Was bringen lange Heilungen zum Schinken?
In order for the ham to fully develop its aroma and flavour, it will need a slow, long and natural cured. Long curing times have a fundamental role on the quality, as it allows developing all its flavour and aroma at its most. That is to say, a long curing period a is one of the keys to get an excellent quality ham. That's why its importance.
During the maturation period, the ham gets its texture, flavour and aroma. That's why as more time as the ham has been cured, it have had more time to develop better its caracteristics.
There is no estandard curing time for hams and shoulders, as many factors influentiate it, like pig's breeding, weight of the piece or production area. Still, it is not possible to state that longuer curing time means better quality. Extremely long cured, finally affects negatively on its quality: ham will finally lose its properties, will be salted or will be hardened. That's why, it is essential to respect established curing times to get maximum quality hams, for example:
- According to the feeding pig, an ibérico bellota ham needs between 36 and 48 months to get its most, while for those Cebo de Campo, the maximum curying time is 28 months.
- According to the production area, curying time for Guijuelo hams is around 24 months, while for Jabugo hams is arouns 26 months and for Extremadura hams is around 20 months.
- Curing time in serrano hams determines quality too. If the curying time is around 9 months will be classified as "bodega", while if curing time is 12 months will be considered as Reserva and 15 months curying time will be considered Gran Reserva.
- Minimum curying time for ibérico hams is around 18 months and maximum is around 48 months (4 years). At this point, we are in a crucial moment for its quality: we ham a ham with an intense flavour, characteristic aroma and incredible flavour. Longer 48 months times, does not longuer guarantee this quality.
As we have seen, longer cured doesn't mean longuer quality as many different factors influentiates, reason why it is important to turn to iberico and serrano ham experts.