The Spanish Ibérico Pig and the Bellota Ham

The Iberico Pig is a unique animal which is only found in the Iberian Peninsula (Spain). This animal enjoys a privileged live style in the Spanish Dehesas, where it is raised order to produce the exceptional Ibérico Hams which are known all over the world.

This video explains the whole process of raising this animals which is of major importance in order to obtain top quality Ibérico ham.
The Ibérico pig goes through different stages of fattening during its live. The first stage of course is the breastfeeding, this stage is very important and lasts until the pigs reach a weight close to 11kg.

The second stage of fattening follows in the grass lands of the Dehesas where the pigs fed with natural compound feed, grass and cereals until they reach a weight of approximately  50-60Kg.

Then we arrive to the key stage of fattening which is called “Montanera”, this  stage starts around October and finishes in January, during this stage the pigs eat mainly acorn. The large area of the Dehesas provide this animals with enough oak acorns to increase the weight of this animals to 150-165 kg, they can eat about 7kg per day.

To get the most out of the oak trees, there is a technique called “Vareado” (a person hitting the tree with a long stick) used to bring down the acorns so that the pigs can enjoy them freshly when fallen from the tree.

When the animals reach the desired weight and The “Montanera” period finishes, it is time for the slaughtering. At this stage the animals must meet a minimum of 14 months of live time, only so it is possible to get the best Ibérico ham.

Author: thespanishham

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