12 oct, 2021

How many types of Iberian ham are there?

En: Category 1 Golpear: 21126

As we have commented on previous posts, the classification of ham in Spain is given by the breed of the pig and the food it has had during its breeding. Depending on the breed of the pig, we distinguish between Iberian and Serrano hams: the first comes from Iberian pigs and the second, from white pigs.

types iberian serrano whole ham

How can we classify iberian hams?

Today, we will go deeper into those hams of Iberian breed to explain how many types of Iberian ham exist.

  • 100% Iberian ham: It comes from female and male pigs 100% Iberian breed. This means that they are inscribed as 100% Iberian in the breed book.

  • Iberian Ham: It comes from crossed pigs, in which at least one of the parents must be of Iberian breed. These hams should always be accompanied by the % of iberian breed, so that we know exactly the product we are buying.

For example, when we talk about a “75% Iberian” ham, we will be referring to a ham in which one of the parents is 100% Iberian and the other is a pig of another breed as for example Duroc.

In addition, you should know that, depending on the type of food, within the Iberian hams we differentiate between:

  • Bellota Ham: Iberian ham pigs has been raised freely in the pastures and during its last months (fattening period), has been fed with natural pastures and acorns.

  • Cebo de Campo Ham: The Iberian pig has been raised in freedom but acorns are not included in its diet, but natural pastures are included in the diet, as well as feeds based on cereals and legumes.

  • Cebo Ham: Iberian pigs are raised on farms. Their diet is reduced to feeds of cereals and legumes.

In the product labeling, both the breed and the type of food should appear. Anyway, to make the information even clearer, you can find the following seals:

  • Black, for 100% Iberian hams fed with bellotas.

  • Red, for hams with some percentage of Iberian breed, fed with acorns.

  • Green, for hams with percentage of Iberian, fed based on feeds and pastures.

  • White, for hams with a percentage of Iberian, fed with feeds.

Finally, although all Iberian hams are commonly known as pata negra, the reality is that a true "pata negra" is a ham that comes from a 100% Iberian pig and has been fed with acorns. This denomination is exclusively reserved for pigs that meet these requirements.

We hope to have clarified the concepts.

See you next time!