How Jamon Iberico is Made
Jamon Iberico is a world class ham from Spain. It has a delicate and slightly salty taste and is sought after as one of the best hams in the world. The ham has to be produced from at least 75% Black Iberian Pigs. These pigs are native to the Southern part of Spain and have dark skin and black hoofs. There is a legend that a pig fell into a salt water filled gully and drowned. The shepherds who found the pig, roasted it and enjoyed the taste of the salty meat so much that they began curing the meat in salt themselves.
How the ham is made:
The piglets are first fattened on a barley and maize diet for a few week and then allowed to roam freely around the countryside and oak groves. The pigs eat herbs, grass, acorns and roots. For the best quality meat the pigs are fed only acorns as slaughter approaches. This is called Jamon Iberico de Bellota. When the pigs have eaten a mixture of acorns and grains the ham is called Jamon Ibercio de Recebo.
After slaughter the hams are salted for 2 weeks, the ham is then washed and either refrigerated for 6-8 weeks or naturally air cured for up to 2 years. The special acorn diet of the pigs gives the meat a flecked appearance with fat. This fat is a monounsaturated fat namely oleic acid, therefore not harmful to blood cholesterol levels.
Jamon Iberico is a specialized meat and not readily available. In fact, only 8% of Spain’s cured ham is Jamon Iberico. It was only as recently as 2007 that it was allowed to be imported and sold in America.
The ham is a wonderful addition to gourmet scrambled eggs, as a simple tapas with cheese or a great addition to melon or figs. It is traditionally eaten at Christmas time in Spain and families may even cure their own ham for the occasion.
Black Star Gourmet is one of the few places in America where you can buy Jamon Iberico. We even stock Jamon Iberico de bellota, so why not treat yourself to this Ancient Spanish delicacy!