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Prosciutto vs. Iberico Ham: What's the Difference?





Prosciutto and Iberico ham are two types of cured meats that are popular in Italian and Spanish cuisine, respectively. While both meats are made from pork and have a similar texture and appearance, there are some key differences between the two.


Prosciutto is an Italian dry-cured ham that is made from the hind leg of a pig. The meat is salted and seasoned with a blend of herbs and spices before being left to dry cure for at least 12 months. The resulting meat is thinly sliced and has a delicate, sweet and nutty flavor. The most famous Prosciutto is Prosciutto di Parma, is known for its unique aroma, and is made from pigs fed on a special diet of wheat, barley and soybeans.


Iberico ham, on the other hand, is a Spanish cured meat made from the hind leg of the Iberico pig. The Iberico pig is a unique breed of pig that is found in Spain and Portugal and is known for its high level of fat content. The meat is salted and left to cure for a minimum of 12 months, but can be cured for up to 36 months. Iberico ham has a nutty, rich and slightly salty taste, and is usually served in thin slices. Because of the special diet of Iberico pig and special curing process, the meat has a distinct marbling and a high level of fat.


One major difference between the two meats is the way they are raised and the diet of the pigs. Prosciutto is typically made from pigs that are raised on a diet of wheat, barley, and soybeans, while Iberico pigs are raised on a diet of acorns and other natural forages. This difference in diet is reflected in the taste of the meat and in the fat content. The acorn-fed Iberico pig meat has a higher fat content and a distinct nutty flavor.


Another key difference between the two meats is the method of curing. While both meats are dry-cured, the curing process for Iberico ham is much more labor-intensive and traditional. The process involves rubbing the meat with salt and paprika, and then leaving it to cure in a cool, dark place for many months. Prosciutto curing process is more industrial and it happens in a controlled environment.


Finally, the way the meats are served is also different. Prosciutto is typically served as a starter or appetizer, often with melon or figs, while Iberico ham is more often served as part of a main course.


Ultimately

, Prosciutto and Iberico ham are both delicious cured meats that have a lot in common, but there are some key differences between them. From the pig breed and diet, to the curing process and taste, these meats are unique in their own ways and have a lot to offer for the meat lovers. Prosciutto is known for its sweet and nutty flavor, while Iberico ham has a nutty, rich and slightly salty taste, with a distinct marbling. Both of the meats are perfect for adding a touch of luxury to your meal, whether it be an appetizer or a main course.


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