The spanish serrano ham

The Spanish ham better known as Serrano ham, is probably the most  famous  product of Spain.
This ham is the result of salting and then drying the hind legs of the pig. This same product is called shoulder when we talk about the front legs of the pig.
It’s called “Serrano” ham because it is a normally dried in the mountains and in Spanish mountain is called “Sierra” and this word gives Serrano.
Low temperatures in the mountain facilitate drying and maturing Serrano ham.
The pigs used to get the ham pigs are white, not the same than Iberian pigs used for the famous Pata Negra Iberico ham.

When we speak of serrano ham, it refers to raw ham and average quality (Price 5 € -10 € / Kg), while if one speaks of serrano ham or Iberico de Bellota ham, speaking of Iberian ham that its price is much higher (around 25 € -50 € / Kg).

You can find three qualities of serrano hams:
Serrano ham Bodega:  9 to 12 months dried.
Serrano ham Reserva: 12 to 15 months dried.
Serrano ham Gran Reserva: More than 15 months dried.

The most famous serrano hams are those fromTeruel and Trévelez (Granada), of course without taking into account the Iberian ham that has its origin in Huelva, Extremadura, Salamanca and Cordoba.

To obtain a good drying, serrano ham must be used artisanal means (modern means of accelerating the maturing but the result is not the same).
Hams must be in a place where winters are cold and dry summers and mild and short.

The process steps are:

1 Salting:
It surrounds the hams with salt so that they become dehydrated. Normally one day per kg of ham.

Let stand for 2 hams:
Between 50 and 90 days depending on the amount of fat and weight of each ham.This way we ensure that hams expel any water.

3 Wash the ham:
Hams are washed with hot water to remove salt.

4 Drying and Refining:
In dry and well ventilated with a temperature between 15 º and 25 º.
The time will depend on whether it is a serrano ham Bodega, Reserva or Gran Reserva.

Last 5 months of ripening:
The hams will be hung in large rooms called “Bodegas” and will finish its maturation.

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