Hailing from Spain, this ham comes from the hind leg of white Spanish pigs and is dry-cured for 7 to 13 months. In Spain it's known as Jamón Serrano ("mountain ham")jamón means "ham," serrano refers to the sierra, or mountains. The name comes from the traditional practice of curing these hams in mountain drying sheds, though today this primarily is done in modern plants that duplicate the atmospheric conditions of the old sheds. Produced throughout Spain, a country in which ham is highly regarded, the high-quality Serrano ham is similar to prosciutto. Spaniards, however, feel their highest quality ham comes from Iberian or Ibérico pigs (iberico ham). Serrano ham is sometimes labeled as Jamón Reserva, Jamón Curado and Jamón Extra, but such names don't seem to have any official significance regarding handling or aging.
From The Food Lover's Companion, Fourth edition by Sharon Tyler Herbst and Ron Herbst. Copyright © 2007, 2001, 1995, 1990 by Barron's Educational Series, Inc.