The montanera of Iberian pigs is a crucial process in the production of Iberian ham, one of the most appreciated delicacies in Spanish and world gastronomy. But what is montanera and how does it influence the quality of the final product? Also, what are the natural environments where Iberian pigs live? In this article, we will answer these questions and delve into the fascinating world of Iberian pigs and their relationship with nature.
”Montanera” is the fattening period for Iberian pigs that occurs in the autumn and winter months, when the pigs graze freely in the pastures. These pastures are extensive areas of forests and pastures, typical of the Iberian Peninsula, where pigs find everything they need to feed in a natural and healthy way. The pastures are, therefore, the natural environment par excellence for Iberian pigs and one of the most valuable and biodiverse ecosystems in Europe.
The pastures are an example of the perfect symbiosis between human activity and nature. For centuries, humans have used these lands for livestock, agriculture and forestry, which has given rise to a series of unique landscapes and an extraordinary ecological balance. The pastures are home to numerous animal and plant species, many of them endemic to the Iberian Peninsula, such as the Iberian lynx, the imperial eagle, the black vulture or the holm oak. Furthermore, pastures play a crucial role in the fight against climate change, since forests act as carbon sinks and extensive livestock farming contributes to maintaining biodiversity and soil fertility.
In this privileged environment, Iberian pigs have a varied and balanced diet, composed mainly of acorns, herbs and other natural resources found in the pasture. The acorn is the main food of Iberian pigs during the montanera, since it is rich in monounsaturated fats, oleic acid and antioxidants, which gives the Iberian ham its characteristic flavor and aroma and healthy properties for human consumption.
But the montanera is not only a question of food, but also of physical exercise and freedom. During the montanera, the Iberian pigs graze freely in the pasture, which allows them to exercise their muscles and strengthen their legs and hooves. In addition, outdoor and group life contributes to reducing stress and improving the health of animals, which translates into superior quality of meat and Iberian ham.
In short, montanera is a natural and sustainable process that provides numerous benefits for both the Iberian pigs and the environment and the local economy, and is also a clear example of the close relationship between humans and nature.
Do you want to know how montanera tastes?