By Chef H. Delgado
December 5, 1982
Some of the questions I receive most about the spanish iberian ham are :
Is the Iberian ham a healthy food?
Is it true that ham fat does not give cholesterol?
What is the best type of ham?
Well, today I am going to clarify all these doubts, talking about one of the jewels of Spanish cuisine. There are different variants to classify the Ham.
In Spain, there are two main pig breeds, the white pig and the Iberian pig. Today we will focus on the Iberian pig. And we will place it in one of the 4 denominations of origin:
In order for the ham to be in the market by the name JAMON D.O.P IBERICO , it must come strictly from one of these regions. There is a regulatory council D.O.P(Protected Origin Denomination) (in Spanish: Denominacion de Origen Protegido) which controls that the place of birth, the feeding and conditions of these animals are the correct one. I think that is the only way to get this delicious typical Spanish product that is the IBERIAN HAM.
Pigs live in freedom in large DEHESAS, typical land in the Mediterranean forest full of groves of HOLM OAK, CORK OAK AND GALL OAKS TREES. These trees are what provide the main food of the Iberian pig.
The final part of their diet is called LA MONTANERA, which is when the pig travels kilometers of pasture in search of the last fruit to eat, which would be the oak acorn, and is always in the highest part of the pasture.
We could say that these pigs are true athletes with a diet based on cereals, acorns, nuts, and field herbs.
The pure iberian breed of pigs get their flavours from their feeding who has been completely natural and I mean by this only cereals and acorns and herbs of the Mediterranean forest. That is why it is called 100% ( acorn-fed) JAMON IBERICO DE BELLOTA( Acorn).
The way to differentiate it in the market from other Iberian hams, is through a black label that the producer is obliged to put on.
There are four colours of labels where we can read important informations about the breed and the feed of any Spanish ham in the market.
And the fact that they feed exclusively with different nuts such as acorn, with high concentrations of oleic acid, makes this fat unsaturated, unlike hams from white pigs, which contain a high proportion of saturated fats . This translates into the fact that 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham provides cholesterol considered good by health and nutrition specialists.
For each 100 grams
Calcium. 27,08 mg
Carbohydrates. 0,10 g
Energy. 375 Kcal
Phosphorus. 157,5 mg
Fat. 22,4 g
Iron. 3,35 mg
Magnesium. 157,5 mg
Potassium. 153 mg
Proteins. 43,2 g
Sodium. 1110 mg
Vitamin B12. 15,68 µg
Vitamin E. 11 µg
I hope I have solved your questions about this delicious typical Spanish product. Accompany it with a glass of red wine, some bread and enjoy.
Let me share with you 3 interesting Websites where you can find out more about this beautiful Spanish product.
Love for the product, take care of the technique, elegant execution, and above all, nature and environment respect, are my values as a professional.
It is a pleasure for me to invite you to discover the best dishes and ingredients of Spanish cuisine.
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