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el jamón ibérico de bellota, ham

The Healthy and Delicious Iberian Ham

I’ve just returned from a magical trip to La Alberca in Spain, a medieval town where pork is honored with the Fiesta de San Antón and it was the first Historic-Artistic Monument in Spain more than 75 years ago. It is a corner of peace in Salamanca, three hours from Madrid and where only about 1,200 people live. There, among its inhabitants, are my beloved Iberian pigs that we see transformed into the famous Iberian ham.

If ham is called iberico, it’s one thing, but if it’s acorn-fed, it’s the real deal.

You’ll be surprised to know about acorn-fed Iberian ham:

  • This ham is low in calories and is rich in protein, vitamins and minerals, especially Omega 3, 6 and 9.
  • Iberian pork helps reduce “bad” cholesterol and increases “good” cholesterol, lowers blood pressure, promotes circulation and protects the heart.
  • In addition to the leg, you will find tenderloin, sausage, blood sausage and even fresh cuts of Iberian or Iberian acorn. The family of the Fermín brand sells it online.
  • There are many imitations, look for seals of guarantee and provenance.
  • This ham is not put in a refrigerator. It’s ideal temperature is 70 F (21C).
  • In the case of ham, the more years of healing, the better the quality and the experience in the mouth. The label always indicates if it is 3 or 4 years old.
  • Since there are several categories, read either the menu or the package, before paying the bill.

Ultra Violet Power in the Kitchen

hamI’ll tell you the difference…

During the months of November and March, the acorn-fed Iberian pigs move to live in fields called dehesa. That’s where the trees are planted that produce the famous “acorns” and it is the food with that fruit, which makes them so special.

Recently, the council that regulates the quality of Iberian pigs designed a new label system that helps us select them. Always taking into account that we are talking about Iberian pigs and not traditional Serrano ham.

The black label, also known as Pata Negra, is 100% Iberian acorn ham, which was fed on acorns and other natural resources of the field. This will always be the best taste, quality and highest price. The color, aroma and flavor is pronounced, but so soft that it almost melts in your mouth.

The red label is 75% Iberian, fed on acorns and other natural resources.

Those of green and white label, are hams known by the name of bait 100%, 75% or 50% of Iberian race, fed with cereals, leguminous and grass of the field or cereals and legumes, respectively.

Ham is to taste with a good tinted wine, but to enjoy it you have to know it. It’s history, tradition and complexity of production make it a unique product.

Doreen Colondres is a celebrity chef. Author of the book The Kitchen Doesn’t Bite. Follow her on Facebook and Instagram @DoreenColondres and visit www.LaCocinaNoMuerde.com, www.TheKitchenDoesntBite.com

About Doreen Colondres

Doreen Colondres is a tireless world traveler with a fresh and charismatic vibe. Her mission is to convince us that cooking is a heritage and a tradition that is fun, relaxing, easy, romantic, but more importantly, healthy. Her background of family cooking values motivated her to create La Cocina No Muerde and The Kitchen Doesn’t Bite. Doreen’s first book was published by Random Penguin House (2015) achieving the #1 best seller regional and international and she is also the food and wine editor for more than 10 Hispanic publications. She frequently hosts cooking segments on “Despierta América” from Univision and hosted cooking shows on FoxLife/Utilísima, airing in 16 countries for 4 years. Since 2013 Doreen is also a Chef for Novo Nordisk pharmaceutical, a leader in diabetes care. Yearly, she hosted more than 30 live cooking shows around the US, to increase awareness about obesity and diabetes. In 2013 she became the first Hispanic Celebrity Chef for the Bordeaux Wine Council, the most prestigious wine region in the world. She studied in culinary schools in NY, CA, graduated in FL and also has a BBA in Business & Marketing.

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