What is Serrano Ham?

Jam is a staple of Spanish cuisine and culture. While local culinary traditions vary across Spain, from coast to coast, from markets in Barcelona to taverns in Galicia, and everywhere in between, pickled serranos and ibex Rico ham is highly regarded.

In Spain, there are two main traditions of artisanal cured ham, both of which are a source of satisfaction and pride for Spaniards:

Jamn Serrano is a traditional cured country ham made from pork. Since ancient times, fresh ham has been packaged in sea salt, hung from the rafters, and cured in the mountains of Spain. Jam is ready in a year to eighteen months. These hams are sliced ​​and eaten with a glass of Spanish wine or used in a variety of recipes such as croquetas de jamn or sautéed vegetables or stews.

Jamn Serrano now accounts for nearly 90% of the annual production of Spanish ham. These hams are mainly made by replicating the effects of old procedures in modern manufacturing facilities, using white pigs raised mainly on grains. Duroc, Pietrain, Landrace and other giant white pigs are used to make hams that are very popular in Europe. On the other hand, compared to hams from other countries, Jamn Serrano is firmer, with a consistent texture, some marbling, a warm red color and a rich ham flavor.

Jamn Ibrico de Bellota is the acorn-fed kind (bellota literally means acorn).

These lucky Ibrico pigs are free to explore the meadows of the “dehesa”, a traditional ranch in western Spain. They devoured acorns (bellotas) from holm oak and cork trees in the fall, gaining a kilo a day. Monounsaturated fats make up a large portion of the fats produced. Because their fats are almost as healthy as extra virgin olive oil, they are often referred to as “walking olive trees.”

Jamn Ibrico de Bellota is considered the best ham in the world.

Whole hams can sell for as much as $2,000 a pound.

Ibrico de Bellota hams are cured for 24 to 48 months and lose about half their weight as the fat melts.

The ham has a very complex flavor, a distinctive marbling, a rich red hue, and a strong ham flavor soaked in monounsaturated fats after finishing curing.

The non-acorn diet Cerdo Ibrico is a pig endemic to southwestern Spain and southeastern Portugal used to make Ibrico ham. These pigs are noticeably fatter and more meaty than conventional pigs. They are fed a grain diet and may be allowed limited free-range time in which herbs enhance their diet, unlike their Bellota-destined relatives.

Is Serrano ham synonymous with prosciutto

Prosciutto and Serrano ham are both made from similar breeds of white pigs, but they have different flavors and textures. Prosciutto is sweeter, more delicate, and has a drier texture than Spanish ham. As a result, this wine has a more intense deep red color and more intense flavors.

This is due to the longer curing time of Jamon Serrano, up to 18 months, and other differences in the overall preparation of the ham. The word “jamon Serrano” comes from the Spanish “sierra” which means “mountain”. The term comes from “secaderos” or drying sheds, where hams stay dry and cool after a long curing process. The nickname “mountain ham” comes from the fact that these secaderos are usually located at higher land elevations.

All dry-cured hams produced in Spain are known in culinary circles as Jamon Serrano. Along with paella and gazpacho, it is one of the most internationally recognized Spanish dishes and meals. Most Spanish ham comes from either local breeds (that is, pigs that are purposefully domesticated and raised) or commercial breeds such as Duroc. Jamon Serrano, also known as jamon reserva, jamon curado, jamon extra or any other generic term for jamon, is made from pigs fed a complex diet. It has Traditional Specialty Guarantee status, which ensures that a specific food product objectively exhibits specific characteristics that differ from similar products. And its raw materials, ingredients or manufacturing methods have been stable for at least three decades.

What Makes Serrano Ham Different

Among Spaniards, Jamn Serrano is a huge pride. In the highlands of Spain, artisans pack fresh hams with sea salt and hang them from rafters from ancient times for treatment. After a year to 18 months, the ham is ready to be placed on a special stand so anyone can walk by, carve a few paper-thin pieces, and enjoy an impromptu snack, perhaps with Manchego cheese.

On the other hand, smoky and savory Virginia country ham must be soaked and cooked. It’s also different from prosciutto, which is cured with a fatty coating for months. Spanish Jamn Serrano has a special flavor profile and much less salt and fat than country ham and prosciutto.

In Spain, jamn Serrano is more than just a delicacy. It’s part of every family’s daily life. Ham is available in every snack bar and neighborhood cafe. During the Christmas period, hundreds of these are hung in the rafters of large grocery stores for Christmas customers.

What is the point of appealing? Jamn Serrano is a delicious natural ham cured in the open air in the countryside. The ham has been transformed through an extended curing process that imparts a rich flavor and aroma. It can be sliced ​​thin and served with cheese and olives, or used to flavor your favorite Spanish dishes. No need to cook.

Jamn’s secret lies in its solidification, which replicates the influence of traditional programs. This tradition lives on in rural communities, where family and friends gather in early winter to slaughter livestock in preparation for the winter. The ham is cured in sea salt for a short time (about a day per kilo) and then skewered. They were allowed to feel the temperature fluctuations that occurred with the seasons. When a seasoned ham master puts a long piece of beef bone into the jam and smells it, like a wine connoisseur sniffs a cork, it’s time to eat them.

