16 oct, 2020

Bellota ham is obtained from a pig that has only eaten acorns, true or false

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We have always thought that acorn hams come from Iberian pigs that have been fed only with acorns, but we must know that this is something materially impossible.

iberian bellota ham pig montanera

Like the rest of the fruits, the acorn comes from numerous species of trees, such as: oak, corks or gall oaks (all of the same family), has its own maturation period and it is only available after the flowering phase. It begins in spring, but may be extended until autumn. It will always depend on the weather and the rains of that particular year.


We must know that the acorn (the fruit) usually takes a long time to fall, and the best is that the animal eats it fresh and in its best conditions. That's why their pasture period matches with the time when acorns begin to fall, better known as Montanera. This period lasts between October and January approximately.

What is Montanera?

Montanera is the final phase of the Iberian pig breeding, in which they walk through the meadows, feeding naturally and getting fat before being slaughtered. In addition to the acorns, in the pastures pigs can find aromatic herbs, natural pastures and all kinds of foods providing Iberian pigs with a complete diet and such characteristic flavor.

The Iberian pig, fed on feed of natural origin, usually starts Montanera with 80-90 kilos of weight and during the time it grazes naturally, (about 4 months) it will reach 170- 180 kilos. Their daily diet will be based on about 8 kilos of acorn, but in addition they will also include 2-3 kilos of natural grasses and herbs.

So the answer is no, there are no acorn hams that come from pigs that eat only acorns, but yes, the fact that they include it in their diet is determining as it will directly affect the final quality of the piece.