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San David Iberian Ham

San David Iberian Ham is one of the world’s finest delicacies and one of the most rooted traditions in Spain. Its exceptional quality and distinctive flavour creates an aura of tradition that expands throughout centuries of fine eating and is one of Spain’s most treasured cultures.
San David Iberian Ham
is produced from pigs that are only found in the Iberian Peninsula, and therefore exclusive to Spain. These hams are from pigs that are fed and acorn and are cured for a minimum of 24 months.
San David Bellota Iberian Ham
(jamón ibérico de Bellota) is from free-range pigs that roam oak forests (dehesas) in the southern parts of Spain and eat only acorns (bellota).  These pigs are distinguished by their black hooves (Pata Negra) and are usually kept on the final displayed product (leg) as proof of its authenticity.
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Since these hams store more fat, they can be cured much longer (36 months+) than the San Gabriel Serrano Ham™, resulting in a more intense and complex flavour with a touch of sweetness and nuttiness. Its intense red colour is streaked with white flecks known as marbling. Because of the pigs diet of acorns much of the fat is oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that has been shown to lower LDL cholesterol and raise HDL cholesterol. As people’s knowledge and love of Spanish cuisine grow, delicacies like The San David Iberian Ham are becoming more of an international treasure.

Key Factors that will influence San David Iberian Ham Products

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San David Iberian Ham Products

Bone-in Product

Once the San David Iberian Ham have been cured between 24-48 months, they are vacuum-packed, labelled, weighted and dispatched.

Boneless Products

San David Iberian Ham Centros and Blocks Boneless products come from the Bone-in products and are deboned manually with machines in special deboning rooms. A belt carries the boneless products to the polish area where they will be finished (polished manually). If we want the product to be a Block, the boneless hams will go to the blocking room. In this room, the molds are introduced in stainless steel molds to give the form of a block (or brick). Finally, both the Centros and the Blocks will be sent to the packaging-labelling room where they are packed and labelled, placed in carton boxes, and ready to be dispatched and eaten!.

Pre-sliced product

San David Iberian Ham Pre-sliced 100 gr. comes from the Boneless product and they are freeze from a few hours up to 2-3 days in order for the product to be hardened and to allow a correct slicing. To obtain a suitable slicing, the product has to be colder down technologically to 16.7?F. In the slicing room, every block is read by a scanner that transmits the information to the slicing machine that cuts the product. The group of 100 gr. slices continue towards the packaging machine where the slicing workmen will place every group of slices in the mold. The packing machine shapes every package and residual oxygen is measured manually, continuing to the metal detector. Finally, the packages are weighed, labelled, qualify, placed in carton boxes, and ready to be dispatched and eaten!.

THE BREED

There are several breeds of iberian pigs with different morphological characteristics, which allow different feeding systems, and during the slaughtering, different kinds of hams will be produced. IBERIAN PIGS iberian_pig

  • From crossbreeds between male and female iberian Duroc in a 50-75%.
  • They are slaughtered with an approximate weight of 150 kilos.

PURE IBERIAN PIGS pure_iberian_pig

  •  From sows and boars purebred registered in Studbook. Breeds exclusively in the Iberian peninsula.
  • They are slaughtered with an approximate weight of 150 kilos.

Slaughtering Weight 150-170 Kilos
Genetics Male and female iberian Duroc Crossbreed 50-75%
Layer Reddish brown
Hoof Brown or black

THE FEEDING

The feeding and managing of the pig will have a great impact on the quality of the ham. It is logical that a pig fed with no fat will result in a ham with less fat than the ones that have accumulated fat.

FEED ON FIELDS

This type of feeding is used if pastures or mountains of the estate are not enough to feed all the cattle. Also used in yearlings and in summer, when grasses are eroded and animals are lacking in food. Although this system does not achieve the features of a feeding with Acorn, morphological improvements are achieved due to the exercise that animals make around the estate.

ACORN-BELLOTA

It is the ideal feeding for the Iberian pigs. The main benefit is that Acorn is a fruit with fat and rich in carbohydrates, which gives the meat its special aromatic and gustatory qualities. A famous Spanish scientist said that the Iberian pig is an olive tree with legs because its fat is rich in monounsaturated fatty acids, oleic acid and constitutes a clear heart-healthy benefit. The physical work that the pig makes in search of their food delays the fattening of the animal and manages for the fat to infiltrate even further, thus obtaining a more juicy and exceptional flavourful meat.

THE CURING PROCESS

Salting and washing

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The first process after slaughtering the pig is to introduce the ham in salt. Then they are washed to remove the surfaced salt.

Settlement

settlement

Subsequently the ham is left in drying chambers which favours dehydration while salt is distributed by the entire piece.

Drying and maturation

maturation

The ham continues dehydrating and the sweat starts so the fat spreads between the muscle fibers.

Aging

aging

The ham goes to chambers (bodega) where remains between 6 and 36 months. Biochemical processes continue where the microbial flora is involved.

SALTING AND WASHING-SERRANO HAM

Once the pigs have been slaughtered, the hams are covered with sea salt for a week or ten days, depending on the weight. The room temperature can range between 1° to 5° C. The relative humidity is usually about 80 or 90%. After this time, the hams are washed with warm water to remove the salt from the surface.

SETTLEMENT-SERRANO HAM

The hams, once washed, are left in the chambers for 30 to 60 days. The temperature should be between 3 ° and 6 ° C and relative humidity of 80-90%. During this time the salt distributes uniformly throughout the piece in order to promote its dehydration and conservation. The minimum duration of the settle is from 40 to 60 days and depends on the fat content of each piece as saline penetration by dissemination is highly conditioned by the presence of fat. After this time the hams increase its consistency significantly.

DRYING AND MATURATION-SERRANO HAM

The hams are hung in chambers (bodegas) for a period of time that varies depending on the type of ham, the fat, the fed, and the quality that wants to be achieved. In white hams, they tend to use chambers that accelerate the curing process and remain in them between six and twelve months. The temperature can vary between 10° to 20° C, and the relative humidity is between 60 and 80%. The ham losses 35% of its weight in this process. During this time the biochemical processes initiated during the curing continue, which will give the ham its peculiar aroma and final taste.

AGING-SERRANO HAM

At this stage the hams are moved to a natural drying area where the humidity and temperature are controlled mainly by means of ventilation. The temperature ranges between 15° to 30° C during 6 to 9 months. During this time the ham continues dehydrating and also the sweat takes place (dissemination of fat between the muscle fibers that will retain the aroma once impregnated). The final taste and aromas start to generate at this stage, thanks to a series of alterations in proteins and fat of the ham.[sp