Until recently, there was no Serrano ham in the US, and we’re happy to offer the best available. Whole hams are great for parties and family gatherings, while a pack of slices is practical and ready to eat. Jamn Serrano will bring a Spanish flavor to your home, no matter how you serve it.

Is serrano ham similar to prosciutto

Let’s start by examining their similarities. In terms of appearance, the slices appear to be comparable. They are dark pink, marbled throughout, and often thinly cut.

Apart from appearance, they are all white pigs of the same breed.

Is serrano ham edible

Serrano is similar in appearance to Italian Prosciutto, always sliced ​​like Prosciutto, but it has less fat, less water and stronger flavor than Prosciutto. So serrano ham is more expensive than prosciutto.

It is made from pigs called white pigs that are given commercial feed. If the pigs were fed acorns instead of grains, they would be used to produce black hogs, which are more expensive than Serranos.

The pig’s legs are cut, washed and wrapped in salt for up to two weeks. Because the ham has to be sweet in the end, the salt is rinsed out. Adding more salt ensures a higher success rate. One in five hams dried at home will go bad, but the ham will not be as sweet.

After that, hang the legs to mature for a few months to two years or more. The average aging time is 9 months. During the drying process, close attention must be paid to the ham. Gradually, the temperature at which they age increases. During aging, beef loses about 1/3 of its weight in moisture.

All aging used to be done in the farmhouse loft. As they age, residents will have a room without glass with slatted windows to let in cold air in winter. While farmers still make their own ham, commercial aging is now done in facilities with dedicated refrigerated space.

Serrano ham is produced in four regions of Spain: Extremadura, Salamanca, Huelva and parts of Teruel.

What can I use for serrano ham

This ham comes from the Ardennes forests in Belgium and is salted and air-dried. It takes about 5 months to marinate with spices like thyme, coriander and juniper berries before enjoying. When thinly sliced, it does not require cooking. If you slice it thick, you can pan fry it. A piece of buttered bread with a slice of Ardennes ham is such a treat.

You can also substitute Black Forest ham, York ham, Capocollo (known in the US) or capicola (known in Canada) for Serrano ham.

What’s the best way to eat Serrano ham

Mechanical friction between the meat and the cutting tool is the main reason. When the ham is cut by the machine, it touches a hot disc. The resulting heat can alter flavor and cause nutrient loss.

On the other hand, hand-cutting the ham with a decent knife allows the cutter to get the best out of the ham while retaining all of its nutrients (remember, Spanish ham is high in vitamins E and B).

The most typical technique for serving Serrano ham is on a plate, with slices arranged in a pleasing and harmonious way, covering the entire surface.

It’s always ideal to simply cut out what you’re going to eat right now. This ensures that the Spanish ham is as juicy as possible, while still retaining the organoleptic qualities. Remember, the best way to keep slices fresh is to wait until you need them to chop them!

Serrano ham is often served traditionally with bread, wine or beer. In some places, it is customary to sprinkle tomato on bread or pair Spanish ham with drinks such as fine wine, manzanilla or cava.

What’s more, because Serrano ham has such a high umami content (ranking fifth taste), it’s a wonderful element in a variety of cuisines. Many of these are already classics, like melon or pineapple ham, or ham croquettes, and they’re easy to make.

Why Ban Serrano Ham

The long-standing ban on the import of Spanish pork products can be traced to an outbreak of African swine fever in Spain, which can infect native pigs.

Why is Serrano ham so expensive

Iberian pigs, like Wagyu, have marbling in the meat, a word for the animal’s fat intertwined with muscle, not a layer on the outside of the meat block (via Lone Mountain Wagyu).

The first reason for the high price of ham is that it is only produced in a few places in Spain and in some parts of Portugal. It is protected by the EU system of protected designation of origin, which also protects champagne and other well-known European products.

The second reason for the high price is that it is very expensive to feed 15-month-old pigs. Most of the pigs used to make Iberian ham are free-range, which requires a lot of land. The law prohibits raising more than two pigs per hectare of farmland. According to connoisseurs, true Iberian ham must come from animals that feed the acorns. For farmers, this diet is more expensive than cheaper feed alternatives for feeding pigs.

Serrano ham can be eaten raw.

What is used to make the ham is cured pork, not raw meat. Because it has gone through a curing process that is safe to eat, you can eat it raw without cooking.

An aged farm ham, like similar European meats, is perfect for slicing and eating raw.

Serrano ham is easy to preserve. When you buy a ham, it’s waxed and covered over the rind.

You can keep it in a cold room or refrigerator for a year or more (but not in the refrigerator). However, you should consume ham within three months of slicing.

What is the most expensive ham in the world

The most famous and expensive ham in the world is called jamon Iberico de bellota, or acorn-fed Iberico ham, and it comes from Spain. A limb that weighs 13 to 17 pounds can cost as much as $4,500. In the US, the most expensive jamon iberico de bellota is $1,400.

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