Why Is It Called Serrano Ham?

Serrano ham is a very common product and is almost always present in the refrigerators of the Spanish population. We discover a little more about it through the origin of its characteristic name.

When we say ‘serrano ham’ we are referring to that tasty product obtained from the pig and which provides so many joyful gastronomic moments. The name ‘serrano’ arises because it is usually cured in the dry and cold climate of the mountain ranges, in this natural environment the traditional process of salting, drying, and maturing takes place.

The name comes from the orographic and climatic characteristics of the most appropriate place to cure hams, the mountains, and their rigorous temperature. A space in which the absence of humidity stands out. The curing process is a task full of craftsmanship and tradition in which master craftsmen maintain and develop ancestral arts that have always been practiced in the depths of the Spanish mountain ranges where the exact conditions of temperature and dryness that hams require to become a splendid product are given.

Depending on their origin and the months of curing, they receive different qualifications, and there are three qualities depending on the production process: cellar ham, which is cured for 9 to 12 months; reserve ham, which is cured for 12 to 15 months; and finally, grand reserve ham, a product that is cured for more than 15 months.

Pork and, in addition, ham have been part of our historical, cultural, and gastronomic heritage for centuries. Since Roman times, ham production has been an institutionalised and regulated task, in which certain deadlines were followed for the correct curing of the ham. As time went by, production moved from one region to another on the peninsula until it reached the mountains and settled in specific geographical points that were more suitable for curing pork products.

Serrano ham comes from two different designations of origin, ham from Teruel, the province of Aragon that first obtained the distinctive seal of the designation of origin for the production of ham, and ham from Trevelez, a product whose production is based in the Alpujarra of Granada, a dry and high terrain ideal for hams to be cured naturally and for their meat to reach the mandatory quality standards.

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