I find kind of egocentric to start writing this post in “first person”, but since I am the one writing…I hope you don’t mind! :)
I moved from Spain to the US in 2010, so it’s been 11 years already trying to promote and sell the jewel of the Spanish gastronomy: Iberico ham (jamon, in Spanish).
As you can image, along these years I have been asked about different aspects of the product so let me gather some of the Most Frequent Questions.
1.- How long does my jamon it last?
If your ham is properly cured (and the jamon we sell at www.lajamoteca.com is), it will NOT spoil: it may dry out after a period of time. How long? It really depends on a few factors: quality (defined by the amount of fat and the quality of that fat -defined, at the same time, by the pig’s feeding), where you place you ham (avoid high temps or direct sun light), or how to cover it (check below). But, generally speaking, it shouldn’t last less than 4-5 weeks.
2.- Does it require refrigeration?
Unless it’s boneless, do NOT place your bone in ham in the fridge, even if your fridge has the size of a 20’ container (and your home the size of a vessel). Spanish ham is cured for a minimum of 24 months (I mean…the good one!), which means it’s cured meat, with low water activity (no chance for bacteria to grow) and, therefore, shelf stable.
3.- Where should I place it?
In a place where you can see it! Because if you see it…you’ll eat it!
However, if you put it in a place not at sight or a place where it requires an effort to take it, you’ll forget it’s there and then, of course, you’ll not enjoy it!
Where do you place your food? Mostly in your kitchen, right? So don’t go further: that’s the place.
4.- How do I cover the ham?
Nature is unique and we should imitate it (not destroy it): if nature presents us the ham surrounded by its own fat…how do you think we should keep our jamon?
Ham has two enemies: light and oxygen. Light changes the color of our jamon, while oxygen dries it out. Our good ally, the fat, is opaque, so light doesn’t go through it, and it also maintains the meat hydrated. So, in this case, just follow what Nature does: it’s a safe bet.
5.- How many plates can I get?
It’s easy to calculate: if your ham is 16lbs, you’ll get around 55%-60% of meat (around 9-10lbs).
Shoulder or Paleta, since it’s smaller, it has a lower yield, around 45-50% (out of a 12lbs shoulder, you should get around 4-5lbs of meat.
6.- Do I need a special knife?
Yes and, if possible, long and flexible (and properly sharped, btw!
But, please, don’t go too fancy: nobody needs a $300 knife to carve ham – with $50-$75 you’ll get a very good knife (and invest the rest in your jamon!).
7.- I don’t like fat: should I buy jamon?
Yes, why not? But don’t buy Iberico ham: go for Serrano, which is leaner than Iberico (and cheaper). But please, don’t expect the same quality. Fat is what makes the difference in ham’s quality.
8.- What’s the difference between Serrano and Iberico?
The breed of pig and also the feeding:
Serrano: made from a white pig, usually farm raised, grain fed.
Iberico: different breed of pig (black in most cases). Free range (In some cases: Cebo de Campo), fed on grains or grasses.
When the Iberico pig is fed on acorns, we have the Bellota 100% Iberico: the very top of the line (and the fattiest one, too!).
These are the most common questions we find.
If you have any doubt and don’t find the answer here, don’t hesitate to reach us out! firstname.lastname@example.org