the ham.
Within the Iberian breed there are lineages such as entrepelado, torbiscal, retinto, lampiño, spotted Jabugo. This variety of strains is the result of a differentiated genetic evolution and adaptation to the animal environment over decades. Whatever the lineage of the Iberian pig, we will always obtain exquisite Iberian hams and Iberian shoulders.
The white pig has its main use in the meat industry produces fresh and processed meat products that constitute the large volume of pork we consume from which we can obtain Serrano ham. In the opposite place is the Iberian pig, intended for the production of Iberian hams and shoulders and fresh meat of a higher quality than that given by white pigs.
In Ibericomio, when you buy Iberian ham you are taking home a ham selected conscientiously so that your choice is always the best value for money.
How to buy a good quality HAM ?
The ham comes from the hind legs of the pig. The front legs will give the raw material of what is known as paddles or shoulders.
To choose a quality ham, we have to attend, among other criteria, to the race. The Iberian breed is exclusive and unique to the Iberian Peninsula. It is the mother of Iberian ham.
White ham, although we call it Serrano ham, its correct denomination is Cured Ham. Depending on the curing time it will be cured ham cellar, reserve or grand reserve. Serrano ham can only be called for those white hams that meet the requirements of the specifications of the E.T.G. of Serrano Ham.
In addition to the breed an important factor to consider is food. The breeding of the white pig, almost in general, is intensive in farms with an exclusive feed based on feed.
On the other hand, Iberian pigs, the usual, is that they grow freely in the pastures eating from the acorns, selected feed or even fruit.
These differences will determine the quality of the hams we consume.
Iberian ham is recognized by a more authentic flavor in the meat and fat it offers. The genetics and diet of Iberian pigs means that it contains a high level of oleic acid or monounsaturated fats in its meat. This is due to the metabolism of the acorn, a food rich in monounsaturated fatty acids and the breeding in freedom in the pastures. All these conditions make pata negra ham have many more aromas and flavors characteristic of Iberian pigs.
Surely you have heard many comments and read articles about Iberian ham, its purity, its diet, its cutting, marbling, curing time, the new standard of R.D. 4/2014.
Are they driving you crazy? Don't worry, you're in the right place... In Ibericomio.es you can find the best Iberian ham selected for you. We are completely crazy about the Iberian... so crazy that we will put some sanity among so many options ... Only madmen and children tell the truth.
The issue is more complex than we would all like. To give you an idea, in 2001 a quality standard for Iberian ham was approved. Since then there have been modifications, new orders were approved until in 2007 a new quality standard is published. However, there were still those who sought confusion with Serrano hams with the use of symbols, denominations.
This standard allows the consumer to differentiate each type of Iberian ham and to be able to buy Iberian ham with complete peace of mind.
All producers who offer their Iberian products in ibericomio.es comply with the quality standard. You can see some news about appeals presented to the norm, about parliamentary initiatives to improve some aspects of it. In short, it is not easy because we are talking about something with great roots in our culture and economy, with all that this entails. Regardless of standards, it is recognized by all operators in the sector that the factors that mainly determine quality when buying Iberian ham are:
- - Race. We refer to the racial purity of the animal. We can buy a ham with a racial purity ranging from 50% Iberian to 100% Iberian. This always regardless of the feeding and handling of the animal.
Racial purity is determined by the parents, the mother must always be 100% Iberian. Depending on whether the father is 100% Duroc, 50% Iberian or 100% Iberian we will have animals 50% Iberian, 75% Iberian or 100% Iberian. The breed provides very visible characteristics in the texture and color of the lean ham.
- - Food. All animals metabolize their diet and depending on the quality of the feed, so will be the meat of the Iberian ham or shoulder you want to buy.
Iberian hams can come from pigs fed exclusively on feed, from a mixture of feed plus the natural resources found in the Dehesa and finally, animals that are only fed exclusively with acorns during the Montanera season prior to the slaughter of the pig.
The richness in monounsaturated fatty acids of the food received is reflected very well in the unctuousness and ability to fuse the fat of the ham. A ham with a high Oleic index you will see how its fat liquefies easily.
- - The handling of the animal. We talk about the handling of the animal or its breeding conditions. Animals can be raised intensively or extensively. This is in farms and / or closed enclosures, or in freedom in the Dehesa.
When considering the way of breeding, an intensive farm with little movement space will not be the same as one in which the animal can move or is on a slope. Likewise, extensive exploitation is greatly influenced by the orography of the Dehesa.
- - The healing process. We are talking about a process that for an Iberian ham will always mean a minimum of 24 months. This process will also depend on the size of the ham. It is obvious that a large ham needs more curing. In addition, curing a ham in 100% "natural" facilities is not the same as curing hams in modern warehouses with controlled humidity and temperature. In the latter case it is easier to obtain homogeneous hams at all times.
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