Do you know what Iberian pigs are really fed? When you see on the label of Iberian ham "Bellota", "Cebo de Campo" or "Cebo", it is giving you information about the type of feed that the pig has been fed throughout its life and it is regulated by a quality regulation, specifically by a Royal Decree to guarantee the quality of Iberico ham, pork shoulder and pork loin.
Types of Iberian ham according to the diet
It is very easy to know what type of Iberian ham you are buying, and all the information is not only in the name of the product, but also in the identifying colour label that all Iberian ham must have around its leg.
If you want to know more about the colours of the labels of Iberico Spanish hams, I explain everything in this article.
There are only three types of feed for Iberian pigs, regardless of the purity of the breed; whether 100%, 75% or 50% Iberian and they are as follows:
- Pigs fed on acorns (Iberico Bellota Ham)
- Pigs fed on wild grass and pasture (Iberico Cebo de Campo Ham)
- Pigs fed exclusively on cereals (Iberico Cebo Ham)
Feeding of the acorn-fed Iberian Pig
From these pigs we obtain the 100% Iberico de bellota jamon or pata negra and the Iberian acorn-fed ham (50%-75% Iberian breed), with a black and red label respectively.
These Spanish pigs are reared throughout their lives in extensive fields, the so-called dehesas, a Mediterranean forest ecosystem made up of grassland with herbaceous species, holm oaks and cork oaks, which produce acorns and are used for grazing cattle, goats and sheep.
Although they live in the wild all their lives, they only feed solely and exclusively on acorns when they are available, from October to February/March, the "montanera" season; the rest of the year they must feed on cereals.
Feeding of the Iberian Cebo de Campo Pig
Cebo de Campo iberico ham are obtained from these pigs, which can be 50%, 75% and 100% Iberian breed, although most of them are 50%.
Like the above, they are reared in the wild in the pastures throughout their lives and have access to wild grasses, but are not fed acorns. If the acorn season has been abundant, they can have access to acorns.
The Iberian ham obtained from these pigs is of very high quality and the price is much lower than that of bellota Iberian ham.
The colour of the label around the hoof is green.
Feeding of the Cebo Ibérico pig
Although they produce a good quality Iberian hams. They are in a lower range than the previous ones and their price is even half that of acorn-fed Iberico hams, as they are farmed intensively, in farms, and only feed on cereals.
Logically, their meat has less nuances of flavour, smell and texture, as they are not in the open air where they can exercise and their diet does not include wild grass.
The colour of the label certifying that it is an Iberian cebo ham is white.
In our online Spanish ham store, you have at your disposal both hams and shoulders of acorn-fed, cebo de campo and cebo, as well as serrano ham, both in whole formats with leg and boneless and sliced.