Serrano Ham

The bulk of ham produced in Spain is jamón serrano and whilst not as exciting (or expensive) as ibérico ham, there are some very fine serrano hams around. It comes from “white pigs”, usually duroc, landrace, or large white. They are grain-fed and usually slaughtered around eight months.

Serrano means from the mountains and the hams were traditionally cured in the cool mountain air prior to the introduction of modern chillers. To be classified as serrano ham, it has to meet the requirements of the Traditional Speciality Guaranteed (TSG) label. Some PDO hams, such as Teruel and Trévelez are known by the region of origin rather than the general term serrano.

The minimum curing period is seven months, but may be much longer. De Bodega is cured between 1o and 12 months, Reserva between 12 and 15 months and Gran Reserva for longer than 15 months. Sliced wafer-thin and served with good bread, it is the archetypal tapa, but is very versatile and can even be a component in cooked dishes. It is at its best freshly sliced from a whole ham, but the pre-sliced packs which are generally available are usually very good.