Jamon & Spanish Cured Ham | Iberico Jamon Q & A

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Although Jamon Iberico has been around for centuries, Jamon isn’t as well known in the UK as it is in Spain. There are plenty of questions surrounding Jamon & Spanish cured ham and we would like the opportunity to answer some of the questions we are asked most commonly.

So we are here to answer some of the most common questions asked about Iberico ham and Spanish cured ham.

What is Jamon Spanish Cured Ham?

Very simply put – Jamon is a Spanish Cured Meat which has been produced in the Iberian Peninsular before biblical times. The Jamon is the spanish for Ham, and the Jamon Iberico is produced in the old style of preservation; curation

Is Iberico Ham Cooked?

No, Iberico Ham is cured. This means that the Jamon is dried by being rested in salt and then hung out in the elements. The Jamon is preserved by the growth of bacteria and mold outside the meat which protects the meat inside. This is almost exactly the same as the creation of blue cheese where mold has been used to preserve and enhance the batch.  The Mold and Bacteria also gives the ham its unique flavour.

What is the Best Spanish Ham/ Best Iberico Ham?

The answer to the best Spanish ham is up to personal preference; but jamon Iberico is widely acknowledged as the best Spanish ham. While many people consider the Green Label as the most enjoyable of the two, the black label Jamon Iberico de Bellota (Pata Negra) is regarded as the very best Spanish ham there is. This is due to the breed of the pig, the diet which the pig has been raised on (acorns) and the nuanced, complex flavours of the ham itself. The Leg has a softer more delicate texture which pushes it above the Paleta Iberica de Bellota in many peoples opinions.

How is Iberico Ham Cured & How Long does it take to Cure Ham?

Iberico Ham is cured using the methods which were used to preserve food thousands of years ago. Firstly, the Jamon is rested in salt before being hung in a drying kiln for between 24 – 48months depending on the Jamon size. Here is a great video which explains this process perfectly; the method will also depend on the producer. 

What is the difference between the Classifications/ Colour Coding? 

Jamon can be classified as being Black, Green, Red and While Label Jamon. Between the 4 classifications, there are some minor, and some major differences. The variations stem from the purity of the breed of the Iberian Black Pig, the diet and lifestyle and the length of curation. You can find our more from our recent blog post