There are still a few months until Christmas, but in supermarkets you can already find offers on Iberian ham legs. Specifically, the one that Mercadona sells for 99 euros has surprised. A very cheap price to carry the Iberian surname but that has an explanation.
The difference is in the percentage of Iberian breed and in the type of diet
The type of diet that the pigs have and the percentage of Iberian breed in their genetics are the two reasons that explain the price differences that may exist in products with the Iberian seal.
There are many agents in the sector who think that only pigs with 100% Iberian genetics and that have been raised in the pasture should carry the Iberian brand. However, under this denomination there are animals that are only 50% Iberian and that feed on animal feed. Thus, the cheapest Iberian hams on the market are those that come from pigs that reach an Iberian percentage of 50% and that have been fed with feed, that is, with bait. .
How to read the label of an Iberian ham
A. The seal system
To facilitate and give certainty when buying a leg of ham, the Government established a series of seals that according to their color indicate the percentage of race: 100%, 75% or 50% (the rest of the genetic load would be of the Duroc pigs). And the type of feeding: acorn, field bait or bait. The difference between field bait and bait is that the pigs of the first group feed on natural pastures, herbs and feed. The latter, meanwhile, only eat I think.
B. Price of sliced ham according to the seal
Black seal, 25 euros / 100 grams; red seal, 15 euros / 100 grams; green seal, 12 euros / 100 grams; white seal, 8.50 euros / 100 grams.
C. Differences at sight
- 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham : darker, wine-red meat, has very little grain and the white fat forms a kind of ‘Y’. The shaft is narrow and elongated and the body is also fine. The piece shines and oozes natural fat.
- Acorn-fed Iberian ham 50% or 75% crossed : the cane is coarser, it is not as long and the body is also coarser. The fat does not form a ‘Y’ and is distributed over the entire surface of the lean meat (red-pinkish in color) in the form of fine strands of white fat, in fact, the more pinkish and streaky this area is, the less pure the animal is. . Being fed with acorn, the natural fat is seen.
- Field bait ham or Iberian bait ham : It is also more corpulent and voluminous, it has small infiltrations, but the natural unctuousness is not appreciated because it has not eaten acorn.