HOW TO KNOW AND RECOGNISE teruel HAM
The 'Designation of Origin' Teruel Ham was born as a guarantee of excellence, quality and great taste, which probably coverted Teruel Ham into the richest in the world, and the province of Teruel into the largest manufacturer of ham products of exceptional quality. A lot of people presume to understand hams, however to recognise and select a good ham is not easy. If what you are looking for is a ham that ensures quality, good flavour, aroma and perfect curation and just the right amount of salt, a sure bet is 'Designation of Origin' Teruel Ham.
The features that clearly identify Teruel ham and distinguish it from other kinds of hams on the market are: According to its origin, cattle breed pigs from Landrace and Landrace White as the mother and a bred Duroc as the father, all of them of course being born in Teruel. With regards to the aspect of the ham, the best way to recognise a Teruel ham with D.O. is by its elongated form shaped and rounded at the edges, also it keeps the hoof and the entire crust, although sometimes we can find the crust with a V-cut. If we weigh the piece of Teruel ham, or we can have it weighed for us, it will never weigh less than 7 kilos, with between 8 and 9 kilos being the normal weight. On the back it will bear the emblem of the D.O. Teruel ham which is an eight-pointed star etched next to the word Teruel, and encircling the top of the hoof will be found a numbered band with the logo of the Control Board.
Star engraved on the crust of Teruel Ham D.O.
When it comes to selecting a ham, the first thing we need to do is think about how we're going to use it; whether or not it is for an important event or if it is for family consumption. If you're thinking about consuming the ham at home, choose a white pig Serrano ham from those born and bred in the Teruel province as the price is not too high and it's quality is suitable for its daily enjoyment, providing for our possible guests a pleasant taste with a juicy texture. If it's consumption will be slight, an iberic 'paletilla' (which is the front leg of the pig) could be sufficient, given that the taste is the same as that of normal ham; although there are some people who would deny it, the only differences are the proportion of bone and, of course, the price. Other people say that the summer is not a good season in which to buy ham, which is another false statement, as it is, on the contrary, one of the best seasons for buying ham, seeing as the temperature means that the ham loses part of its exterior fat which exudes making the meat much more juicy. We need to look carefully at the label that will indicate its 'Designation of Origin' and, if given the option to open it before buying, we should check that fat is not only on the side but that it is also infiltrated, which is a sign of long, slow curing. The smell of the ham should be deep but not strong, displaying sweet and savoury tones.
'Designation of Origin' Teruel Ham should not have irregularities, battered parts or mold, we can also look at its outer fat which should be yellow, bright and fresh. Hams that possess the 'Denomination of Origin' from Teruel aren't always found whole but they are also sold in other forms such as pieces or slices; these formats provide us with new possibilities and characterisitics which we need to observe carefully to make sure we are not mislead when purchasing this ham with 'Designation of Origin' from Teruel; firstly, the packaging should always have the emblem with the numeration of the Control Board of the Denomination, as this indicates that its source has been controlled, originating from the brand 'Designation of Origin' of Teruel; we can also note the aspect of the cuts of ham, that should be red in colour with the fat partially infiltrated in the muscle and the fat at the side of the slices should be a shiny yellowish-white colour.
In butchers and delicatessens we usually have the opportunity to acquire the ham in weight, also allowing us, in most cases, to try the ham that you want to buy before buying it; and it is here that we will be able to appreciate the main differences in Teruel ham as opposed to other types of hams: it's delicate flavour, slight salting, with its smooth aromatic fat and pleasant taste. Teruel ham with 'Denomination of Origin' has a superior price to other Serrano hams from White pigs with 'Denomination of Origin' because its certificate offers assurance that it comes from a specific breed of pigs, with a minimum weight that have been developed with more favorable weather in the mountains of Teruel and with a traditional method that has a minimum curing period; the combination of all these characteristics is what makes Teruel ham an exceptionally flavorsome ham, with clearly superior qualities to those of other hams, processed industrially and with specifications.
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