How to Slice and Store Jamón
Jamón is the culinary treasure of Spain. Spaniards enjoy more ham per person than anyone in the world. A whole jamón can be stored in your kitchen and used daily as tapas or in recipes. It is also a great conversation piece for parties and holiday gatherings.
Slicing Spanish Ham
To enjoy the flavor and authentic texture of a fine jamón, slice the ham with a long sharp knife in the following order: first the rump half (maza) which has the most meat and is the most tender, then the rump end (babilla) which is firmer and more cured, and lastly the end (punta). We recommend starting with the babilla since the maza will stay moist longer. Some parts of the ham will be much firmer and more intensely flavored than others depending on the thickness of the meat.
Remove the layer of fat from the top and the sides until the meat is exposed. Trim the fat as you slice. Cut small, very thin slices. Slice downwards with your free hand behind the knife.
Here is a video we made showing the proper method of carving a jamón: Slicing Video
Store bone-in jamón in a cool ventilated place, either in a holder or hung by the rope provided. Always cover the sliced area with plastic wrap to preserve freshness and moisture. The first slice should be discarded if the meat has been exposed for some time. A bone-in ham can last for weeks if properly cared for. Avoid exposure to insects or high temperatures.
Store your boneless jamón in the refrigerator, wrapped in plastic. Boneless hams can be divided into pieces, or can be sliced on an electrical slicer. Serve the jamón at room temperature.
Mold: A thin layer of mold may appear on whole hams. This penicillin-like mold is completely harmless. It can be removed with a clean, damp cloth or with a cloth and olive oil.
Small white spots: These are small "chalky" granules that form between the muscle fibers during the curing process. They vary in shape, size and location. They are amino acids found in aged meat and cheese products and are perfectly safe to eat.
Iridescent coloring: This coloring can be seen on the cut surface of the ham and in certain parts of the meat. It is insignificant as far as the quality of the ham is concerned.
Salt: Sometimes salt can crystallize on the surface of the ham in dry conditions. This inorganic salt does not affect the flavor of jamón and can be brushed or wiped away.
White film: This may be seen on the cut surface of whole or boneless hams. Simply slice off the section with the film and discard the discolored slice.
Fat: Whole hams are covered with a thick layer of fat, which protects the meat and helps it keep longer. Some areas are much dryer than others, and each part of the ham has a different texture and flavor.