The production of a jamón, sometimes can take as long as 5 years beginning from the attention and care needed to make them to grow strong and healthy, to the duration their legs are cured and preserved under very particular conditions and finishing with the last cut which revels jamón is ready to be consumed at its most perfect moment.
These are the main steps for the production of Jamon
During the Winter:
DESPIECE - A process of cutting the legs of the pig.
PERFILADO - When the legs are cut, they pass to “the outline” (perfilado in Spanish). This process eliminates the part of the skin and the part of the fatty layer just to give the jamón an usual cut and shape.
SANGRADO - Before the salting process, it needs to be ensured that the jamón has properly bleeded. This process (or in spanish) can be made by hand or by mechanical rolling pins and weights to massage the jamón. This process is also very important to avoid blood clots which can ruin the aesthetic, the smell, and the flavour of the jamón.
SALAZON - The only way to keep the leg in good condition after slaughtering is to cure it with marine salt. The time that the jamón usually stays in salt depends on its weight (average 1 day per kilo whether Jamon or Paletilla).
During the Spring and the Summer
LAVADO Y ASENTAMIENTO - A process of cleaning the jamón from the salt. This is made basically to remove the crust of salt which could complicate the drying and maturation process. The jamones are cleaned in big buckets of water where they are delicately brushed to avoid damages.
The pieces remain in a special cold storage for 2 months under 5 degrees and, maintained on 80% to 90% of humidity levels. Once asentamiento is done, the pieces are ready for Curación.
CURACION - The process of drying and maturation. A “Maestro Jamonero” takes charge of every detail in this process.
This basic step of curing is to allow the jamón to lose just the right amount of water until it begins to get the characteristic aroma that fills one’s nose when walking into jamón storage.
With the coming of Autumn
BODEGA - In this phase, the pieces will be transferred into the underground cellars with constant temperature and humidity. This is where all the pieces will be ageing until they get a perfect organoleptic quality.
After months or years depending on the quality of the piece
CALADO - A sensorial technique which, after piercing the jamón in some areas with a cow-bone made skewer or known as “cala. The “Maestro Jamonero” immediately smells it just to check if the jamón has the right aromas depending on its classification or kind.