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How to recognize a Pata Negra ham?

In this article we will give you some information to help you recognise a Pata Negra ham from other Iberian hams.

How does it look, shape and taste to be a 100% acorn-fed Iberian ham? Morphology is an important aspect in differentiating them. 100% Iberian hams, such as those from Sánchez Romero Carvajal, are thin, elongated and have a very fine hock. Their hooves are worn out because, living on pasture, they are animals that have been raised in the wild for almost two years of their lives, travelling an average of 14 km a day. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

They are also characterised by their unctuous fat, which turns into oil to the touch and makes the product melt in the mouth. A slice of 100% Iberian ham should have very fine, uniform and almost imperceptible marbling in certain areas, such as the shank.

The meat has a very intense and brilliant red colour because, although we cannot see the infiltration, we can see the shine of the oil released during the cutting. The result in the mouth is the best part of the process, a ham with a unique and incomparable taste, an indescribable aroma that moves the senses and an exquisite texture that melts when tasted.

The black label or flange, a must for consumer confidence The label or flange of each ham must be official and come from the bodies that can award it once all the necessary controls have been carried out. These bodies are, on the one hand, ASICI (Interprofessional Association of Iberian Pigs) and, on the other, the DO (Denomination of Origin).

In addition to the logo of the official bodies, it is important to take into account the colour of the label, identified by the Iberian pig quality standard in four colours: white, green, red and black. These differ according to the breed of animal, its diet and treatment, which are decisive for the final quality of the product, although they are not the only ones responsible, as the traditional and artisanal production and the local climate of Jabugo are very important for the production of an authentic 100% acorn-fed ham. Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

How to recognize a Pata Negra ham?

Black label, 100% Iberian ham:

Top quality category. Iberian pigs reared in freedom during the montanera and with a 100% natural diet based on acorns or food found in the secular Dehesas of the peninsular southwest, such as wild fruit, roots, mushrooms, aromatic plants or small invertebrates. Each animal, which is reared for 14 months, has a minimum area of 0.85 hectares per animal.

Red label, Iberian Bellota Ham :

The animals come from pigs crossed up to 50% with another non-Iberian breed. In this case, they also live free range in the Montanera with a minimum area of 0.85 hectares per animal and are fed acorns during this period.

Green label Cebo de Campo Iberian Ham :

The animals come from Iberian crossbred pigs and have been raised for less than 12 months. They are reared in an intensive free-range or extensive regime with a minimum of 100m2 per animal and are fed on grass and animal feed.

Etiquette blanche Jambon de Cebo Ibérique :

Lower quality category. The main difference from the green flange is that they are fed on fodder and raised in intensive feedlots with a surface area of 2 m2 per animal.

How to recognize a Pata Negra ham?

If we consider only the breed, Iberian hams are produced from 100% Iberian pigs or from pigs crossed with up to 50% of another non-Iberian breed. Current regulations require that the percentage of the breed of ham be clearly indicated on the label, whether it is 50, 75 or 100% Iberian. With regard to feeding, there is a clear difference between animals fed with acorns during the montanera and animals fed with animal feed. What is the difference between “Pata Negra” hams? Translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator (free version)

A 100% Iberian pig is distinguished by its small, flat, tile-shaped ears, its dark, even skin over its entire body, its flat, elongated back, and its agile, narrow legs adapted to the natural environment in which it lives. Not forgetting its most obvious characteristic: the worn black hoof known as Pata Negra.

Another distinctive feature is the pig’s diet, which must have been based on acorns during the montanera. When the ripe acorns fall onto the grasses, the animals consume large quantities of acorns and grasses, which they accumulate as fatty acids, mainly unsaturated.

This unique ability of the 100% Iberian pig to finely infiltrate the vegetable fat into its muscles, even at the cellular level, means that acorn-fed 100% Iberian hams are considered to be of the highest quality because they have a perfect balance between flavour and texture.

Another distinctive feature is the pig’s diet, which must have been based on acorns during the montanera. When the ripe acorns fall onto the grasses, the animals consume large quantities of acorns and grasses, which they accumulate as fatty acids, mainly unsaturated.

Free-range Iberian pig

This unique ability of the 100% Iberian pig to finely infiltrate the vegetable fat into its muscles, even at the cellular level, means that acorn-fed 100% Iberian hams are considered to be of the highest quality because they have a perfect balance between flavour and texture.

The 100% Iberian pig is a thousand-year-old breed halfway between the wild boar and the domestic pig, animals that by nature are raised in the wild in the vast expanses of the peninsular Dehesa. The 100% Iberian pig is a natural, slow-growing breed, adapted to life in the wild. Cinco Jotas guarantees that all pigs are 100% Iberian.

And they also remember that 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham is a great health ally thanks to its high content of oleic acid, antioxidants and protein. 100g of one of their hams provides only 328 kcal.

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