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How recognise it
Only those products that have passed the rigorous controls that guarantee exceptional quality and adherence to tradition in the entire production process are distinguished with Iberico seal.
Are Iberian, Iberian ham and ham bait Iberico, which are different from known ham Serrano ham Serrano ham or white comes from a variety of pork white race, and ham are easily distinguished by color pork skin. It is called when cured ham saw weather, cold and dry-
The meat that is streaky, aromatic and delicate. It has a glossy appearance and is pink to purplish red in colour.
It often has white specks as result of the “thyroxine crystals” that denote a slow and lengthy curing process.
Before being deboned the leg is long and lean in shape. External fat is yellowish in colour and has a soft texture. The slender calf is a sign of the purity of the breed. They have dark hooves from which they get the Spanish nick name “PATA NEGRA” (BLACK LEG).
Acorn-feed Iberico Ham and shoulders, are made from the legs and front leg (or shoulder) of Iberico Pigs that have fed on acorns and grass during the “montanera ” period up to reaching the optimum weight for sacrificing. This is the highest quality ham.
THE IBERICO PIG
The iberico Pig is a unique species with a character of its own, which represents an enormously significant contribution to the world’s genetic heritage. It is the last remaining free-grazing pig in Europe. An exceptional animal that is perfectly adapted to its natural habitat.
The Iberico pig is distinguished by its long, thin and sturdy leg a pointy snout and relatively hairless dark skin. A species resulting from millions of years of adaptive effort and centuries of on-going natural selection in order to get the most out of the natural resources available in its natural environment.
During this adaptive process, the Iberico pig develops a genetic ability to store large fatty deposits that become part of its muscle mass and create the characteristic white streaks that give Iberico Ham its incomparable marbleisation and aroma.
The iberian Ham.
The best ham in the world, comes from the Iberian pig, emblem of the Spanish livestock. One of the great treasures of universal pantry. The appearance of Iberian ham, texture, taste, smell and even nutrients depend on three factors: food, race and the environment where they are produced Iberian pigs.
The power factor: acorn or Grain Fed.
What most distinguishes the Iberian ham and what is valued (as 90% of consumers) is for flavor, and flavor, food that has received the Iberian pig is a critical element.
So even though there are four distinct categories according to Food: Acorn, Grain Fed, Grain Fed Recebo and Country, actually the last two accounted for less than 3% of the total production of Iberian ham in 2010.
Therefore, at the point of sale can find mainly two categories:
• Acorn Iberian hams, from pigs that have been fed in their growth stage exclusively on acorns, grass and other plant resources specific to LA DEHESA (the pasture)
• Grain Fed Iberian hams from pigs that were fed to slaughter feed exclusively composed mainly of cereals and legumes.
Do not forget that the type of fat of Iberian ham depends largely pig feed it came from. Thus, the fat you’ve eaten acorns are rich in oleic acid, the same that contains olive oil, and thus helps increase good cholesterol (HDL) and reduce bad (LDL). Moreover, given the intense flavor Iberian ham, and a characteristic aroma and texture. The fat virtually melts in your mouth and as the animal does not know the stress and the outdoor life has been exercised to seek food, their meat is healthy, red and tender, delicious on the palate.
In 2010 were sold in Spain close to ONE MILLION Iberian Bellota ham, which is approximately 20% of the total, while Iberian Grain Fed were sold 3.6 Million pieces, about 77%.
The race factor: the difference between pure Iberian and Iberian.
Pure Iberian hams can only come, says the Quality Standard (approved by Royal Decreto1469/2007, November 2), pigs born players (male and female) entered purebred Iberian in the stud book of the Iberian pig breed.
Meanwhile, those pigs from crossing a female with a male pure Iberian Duroc (not purebred) or a mixture of male Duroc and Iberian Pure, Iberian hams are obtained, with no name.
The place where they occur.
Not the same one ham from Iberian pig bred in freedom in LA DEHESA or the meadow that a ham from an Iberian pig has been bred in captivity, although both are subject to more stringent controls, both at the site occur, as in the cutting and processing, ensuring traceability and hygiene and food safety.
Iberian pigs fattened in LA DEHESA or the pasture is totally respectful of the ecosystem, such as sustainable use magic. Each pig Iberian must have a minimum area of 1 hectare of pasture for proper feeding on acorns, and there must remain at least 60 days before slaughter which, coupled to the longer development of animals (14 months compared with 10 months minimum required from Iberian pigs and Iberian Pure Grain Fed), justifies the unique flavor and the slightly higher price of purebred Iberian hams and Iberian Bellota hams.