Differences between Spanish Serrano Ham and
Pata Negra Ham.

When we refer to Serrano Ham (Jamón Serrano) or Pata Negra Ham (Jamón Ibérico) we are talking about two very different products. The differences are obvious. Both coming from different breed, different nutrition and different process of elaboration. And that, when enjoying the aroma, texture and taste, it becomes evident. But still, many people can not distinguish one piece from another or use these terms indiscriminately.

Cured ham known as Serrano comes from white pig (not the Iberian pig) of the Duroc breeds, Landrace, Large White or Pietrain. They are usually raised in extensive method and its main food supply are compounds with a high percentage of cereals. It was and remains one of the most characteristic elements of Spanish cuisine, whose name, Jamón Serrano, is protected as a traditional specialty guaranteed by the European Union Regulation 2082/92.

The process of developing the Serrano Ham has not changed much over the years. It has three phases: salting, rest and drying. The duration of these phases determines its quality, flavor and characteristic aroma. His drying time lasts between 7 and 16 months, although in some exceptional cases reaches 24-25 months (Gran Reserva Serrano Ham).

The Pata Negra Ham (Jamón Ibérico) comes from Iberian pigs living in freedom during the fattening period in pasturelands and feed on acorns, herbs and occasionally other natural foods.

Both breeding and preparing of Iberian pieces require higher curing period than in the case of Serrano Ham.

The process of preparing the Pata Negra Ham distinguishes four phases: salting, washing, drying and ageing. The drying time of a Pata Negra Ham ranges between 14 and 36 months or more.

Since both products come from very different breeds, differences between the two products are easy to appreciate:

1.- Pata Negra Ham shows characteristic fat infiltrations that are known as marbling.

2.- Pata Negra Ham has an intense colour, reddish mahogany shades or vermilion, while the Serrano Ham is a duller hue, almost pink (except in Serrano Ham of Denomination of Origin Jamón de Trevélez and Jamón de Teruel where colour it can resemble a Pata Negra Ham).

3.- Pata Negra Ham has a brighter look and a more oily texture than the Serrano Ham.

4.- The aroma of Pata Negra Ham is much more intense than in the case of a Serrano Ham.

5.- The taste is more intense in the case of Pata Negra Ham, with a range of different nuances and more lasting taste.

6.- The flavour of the Serrano Ham, usually, is less intense and saltier.

7.- Pata Negra Ham may have small white spots (thyroxine crystallisation), they come from the elaboration process.


Recommendation 1: To know all about Serrano Ham Price

Recommendation 2: To know all about Conservation of Serrano Ham

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