Friday, 20 January 2012

HOW TO IDENTIFY A HAM WITH "JAMON DE TERUEL" DESIGNATION OF ORIGIN.

Check to see if the hoof is on the ham, the skin has the 8-point star and the word TERUEL heat-branded onto it, and that the band round the hoof has the registry number and stamp of the Regulatory Committee of JAMÓN DE TERUEL.
Don’t buy a pig in a poke! To identify a Jamón de Teruel  P.D.O  ham, check the three signs of its identity:
1. The rind or skin of the ham must bear the 8-point star and the word TERUEL burned into it.
2. A whole ham must always have its hoof. The Regulatory Committee cuts the hoof off all the rejected hams which do not meet the required standards: weight, marbling, months of curing, etc.


3. The hoof must have the band with the registry number and stamp of the Regulatory Committee of the Designation of Origin. This is the product’s ID card, which lets us identify the pig it came from, the farm it was raised on, the abattoir where it was slaughtered, the drying shed where the ham was cured, andother information.
If you buy the ham sliced rather than whole, check that the tray is labelled with the Jamón de Teruel logo.
We need to know how to distinguish a “Jamón de Teruel  P.D.O” from any cured ham from the province of Teruel. Don’t be fooled. Unlike other hams, “Jamón de Teruel P.D.O.” has gone through the strict quality checks established by the Regulatory Committee.
There are many differences between them. First, the whole process of a “Jamón de Teruel  P.D.O” has taken place in the province of Teruel. The pig was born, raised and slaughtered in Teruel, and of course, the ham was cured in one of the province’s 53 drying houses registered with the Regulatory Committee.  In this way the Regulatory committee is able to monitor every aspect of the product and provide complete traceability. None of this information is available for a ham which does not have the Denomination of Origin. Only 1 in 8 hams cured in the province of Teruel is “Jamón de Teruel P.D.O”.
The type of pigs used for Denomination of Origin “Jamón de Teruel  P.D.O ” hams are always from crosses between the breeds Landrace (standard type) and Large White, on the maternal line, and Duroc for the paternal line. This cross produces an exquisite ham, low in salt, high in proteins and low in cholesterol.
Another requirement of the Regulatory Committee is that the drying houses in the province of Teruel must be at least 800 metres above sea level. Teruel hams must be cured for at least fourteen months, although most industrial producers bring hams to the market after a longer curing time, to give the product more flavour and aroma.
After production, the inspectors of the Regulatory Committee of Denomination of Origin check each ham and certify them as suitable for the Designation of Origin with a numbered band and an eight-point star heat-branded onto the skin, with the word Teruel to signify its quality.
Take all these recommendations into account when buying a “Jamón de Teruel P.D.O” ham, and if you want a top quality product, be sure to insist on “Jamón de Teruel P.D.O”, or in other words, ham with a Protected Designation of Origin.

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