What is marbling?
Many times we see white strips interspersed in the lain of the ham. This is what we would call the marbling or the grain of the ham.
Marbling, which is fat infiltrations among muscle fibers, gives juiciness and intensity of flavour and aroma to the product. This characteristic is one of the main distinctions of Iberian hams and 100% Duroc. This particularity is highly appreciated by consumers.
While in the Crossbred Iberian or in the 100% Duroc the grain is more generic and distributed, in Iberian hams with 100% purity (black seal) the grain is usually smaller and concentrates a large grain in the centre of the piece.
All of the 100% Iberian hams, the Crossbred Iberian and the 100% Duroc can be found in any of the Moniberic establishments.
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What are those white specks on the ham?
One of the things that usually draw people’s attention when enjoying ham is that sometimes some white specks in the cutting area or slices of ham can appear.
Many people think they are bits of salt, but it is not true. They are crystallizations of an aminoacid called Tyrosine. Tyrosine is one of the 20 aminoacids of which proteins are made .
White specks appear as a consequence of a long and slow curing process of hams, as for this circumstance to occur, time is required.
On the other hand, its absence does not imply that the process has not been carried out properly, as for they to appear, other factors must be taken into account, such as the PH of the ham, the degree of humidity or the temperature among others.
Two aspects to bear in mind:
- Although this fact is usually associated with Iberian hams due to their long cures, we can also find them in Crossbred hams.
- It is highly important not to confuse the word TIROSIN with THYROXINE, as the latest is written with X, which is a hormone produced in the thyroid and has nothing to do with ham.
So you know now what those white specks are!