When it comes to food from Spain, there is nothing more classical than Spanish ham (jamón). Take it from someone who eats very little red meat, Spanish hams are nothing short of magnifico! And, they are not even remotely related to any ham we have in the US. This is because the process of producing ham in Spain is very different. It’s not only lengthy (can take up to three years), but there are technical differences such as labor- intensive traditional curing methods which have been handed down from generation to generation.
Spain’s connection to pork can be traced back to its rural past. Pigs were extremely important in country villages….so important that they could literally determine the fate of poor farming families. Once the pig was ready for butchering, not one part of it could be wasted. Refrigeration only came into being in the late 17th century; prior to that Spaniards had to have a way of preserving meat from ruin. Out of necessity began the process of curing ham and this very method is still used today.