Stages in the Curing Process


This may be the most important stage in the whole process, since the quality of certain hams lies solely in the greater or lesser action of the salt on them. The length of the salting period depends on the weight of the pieces; salting can be done;

• By rubbing with coarse salt (on both sides of the ham)

• By a mechanical process in drums

• In containers (this method guarantees greater control and hygiene).

• In piles: Piling up the pieces, surrounding and covering them with salt, and lastly stacking the hams up in layers (up to a maximum height of 6-7 layers.

Washing – Brushing

When the salting stage is over, the hams undergo a wash and brush using a mechanical method; with the aim of removing salt residues from the surface (since the ham has absorbed the amount of salt needed for its salting and curing).

Resting or Post-Salting

The purpose of this stage is to achieve a uniform distribution of salt inside the piece, to inhibit the growth of microorganisms, to produce the characteristic aroma and flavour and to drain off any remaining water (in this way the piece cures and reaches the required consistency).

Drying – Maturing

In this stage the long drawn out process of dehydration begins as well as the “sweating” or natural fusion of part of the fat from the adipose tissue. At this point desiccation is considered sufficient.

Aging or Refining

A process during which the ham is left to rest to ensure its quality.

Curing times

The length of a ham’s curing period depends on the weight of the piece; an estimated time could be:

• Salting – Washing – Brushing

• Resting or Post-Salting: > 60 days

• Drying – Maturing > 130 days

• Aging or Refining > 230 days

Once the curing process is finished the ham can be kept at room temperature.

Exhaustive quality and traceability controls; as well as the application of Incarlopsa’s advanced technology, guarantee the quality of all the cured pieces and of all the processes.