The pigs with Huelva serrano ham designation of origin feed in a habitat made of pastures, holm oaks and Portuguese oaks. Their acorns constitute the food for these pigs during some months before being slaughtered. The curing process is performed naturally and it lasts for 18 months.
The pigs feed themselves in areas with cork oaks and holm oaks
- Geography: this designation of origin is formed by Extremadura and Andalucía autonomous regions (Córdoba, Cádiz, Huelva, Sevilla and Málaga provincies). But the manufacture of these spanish serrano hams and picnic shoulders is done in Huelva, which is formed by the following municipalities: Alajar, Almonaster la Real, Aracena, Aroche, Arroyomolinos de León, Cala, Campofrío, Cañaveral de León, Castaño de Robledo, Corteconcepción, Cortegana, Cortelazor, Cumbres de Enmedio, Cumbres de San Bartolomé, Cumbres Mayores, Encinasola, Fuenteheridos, Galaroza, Granada de Riotinto, Higuera de la Sierra, Hinojales, Jabugo, Linares de la Sierra, Los Marines, La Nava, Puerto Moral, Rosal de la Frontera, Santa Ana la Real, Santa Olalla del Cala, Valdelarco and Zufre.
- Climate: The average temperature of the area is about 16º C. and the average annual rainfall is 700 mm.
- Classification: These pigs divide into three classes:
- The acorn and grass fed pigs, which initially weigh from 85 to 115 kg, and that later add some 50 or 55% more of their initial weight. But they must not weigh more than 180 kg.
- The fodder fed pigs must add to their weight at least 30% of their initial weight. During the last months of their life, these pigs are being fed with authorized fodder. They cannot weigh more than 180 Kg.
- Manufacture: the pigs are taken to the slaughterhouse where they relax for a while, in order to be slaughtered later. The first phase of their manufacture is the salting - the spanish serrano hams are covered with sea salt and placed in piles. This first step lasts according to the weight of the pieces, approximately one day per kilo. Once the salting days passed, the serrano hams are washed and outlined. Then, the pork pieces are taken to natural drying warehouses in order to perform the drying. The hams and the picnic shoulders stay in these drying warehouses for at least 6 months. Then they are taken to cellars, where the curing process is finished. The period of this manufacture is of approximately 18 months.
- It is elongated-shaped, it has a black or grey colour and the leg is pretty slim.
- The colour of the meat is pink shaded or even purple red, depending on the curing level.
- In these spanish serrano hams, when being cut, one could appreciate the fat streaks.
- The bacon may be white or yellowish, and it can even be a bit transparent. The fat uses to be quite glossy thanks to the low smelting point of the fat, due to the acorn.