El uso gastronómico del jamón

The gastronomic use of ham

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Ham is an essential product in Spanish gastronomy, and in recent years, it has become a global sensation. In Spanish households, it's very common to have a whole piece of ham at home and cut it day by day.

At the same time, it's an essential product for any special occasion. Having a whole ham at home is more common than it seems and is spreading to homes all over the world. In this post, we'll discuss the culinary use of ham and how to handle this product if you have it at home.


Ham in Spanish Gastronomy

It's an undeniable fact that ham is closely linked to Spanish gastronomy and culture. Many centuries have passed since ham became part of Spanish cuisine. Nowadays, it's one of the "delicacies" offered in almost every restaurant and bar throughout the country as a tapa. Of course, most Spaniards have this product at home. We'll now tell you the optimal way to consume it to enjoy its flavor, aroma, and texture to the fullest. Keep reading!


Culinary Use of Ham at Home

First of all, to consume ham, it's essential to have a perfect understanding of this product. At Enrique Tomás, we'll clear up any doubts. Then, factors such as consumption temperature, slicing, and storage need to be taken into account.


What Is Ham?

Ham is "the hind leg of the pig cured with salt and time." Crafting a ham can take up to five years of dedication, from caring for and raising healthy and strong pigs, to preserving under very specific conditions and curing. For this reason, it's a select and high-quality product. A food item that, as we say at Enrique Tomás, is not meant to satisfy hunger but to provide us with pleasure.


Consumption Temperature

When you acquire a whole ham, it's already at its optimal consumption point. But beware! You must consider that it's a cured meat; therefore, ham is a food that is eaten completely raw, without cooking or manipulating it.

The ideal consumption temperature for ham ranges from 20 to 25°C (68 to 77°F). If you have a whole piece, you can start slicing and consuming it directly. But if you have pre-sliced and vacuum-sealed ham in the refrigerator, keep in mind that you should take it out about 15-20 minutes in advance to reach the ideal temperature for consumption. A trick to know if it's reached the optimal temperature is that the slices separate more easily.


Frequently Asked Questions About Iberian HamFrequently Asked Questions About Iberian Ham


How to Consume Ham
How to Consume Ham


Slicing Ham

Slicing is another essential element to consider when you buy a whole ham. "Slicing ham" becomes a true ritual for some of those passionate about this product. Keep in mind that if you've never sliced Spanish ham or if you feel uncertain, you can choose from Enrique Tomás's pre-sliced products, which are of the same quality and are sliced and vacuum-sealed.

If, on the other hand, you're interested in learning, the first thing you need to know is that you need the basic tools for slicing: the ham holder, the ham knife, and the honing steel. From there, follow our tips through the blog: "How to Slice Ham", or learn from one of our tutorial videos.


Ham Preservation

If you have a whole piece that you haven't opened yet, hang it in a dark and cool place without the netting or the parchment paper. Remember that once it arrives at your home, it's at its optimal consumption point, so it's recommended to start consuming it as soon as possible.

Once opened, we recommend slicing a little bit every day to maintain its flavor, color, and texture over time. It's important that after finishing the slice, you do NOT cover the cut part with its own fat, but with transparent film or a clean lint-free cotton cloth until the next use.

In the case of pre-sliced and vacuum-sealed ham, our recommendation is to keep it refrigerated between 3 and 8°C (37 to 46°F). Once opened, the vacuum process has already been broken, so it's advisable to consume the ham as soon as you can.

If you follow these tips, you'll fully enjoy the intensity of the ham's flavor and aromas. For more information, check out our post: "Ham Preservation: Frequently Asked Questions."


Recipes with Ham

Although cooking ham is not optimal, it's possible to add it to your recipes in its natural state. We recommend adding it in the final steps as a topping or seasoning, whether in slices, small cubes, or shavings. This exquisite product will add extra value to your dishes, enhancing their flavor and intensity. In our blog, you'll find ideas for dishes and recipe suggestions of all kinds.

If you still have questions about the culinary use of ham, check out the "Ham FAQ", and you'll see how you become an expert on this product.


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