THE MEDITERRANEAN DIET: Foods, Recipes & Benefits
A way of eating based on traditional foods
One of the hallmarks of Spanish culture worldwide is ham. But there are many types of ham that differ greatly in taste and quality.
The classification of the ham in Spain is given by the breed of the animal and the feeding. Regarding the breed, the Iberian ham comes from the "Iberian pig", the native breed of the Iberian peninsula (Spain and Portugal). When we speak simply of "ham", we are talking about "white pigs" like Duroc, Landrace and Large White, varieties generally more consumed, mainly for its more economic price but with a lower quality.
100% Iberian ham (100% Jamón Ibérico) means it comes from a pig son of 100% Iberian parents registered. When the animal comes from crosses of the Iberian breed with white pigs, the percentage of Iberian breed must be indicated in the labeling.
In addition to the animal genetics, Iberian hams are classified by its feeding, so inside the category of Iberian pig, we have:
In summary, Iberian hams acorn-fed are the most appreciated and the popular term "Pata Negra" can only appear in the labeling of the highest quality product, that is: "100% Iberian ham acorn-fed" (100% Jamón Ibérico de Bellota)
The essential organoleptic characteristics of a ham are the color, the smell, the flavor and the texture. The color of the Iberian ham is usually an intense red tonality, whereas other hams are more rosaceous color. The feeding with acorns not only determines the final aroma of the ham (the essential oils in the acorns incorporate its aromas to the animal's flesh) but also contributes to the fact that in the tasting it is appreciated a greater juiciness with a unique flavor in the world.
Benefits and properties of 100% acorn-fed Iberian Ham:
All these factors place the acorn-fed Iberian ham in a privileged position in terms of nutrition. So, for example, the nutritional properties of the Iberian ham make it especially recommended for the muscular development,
In conclusion, we can say Iberian ham is an essential product of the Spanish gastronomy for its appreciated flavor, But it is more than a gastronomic product, it is a delicatessen with innumerable virtues and besides being a pleasure for the palate it can act beneficially on our health if it is consumed in moderation within a balanced diet.