Serrano ham, or white ham, is made using meat from white pigs and is easily distinguished from other types of ham. The name “Serrano” refers to the fact that the ham is cured in the sierra, or mountains, where the climate is cold and dry.
In order for a ham to be classified as an Iberian (Ibérico) ham, the pigs used to produce it must be at least 50% Iberian (i.e. a breed originating from the Iberian Peninsula). The characteristics of Iberian hams are directly linked to the purity of the breed.
Hams on the bone should be hung or kept on a jamonero (a specially-designed ham stand) in a dry, well-ventilated place and at a constant temperature. They should be kept away from extreme cold or heat.
Four basic aspects need to be taken into account when assessing the quality of a Serrano ham: its appearance, texture, aroma and flavour.
"First impressions are the ones that last". This saying is true of many things, and is perfectly applicable to ham. In other words, a high quality ham will provide more pleasant sensory sensations than a lower quality one.
Before cutting a ham, you need to ensure that it is at the right temperature, which should be around 23ºC, and that you are using the right tools.
Eating moderate quantities of Iberian ham has many health benefits for people of all ages, and is known to reduce levels of harmful cholesterol as it contains large amounts of oleic acid. In fact, extra virgin olive oil is the only foodstuff with higher levels of this substance.
Serrano ham is an essential part of the Mediterranean diet. This sort of ham is recommended for any type of diet, as it contains large amounts of minerals such as zinc and iron, as well as phosphorus, potassium, sodium, calcium, proteins and vitamins.
Cold meats and sausages, along with red meat, are one of the most characteristic parts of the Mediterranean diet. They contain large amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B6 and B12, as well as zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, and calcium.
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