As a whole, the hind leg and shoulder cuts coming from pigs of the same montanera, and slaughtered during the same period. Each añada has its own characteristics and organoleptic qualities that make it unique.
Babilla or contramaza
The part of the ham with the least lean meat. It is visible and ready to be cut when the ham is placed with the hoof facing down.
A place whose temperature and humidity are constant all year long, where Iberico hind leg and shoulder hams hang to mature until ready for consumption.
Feed used as a basic diet and during the animals' finishing period. Any feed. Can also be used to refer to the finishing period, when the latter is based on a diet of commercial feed. Synonomous with "Campo" in the grading system for hams based on pigs' diet.
Macerated pork used in the production of sausages.
Pasture land in south-western Spain, where climate and vegetation provide an optimum habitat for the breeding of Iberian pigs to produce top quality spanish ham.
A long, flexible knife with a narrow blade, used to cut ham into very thin slices.
Iberian or Ibérico pig
An indigenous breed of pig of the southeastern Iberian peninsula, characterized by its excellent adaptation to the Dehesa, its capacity to store fat that marbles the flesh, and its long, slender legs.
Term used to designate ham as a generic, and to refer to porks' hind leg cuts ("jamones").
Part of the ham located between the tibia and fibula that is cut into small chunks so that its mellow flavour can be fully appreciated.
Veins of fat that penetrate the muscle tissue, giving mellowness to the ham; in "bellota" quality hams they include the volatile compounds from acorns that are acquired during maturation, giving the ham its final flavour and aroma.
A mixture of vinegar or wine with various spices and seasonings (paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, etc.) in which foods are soaked to enrich its flavour and preserve it. Marinated meat is meat prepared with a marinade.
The thicker end of the ham with the largest amount of lean meat, which is visible and ready to cut when the ham is placed with the hoof facing up.
The period from autumn to the end of winter during which Iberian pigs reach their final weight, on a diet of herbage and acorns of holm oaks, cork oaks and gall oaks of the dehesa woodland.
Refers to the properties that can be perceived by the senses: colour, texture, flavour and aroma.
Called matanza in Spanish (the word literally means "slaughter"). It is a tradition in which one or more pigs are butchered to make sausages for a family. It takes place once a year in the coldest months of winter.
Protected Designation of Origin/Denomination of Origin. PDO
A protected name under which products may be sold indicating that they meet well-defined criteria and come from a particular area. To qualify for PDO status pork products must meet specific requirements including breed, geographic area where they are produced, and preparation techniques.
Quality (bellota, recebo and campo)
The grading system for hind leg and shoulder hams from Iberian pigs of the Dehesa de Extremadura Designation of Origin is based on the pigs' diet during the finishing period in the "dehesa". Bellota: the animal enters the finishing period weighing 80-105 kilos and replaces about 60% of its entry weight on a diet of acorns and grasses. Recebo: the animal replaces about 30% of its entry weight on a diet of acorns and grasses, the remainder of its diet being natural feed authorized by the Producers' Association. Campo: the animal lives in the dehesa and consumes natural feed authorized by the Producers' Association, and herbage from the Dehesa pastureland.
Because of climatic variations the quantity of available acorns in the dehesa woodlands varies from year to year. The type and amount of acorns that pigs consume will determine the particular characteristics of that year (see: Añada). The Producers' Association of the Denomination of Origin publishes annual quality ratings and determines which hams will be included in the coveted Reserva (finest premium ham) category.
Secadero (natural drying area)
A place designed for the drying of Iberico (hind leg and shoulder) hams, in which ventilation is controlled only by opening and closing windows.
A cylindrical tool made of steel, with a handle, used to sharpen knives.
Dissemination of fat throughout the ham, visible in the form of tiny droplets that appear on the surface at ambient temperature. In "Bellota" grade hams this fat is characterized by its high oleic acid content.
The moment when the young of an animal ceases to suckle its mothers' milk.