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Curiosities of acorn-fed Iberian ham that will astound you

José
01 march, 2018
4 years ago. Actualizado 05 May 2021, 14:35
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Curiosities of acorn-fed Iberian ham that will astound you
  1. The small white specks that appear in acorn-fed Iberian ham are a sign of good quality. These crystals are basically formed by an amino acid called tyrosine, and they appear during the maturing process of the proteins, and is considered an indicator that there has been a prolonged curing process.
  2. The acorn-fed Iberian pig has the unique capacity for the infiltration of fat which is not present in any other breed or in pigs fed on other foodstuffs. This explains why acorn-fed Iberian ham has marblelike veins of infiltrated fat which gives the ham extraordinary qualities, in terms of both aroma and flavour, as well as being known for its healthy properties.
  3. The Iberian pig is a native breed and exclusive to the Iberian Peninsula. The Iberian pig as we know it today is the result of a cross between the native wild boar and the pigs that arrived in Spain aboard Phoenician boats.
  4. It was the Roman empire that made cured ham popular by using salt as a preservation method, however, there is evidence of its consumption by pre-Roman peoples such as the Iberians, the Celts, and historic inhabitants of the peninsula. A fossilised cured ham dating back 2000 years was found in the Roman ruins of Tarraco (Tarragona).
  5. ‘Pata negra’ is not the same as Iberian ham. An Iberian ham does not necessarily have to be black. The expression ‘pata negra’ is a reference to the colour of the hoof and although the majority of Iberian hams tend to have a black hoof, not all pigs have a black hoof and neither is the black hoof exclusive to this breed.
  6. The minimum curing period for acorn-fed Iberian hams of the highest quality is 30 months. In the case of the acorn-fed front leg hams (‘paleta’), the minimum curing time is 20 months. Although it should be noted that the optimum time for curing in the cellar also depends on the weight. Joselito Vintage Hams can exceed a curing time of 48 months.
  7. It is precisely the visible fat, popularly known as ‘tocino’, that is responsible for many of the organoleptic qualities of the ham. Iberian ham is unimaginable without this ‘tocino’, the main author of the flavour and unmistakable smell of the best ham. This fat grants palatability to the piece, being the leading nutrient in providing flavour to food.
  8. If mould appears on your ham, don’t worry. Simply remove it with a knife and you can keep on enjoying it. To prevent mould from appearing it is important that you use the skin and fat that you have removed from the ham itself to recover the cutting area. Ham is typically consumed a little at a time, so to get the most out of the piece, read the Ham conservation and maintenance manual. .
  9. The ‘paleta’ (the front leg of the pig) is considered to be more flavourful than the ‘jamón’ (rear leg). Whereas the ‘jamón’ has a smoother texture and more sophisticated flavour.
  10. It is easier to cut a ‘jamón’ than a ‘paleta’ and it has the advantage that a higher percentage is used, 50% of the original weight of the ‘jamón’ compared to 40% of the ‘paleta’. It is worth remembering that the bone (30% of the weight of the ‘jamón’ and 40% of the weight of the ‘paleta’) can be used to make fantastic broths and stews.
  11. You should take out the vacuum packed packets of ham out of the fridge at least 60 minutes before you intend to enjoy them. In order to appreciate the flavour and aroma of the ham is necessary to consume it at room temperature, between 20 and 25°C. It is also advisable that around 15 minutes before consumption, you should open the packet and place the slices on a plate so they may breathe.
  12. The number of acorn-fed Iberian hams is limited. There are approximately 1.8 million hectares of usable pasture land, the natural habitat of the Iberian pig. The number of pigs that can be bred depends on the size of the pasture land, the climatological conditions and acorn production. According to the estimates, a year with a bumper crop of acorns may be sufficient to breed 350,000 pigs, whereas in a bad year, this would only the enough for 150,000.
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José
6th generation of Joselito.
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