You've probably seen those white dots on slices of ham before, haven't you? Well, contrary to what is often believed, those marks are a sign of good quality.
But, Why does ham have white dots? Enrique Tomás is here to explain the reason in detail...
Let's dive in!
What Are the White Dots on Ham?
There are many myths surrounding ham, but without a doubt, one of the most important ones relates to the opinion about white dots. It is often thought that these are a sign that something is wrong with the ham, but nothing could be further from the truth! These marks signify that it is high-quality ham!
The white dots that accumulate and appear on ham slices form during the maturation of the Iberian ham and are a sign that the curing process has been carried out correctly.
These marks are tyrosine crystals, one of the twenty amino acids that make up proteins, and one of the properties of this substance is its low solubility. When the ham loses water, tyrosine doesn't disappear but rather regroups into white crystals, and these marks, as we've explained, are a sign that the curing process has been done correctly. Therefore, white dots are synonymous with optimal aging and the highest quality ham.
But, Is the appearance of ham the only myth? Certainly not. Let's explore other truths and falsehoods about Iberian ham.
Tyrosine Crystals in Ham
What Other Myths and Truths Are Associated with the Appearance of Ham?
If you're a passionate fan of cured ham, you've probably wondered, in addition to why ham has white dots, why it sometimes comes with slices that are exactly the same and other times not. The reason is quite simple. Some companies freeze it, mold it, and cut it into precisely the same-sized slices, perfect for sandwiches. But, is it recommended? No, and if you see cured ham with this appearance, be skeptical.
The curing process of ham requires a lot of care and dedication, resulting in meat full of aromas and nuances. Freezing it eliminates these characteristics, which is why our sliced packs, cut both by hand and by machine, contain similar but not identical slices because we never freeze the ham, preserving its unique qualities.
Just as there are no two identical people, there are no two identical hams! It's worth noting that although you can freeze ham, at Enrique Tomás, unlike other companies, we never do it to preserve the meat's characteristics and respect the work of our master ham craftsmen.
Therefore, you don't need to avoid ham with white dots; instead, you should steer clear of cured ham that is marketed with exactly identical slices.
Tyrosine Crystals in Ham
Thanks to these tips, you'll truly savor the authentic taste of ham! And if you want to experience quality and flavor, nothing beats 100% Iberian acorn-fed ham.
Which origin do you prefer, the mild flavor of Salamanca or the intense one of Huelva ham?