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History of Spanish Ham

Spain is a country with cultural diversity. Spain is known worldwide for its arts and variation in culture. You can find a large variation of culture in Spain depending upon the location, climate and many other factors.

Wherever you go in Spain, you will find something exciting and interesting. Same is true for Spanish cuisine. Spanish cuisine gives us a taste of Spanish tradition and culture.

A vast area of Spain is surrounded by sea. Its influence is reflected in the Spanish cuisine where you can find a large variety of sea food. Diversity can be found in Spanish cuisine which is the result of a number of cultures that influenced Spain like Jewish and Moors.

Spanish soups like chilled tomato soup called gazpacho, garlic soup also known as sopa de ajo and many others are a part of Spanish delight. There are some basic ingredients which are used to prepare Spanish foods like tomatoes, potatoes, beans, chick peas, pepper etc. One of the staples of Spanish food is Spanish Jamon.

Jamon or Spanish ham is a dry cured food which is cured with sea salt. It is rich in color, flavor and exceptional aroma. It is one of the healthiest products in Spain. Protected Designation of Origin laws regulates the standard production of Spanish hams.

Depending on climate, history and many other things, you will find that ever place in Spain has its own culture. Spanish people take great pride of their ham and its numerous varieties are available all over in Spain. Spain is a large producer of ham and every year it process almost 40 million hams. The most popular types of ham which Spanish people are fond of are jamon iberico and jamon Serrano.

Jamon Serrano is a kind of ham which is cured in the country air. The country air transforms the ham into a flavorful ham filing it with deep flavor and aroma. Being cured for long hours, reduces the caloric content of jamons. Jamon Serrano is very popular is Spain and is a part of people’s daily life. Every bar, restaurant and cafe has their own hams.

You can find long rows of hams hanging from ceiling of the major food stores. Usually it is served in paper thin slices and flavored with cheese and olives. You can also flavor it with your favorite Spanish recipes. Jamon iberica is expensive when compared to other hams in Spain. Iberico pig’s meat which are found only in Spain and is used in making jamon iberico.

They come in three different qualities which depends on the kind of food pigs were served. The best is Jamon Iberico de Bellota made from Iberian pigs fed on acorns, next is Jamon Iberico de Recebo made from pig fed on compounds and acorns and the last is Jamon Iberico de Campo fed made from compound fed Iberian pigs with Pata Negra.

You can see pig fat melting in your plate when paper thin slices of these jamons are served in plates which are warmed up to 75 degrees. Jamon Iberica is not as popular as jamon Serrano and it represent only 5% of the total jamon production in Spain. Spanish jamons are created using traditional techniques and its secret lies with the country people.

The hams are placed in sea salt for a brief period of time and than they are strung up to experience the change of temperature with change in seasons.

Usually whole hams are used for parties and large gathering while sliced hams are preferred as quick serve. However using Spanish hams in your home will add Spanish flavor to your food.


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