Keys to Identify a Good Iberian Ham

Christmas is synonymous with meals, snacks, dinners, commitments … But, above all, there is one predominant food: ham. Sales skyrocket and there are many who save to give us a whim and buy a good piece. Now it only remains that, with so many options that we are going to find, do not give it to us with cheese and know how to differentiate a good Iberian ham from a worse one. So for this Christmas to enjoy a quality ham, we review some keys to distinguish it:

1. What will facilitate us the task will be to see the label that since 2014 is mandatory on all Iberian hams. It contains the name (ham or shoulder), the type of animal feed and the breed. So that there is no doubt, we will explain each of the labels:

Black: ham of the highest quality, whose pigs are 100% Iberian, fed with acorn in the pasture.
Red: it is about crossed pigs, Iberian in 75% or 50%, with an acorn feeding in the pasture.
Green: Iberian bacon ham (can be 100%, 75% or 50 of Iberian breed) that has been fed with feed on extensive or intensive outdoor farms.
White: Iberian bacon ham (can be 100%, 75% or 50 of Iberian breed) that has been fed with industrial feed in a farm with limited movement.

2. To take into account is also the color of the hoof. If it is black, better (black leg) but you must not trust because certain breeds are genetically modified and have that color. The best thing to do is to see that the hoof is worn (since it is a sign that they have grazed in freedom) and the diameter of the ankle: the finer, the greater the purity of the breed and the quality. The size here does matter and is that an excessively fat ham is not good (although they tell us that it is because it was very well fed). The Iberian pigs have grazed in freedom and therefore it is stylized and elongated cane.

3. The origin is of great importance. The ham is very related to the ecosystem, and in the dehesa of Salamanca (DO Guijuelo), Extremadura (DO Dehesa de Extremadura), Huelva (DO Jabugo) and Córdoba (DO Los Pedroches) we find the Iberian pigs with a higher quality feed . It also includes the north of Seville

4. The texture of the grease will also be a very important factor when choosing a piece. If the surface is pressed with the thumb, without excessive pressure, we slide it and see that it sinks easily is that the ham is acorn. This is because the fat coming from recebo and feed are harder. With the ham already cut we will also notice this difference. Acorn ham fat almost melts with the body temperature of the palm of the hand. On the contrary, the one that is not pure Iberian will not do it.

5. It is also important where we find the fat. Those who are fed with acorns have it between the muscles and, those who are fed with the feed, have it distributed inside the muscle. This means that the hams of good quality will have a light grain while the other will be much larger. The veins we can see contains oleic acid, very good for the heart.

6. Surely many of you have already realized that the color factor is very important Who has not seen hams in packages of almost transparent brands? This, like the logical one, is not normal. The intense color of the ham corresponds to a longer healing time.

7. Do not trust prices that are too low. The Iberian ham of acorn is of great quality therefore it flees from excessively low prices.

How do we preserve Iberic Ham?

The first thing will be to not buy an exaggeratedly large ham to finish it soon (although if it is good it will surely disappear soon). The duration of the ham will vary according to the quality of it and the conditions to which they are exposed. Some people believe that the best way to preserve it is to cover it with a cotton cloth or its grease. If it is going to be consumed quickly there is no problem, but in the long run the grease will cause the piece to get bad before, and the cloth will absorb the fat and can transmit certain odors to the ham. Therefore, many experts simply advise that you cover yourself with plastic wrap.

Another option is to ask for a professional cut and save it in packages. Of course, if you are going to cut much better than a cut by hand and not machine. The difference is evident.

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