Introduction to the Ham from Spain
Spanish Ham is a dry-cured ham that is very popular in Spain. These hams are cured with salt and the range varies from the economic to expensive. The two main types of cured hams that are available in Spain is the Jamon Serrano and the Jamon Iberico. Jamon refers to Spanish translation of “ham”. To give you an example about the price in Spain for the ham, you can easy see the difference. The price for the Spanish Serrano ham is around € 15,- ($ 20,-) per kilo, while the Iberico ham is € 285,- ($ 300,-) per kilo. The most expensive hams will cost you around € 1100,- ($ 1200,-) per kilo.
Let’s have a short brief description of these two Spanish hams.
The word Serrano in Spanish means “mountain range” and since the ham is mostly grown in mountainous areas, it received its nam. The biggest difference between the Serrano ham is that the ham mainly comes from the white pigs. These pigs are fed on animal feed and sometimes acorns. Nowadays, this ham is prepared by modern breeds of pig. Serrano Ham can be made from any region of the world, but has to go through the same process as the Jamon Iberico, but dried less time.
Jamon Iberico derives its name from the pigs rase, the Iberian pig, referring to the Iberian Peninsula, of which Spain is part off. The Iberian Ham is considered to be one of the best qualities of ham in Spain or even the world. It is also referred to as Jamon De Bellota, since the diet of these pigs is only acorns (bellota in Spanish). The rase of the pig has to be the Iberian black pig. Since the pig is only eating acorns, the ham gets a buttery, nutty greasy flavour. Fun fact is that for each pig, the farmer needs 3 hectares, since this area is needed to cultivate enough acorns to feed the pig.
Process of preparing the Spanish ham
For all you ham lovers, we are here to take you to the ham preparing guide. Let’s have a glance at the process of making this delicious classy Spanish Ham.
Step 1) The ham is bathed in salt in a room between 0 to 5º Celcius with a humidity of around 80%. For each kilo the ham needs to be a day in this environment.
Step 2) The ham is washed from its salt and hung up side down in a room with the same climate characteristiscs. So, 0 to 5º Celcius with a humidity of around 80%. This takes around 35 days.
Step 3) The ham is hung in a room with a steady room temperature for from 6 months to 4 years. Then it is ready for co
The most famous regions: Guijuelo and Jabugo
The regions of Guijuelo and Jabugo are in the western part of Spain. Guijuelo is in the province of Salamanca and Jabugo is in the province of Huelva.
Here the Iberian pigs roam and feed freely. This area has the perfect climate for first of all grow enough acorns per hectare for the pigs. Besides that they have the right temperature and climate for the drying process of the hams.
Both regions also have the Iberian rase of the pig, which make an essential part of getting the Protected Denominations of Origin certificate.
Besides that there are two, less known regions, one being in Los Pedroches in the Cordoba province and in the Extremadura province.
Want to visit a ham drying cellar in real life? Then here is your chance. Here are two trips, which will take you to them.