Updated: Apr 19
Queridos Ladies and Gentelmen,
We are MYSYBARITAS your Spanish Gourmet Food Store in Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur.
Today as promised how to identify Hams!
Among the best culinary products of Extremadura is ham – Jamon. Basically, there are three types of Jamon – Serrano, Iberico and Iberico bellota. Serrano is made from any breed of pig in Spain. Iberico refers to cured hams of the Iberico breed, but not fed on acorns. Iberico bellota are cured hams of the Iberico pig fed on acorns. at MYSYBARITAS we offer you both of the best, Iberico, and Iberico Bellota.
Identification of Hams
Each ham receives a color-coded tag. White is the lowest and meant for any pigs, not fed acorns. Green is for 50% pure Iberian pigs, not fed acorns. Red is for 50-75% Iberian pigs fed some acorns. Black is for 100% Iberian pigs fed acorns the last four months of their lives. They earn the coveted designation Jamon Iberico Bellota which many believe to be one of the finest hams in the world.
Often referred to as jamón de Cebo, Ibérico ham that has a white label is made from pigs who are 50% Iberian breed. However, they are not free-ranged and are kept in cages. These pigs are fed a diet of mostly cereals.
An important part of the rearing of pigs for Ibérico ham is that they need a lot of exercise.
Which is why the other higher grades of Ibérico ham are made from free-ranging pigs. White label ham is inferior to the other grades because the pigs are often reared inside and get no exercise. We do not bring this low quality ham at MYSYBARITAS.
Ibérico ham that with a green label is made from a breed of 50%-75% Ibérico breed. These pigs are fed some cereals, but are fed acorns as well and are free-ranged. You can find our Green Label here: https://www.mysybaritas.com/product-page/50-iberian-acorn-fed-ham-100g
Red label ham differs from black label Ibérico in only one way. The Ibérico pork from which the ham is made is a 75% Ibérico breed instead of 100% purebred. This might be a small difference, but you can feel it in the taste. The other standards of quality remain the same.
The pigs are free-ranged on the Meadow, receive no cereals, and eat solely acorns during their last six months. The curing ham is also aged for at least 3 years.
Ham that presents a black label is the best of the best of Ibérico ham, and only small differences are presented with different brands. It is made from Ibérico pork that comes from 100% purebred Iberian pig which is native to the Iberian Peninsula. These pigs are called pata negra, or black hoof. The pata negra pig is a great way to differentiate pigs that are used to make Jamón Ibérico and Jamón Serrano. These pata negra pigs are essentially free ranged and given vast stretches of land to roam on.
In fact, government regulation mandates on average only one Iberian pig allowed per hectare (2.5 acres) of land. These pigs are not fed grains or cereals and feed solely on falling acorns, during that last six months of their lives. Also known as the fattening stage. Fun fact: an Ibérico pig must eat anywhere between 1,000 and 1,200 pounds of acorns to be truly worthy of the title “de Bellota” . This is our Black Label: https://www.mysybaritas.com/product-page/100-iberian-acorn-fed-shoulder-100g
All about the meat colour Jamón Ibérico Color
Another way to determine the quality of Iberian ham is by analysing the meat colour. The colour generally ranges from bright red to pinkish. Bright red denotes well-cured ham that is highly aged.
Pinkerish tones suggest ham that is less aged.
Pink hints, on the other hand, within the muscle fibers, are another indication of a well-aged and long cured process.
All about Jamón Ibérico Fat
If you look carefully to the fat in Spanish ham, this can also br revealing.
The ideal patterning for fat within the ham is a light marbling. This will imbue every bite with just enough richness. Besides gorgeous marbling, if you look even closer at the fat, you may see that when exposed to room temperature it takes on a silky sheen. This is another sign of top quality, expertly cured ham.
All about Small White Crystals
By examining the fat you may also see tiny white crystals that look like salt showing on the fat. This indicates a long and slow curing process (that is best) and low salinity.
Low salinity is important for the final taste of ham because if it is too salty, this will impact the flavor.
At MYSYBARITAS we make it easy for you to find High-quality Ibérico ham!
I hope you enjoy the article!
Be First Class!