Production process of Serrano ham
The production process of Serrano ham and its cured process depend on the raw material, that is, on the Iberian pig. The Iberian pig must have certificate quality because there are different regulations regarding the Iberian pig’s byproducts because of its price and its quality. Depending on the quantity of fat that the Iberian pig has, the quality is higher or lower. The Iberian pig is classified according to its weight and its quantity of grass.
There are different stages in the production process of the Iberian ham:
Washing and salting process
When the Iberian pig is sacrificed, the Iberian ham is covered with salt for 7-10 days, depending on the weight. The temperature of the industrial warehouses varies between 1º and 5º C and the humidity between 80 and 90%. After these days, the pieces of ham are washed to remove the salt.
When the pieces of ham are washed, they stay inside a warehouse where the temperature varies between 3º and 6º C and the humidity between 80-90 % for 30-60 days. During these days, the salt distributes evenly over the entire piece of ham so it favours its conservation and drying.
Drying and maturation
Iberian ham is moved into a curing room where the temperature and the humidity are controlled by a ventilation mechanism. The drying stage lasts between 6-9 months. Iberian ham continues drying but it also starts the sweaty stage. The sweaty stage means that the fat distributes among the muscle fibers which favours to the smell of the ham. The flavor and aroma of the Iberian ham are generated because of the protein and fat’s alterations.
After the 3 previous stages, the Iberian ham are hanging inside warehouses for 6-30 months. The temperature varies between 10º and 20º C and the humidity between 60-80 %. During this stage concludes the maturation process of the Iberian ham.
When the Iberian ham is ready to be sold, some qualified inspectors select some of them to see their characteristics and to verify if they meet the requirements to be a high-quality product. Finally, they are labelled.