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Iberico ham

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Jamón ibérico, Iberico ham, also called pata negra, is a type of cured ham produced mostly in Spain, but also in some Portuguese regions where it is called presunto ibérico. It is at least 75% black Iberian pig, also called pata negra (literally, black leg). According to Spain's Denominación de Origen rules on food products, the jamón ibérico may be made from cross-bred pigs as long as they are at least 75% ibérico.

The hams are labeled according to the pigs' diet, with an acorn diet being most desirable:

  • The finest jamón ibérico is called jamón ibérico de bellota (acorn). This ham is from free-range pigs that roam oak forests (called la dehesa) along the border between Spain and Portugal, and eat only acorns during this last period. It is also known as Jamón Iberico de Montanera. The exercise and the diet has a significant impact on the flavor of the meat; the ham is cured for 36 months.
  • The next grade of jamón ibérico is called jamón ibérico de recebo. This ham is from pigs that are pastured and fed a combination of acorns and grain.
  • The third type of jamón ibérico is called jamón ibérico de cebo, or simply, jamón ibérico. This ham is from pigs that are fed only grain. The ham is cured for 24 months.

Additionally, the word "puro" (pure, referring to the breed) can be added to the previous qualities when both the father and mother of the slaughtered animal are of pure breed and duly registered on the pedigree books held by official breeders.

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