The natural heat contributes to the infiltration of fat and the distribution of flavours throughout an Acorn-Fed Ham
A few months ago we offered a post on the perfect temperature for consuming and conserving a FISAN Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham at home. Today, however, we are going to describe the importance of the summer period in the maturation of Acorn-Fed Ibérico Hams. As you already know, the fat on a good acorn-fed ham such as a FISAN ham contains close to 60% of oleic acid (just like olive oil). This fatty acid, apart from being healthy, has a melting temperature of 16.3 ºC. Hence, when the heat comes along, in some of FISAN’s natural cellars we can see how the hams “sweat” and start dripping, as you can observe in the photograph.
During the hot hours of the day the ham’s fat “melts” and, apart from dripping, it also gives rise to infiltration towards the inside of the ham, integrating with its meat. At night time the process slows down as the temperature drops and the infiltrated fat settles inside the muscle bundles. It is precisely during this process that the ham’s organoleptic flavours and nuances are distributed throughout its interior, combining and mutually accentuating the flavours.
The dripping, which only represents the outer image of the process, also helps us explain how the flavours are dispersed in the Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham. Since the leg of ham is always hanging with the hoof looking upwards, the flavours are transported through the liquid oleic acid towards the bottom, hence the further away from the hoof the more intense the flavours are. This is the reason why the experts consider the point end to be the area of the ham that concentrates all the flavours that are present in the haunch.
In Guijuelo, due to its microclimate that is influenced by the Gredos, Béjar and Francia Sierras, the summers are short and intense with temperatures that are never too high. Thus the reason why every single day is important so that we can take advantage of this amazing phenomenon. During their curing process FISAN Acorn-Fed Ibérico Hams go through this procedure at least three times, distributing the flavour achieved in its maturation during the long winter spent in the cellar throughout the entire anatomy of the ham. And in some FISAN Gran Reserva hams this process may take up to five years!
So do not doubt that this phenomenon, far from being a defect, is actually an essential part of the maturation process of a FISAN Acorn-Fed Ibérico Ham and one of the key reasons why its flavour is unique and why no other ham in the whole wide world can boast the same quality as the FISAN Ham.