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Jamon Iberico de Bellota (on the bone) Aprox 7Kg
Made from Iberian pigs which have grazed and foraged during their finishing period of several months in the dehesa – a type of pasture found only in Spain characterised by open woodlands of cork and holm oaks. The period of time spent in the dehesa is known as the montanera. It is the pigs' diet of acorns (bellota) from these trees that leads to the distinctive flavour and texture of Jamon Iberico de Bellota. The meat ranges in colour from rosy pink to purplish red. The texture is soft, with fat that is lustrous, fluid and soft to the touch. This fat is high in mono-unsaturates and known to hold positive health benefits because of its role in reducing cholesterol. Jamon Iberico makes up only about 5% of all jamon production in Spain. The curing and maturation period is typically between two and three years, resulting in the most highly prized, and most expensive of Iberian hams.
About Iberian Ham
Our hams (jamones) are produced by carefully selected suppliers located in Guijuelo, in the area of Castilla y Leon. This area is world famous for the production of finest quality hams and dry-cured sausage (embutidos), and carries the prestigious Denomination of Origin Guijelo mark, which is applied to qualifying jamones and embutidos made there.
Iberian ham comes from the ancient breed of Iberian black-footed ("pata negra") pigs, and Serrano ham from white pigs or "blancos".
Storage and Carving
Your ham will arrive in a vacuum sealed pouch, inside a muslin sock. Provided the vacuum seal is not broken, the ham may be stored for up to 6 months in a cool dry place. When you are ready to eat the ham, remove all packaging and wipe the surfaces of the ham with a dry cloth or kitchen paper. Harmless moulds may have grown on the surface. This is a natural continuation of the maturation process and is no cause for concern. The mould may be removed by wiping with a dry cloth.
Whole hams are best stored in a cool, dry and well ventilated environment, ideally 10° – 15°C, either hanging if unopened, or in their stand if already part consumed. They do not require refrigeration and for maximum flavour and enjoyment should be served at room temperature. The ham is fully cured with sea salt, and it should not go “off”. It will, however lose moisture by evaporation once the protective fat is removed. In the stand, the cut side can be covered with any fat previously removed, or wax paper, and a clean dry tea towel. This will slow down the evaporation of moisture, and keep the meat succulent. Alternatively, try rubbing olive oil on the open surface and covering with a cloth or greaseproof paper.
Begin by placing your ham in the stand, and securing it firmly. If your ham is going to be consumed over a short period of time, place it in the stand with the hoof facing upwards. If, however, only part of it will be used straight away, it is best placed with the hoof facing down. This way, the thinner part of the ham with the least fat and therefore the quickest to dry out will be eaten first.
Once your ham is in the correct position, with a sharp knife make a cross-ways cut through the skin a few inches down from the hoof, below the prominent joint. This helps with removing the remaining skin and outer fat layer. None of the outer surface of the ham is recommended for eating. Carefully trim away the fat from the area you wish to carve until you reach the meat. (The fat can be kept aside and placed over the surface of the cut ham once you have finished, which slows down the drying out process.)
There are three main muscle groups yielding the best meat: the front of the thigh, the rear of the thigh, and the rump. There is little of interest below the hock, although this part of the ham, together with all the bones, will make excellent stock once the ham is finished.
Carve small slices, cutting from the hoof end and working toward the rump. Slice as thinly as possible, pressing the blade of the knife almost flat against the open surface, and using a long, slow, sawing action with the full length of the blade. Try to keep a flat open surface. You should aim to cut translucent bite-size pieces, about 4-6cm long. Keep trimming the skin and outer fat layer as you carve down into the meat
Natural moulds will have occurred on the inner face of the ham where the bone is exposed, and these should be removed as the ham is carved, to avoid their bitter taste. The meat close to this inner surface is darker, drier and more dense because this part has very little fat covering. It does, however taste delicious.
Meat nearest the bone can be cut into small chunks, which are excellent when added to soups and stews. Once the meat has been removed from this side, turn the ham and start on the other side.
As you cut your slices down the length of the ham, you will encounter part of the pelvic bone, which runs across the ham on the inner side. Cut around this bone and continue slicing “behind” it, where you will find some of the best meat on the rump.
Once opened, your ham will remain at its most moist and succulent if consumed within 6-8 weeks. However, your ham is good to eat for up to 3 months, depending on the conditions in which it is stored.