Jamón de Trevélez

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Jamón de Trevélez

Jamón de Trevélez are protected IGP hams from the east of the province of Granada in Andalucía, Spain, on the south face of the Sierra Nevada National Park, where factors such as altitude (more than 1 200 metres),vegetation, temperature and humidity combine to give the product the unique qualities which have traditionally characterised it. The area comprises the municipalities of Trevélez, Juviles, Busquístar, Pórtugos, La Tahá, Bubión, Capileira and Bérchules.

The rounded hams, which are covered with a rind and having the trotter attached, are cured for at least 7, 14, or 20 months depending on the fresh weight of the each ham. The meat is red and shiny when cut, with partial fat infiltration in the muscle tissue. It has a subtle taste, being barely salted. The fat has a greasy consistency and is shiny, yellowish-white and pleasant tasting.

The type of meat suited for the production of legs intended for processing into the ham is from pigs obtained from crosses of the breeds Landrace, Large White and Duroc-Jersey. The legs are taken from castrated males or females with a semi-membranous muscle pH of between 5.5 and 6.4. The pH is determined no less than 24 hours after the animal is slaughtered. The fresh weight of the leg must be more than 11.3 kg. The legs are always transported from the slaughterhouse to the drying and maturation premises in vehicles that comply with the relevant standards, so that on entry into the salting room the temperature at any point in the leg is between 1 and 4C.

Processing stages

  • Salting: The aim of salting is to impregnate the muscle tissue with salt to promote the subsequent drying of the ham and preserve it in perfect condition.
  • Washing: After salting, the meat is washed with fresh water to remove the salt deposits on the surface of the ham.
  • Post-salting: This stage takes place in a natural environment and is designed to slowly and gradually dry the ham to promote the uniform distribution of the salt within the muscle tissue of the meat.
  • Drying/Maturation: The meat, classified by weight, is transferred to the drying sheds where it is hung in conditions of natural temperature and humidity. During this whole process the hams must shrink by at least 35 % or be cured for at least 3 months more than the minimum laid down for each of the weight categories determined when the legs are received.

Jamón de Trevélez has been known in and linked to the high Alpujarra area for over 200 years. It features in numerous bibliographical references from the 19th century, the most noteworthy of which is the recognition of the quality of Jamón de Trevélez in 1862 by Queen Isabel II of Spain. Currently the area is home to many companies that have been specialising in making this type of ham for more than 50 years.

The ham owes its particular properties to the area in which it is produced. It is this combination of environment, climate and vegetation that promotes the development of a specific bacterium needed for the ham. Between 1 200 m and 1 900 m, the altitude at which Jamón de Trevélez is produced, is the area where the Sierra Nevada's holm oaks and its large number of indigenous plant species are found. As regards climate, the area between 1 200 m and the Sierra Nevada peaks is a cold zone which has plentiful snow in winter and is cool in summer.

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