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Poultry preserves. Juan Manuel Sanz / © ICEX

Poultry preserves. Juan Manuel Sanz / © ICEX

Spanish Preserved Meat

Quality Meat for Keeps

Since time immemorial, man has endeavored to preserve food. Before the discovery of preserves, the main methods used in Spain were salting, immersion in animal fat or olive oil, and pickling, giving rise to some of the jewels of Spanish gastronomy such as cured ham, pickle sauce (escabeche) and salt fish.

Today Spain is one of the world's main producers of preserves, many of which are highly esteemed as gourmet products. All sorts of foods are preserved in Spain in cans or glass jars, sometimes using prime ingredients - the best fish and shellfish, prime vegetables, a variety of select fruit, as well as pulses and excellent meat products.

Many traditional meat dishes are preserved, especially those requiring complex preparation or long cooking times, such as the typical Madrid-style tripes, and game dishes such as partridge in sauce or quails in a pickle sauce.

Meat and pulse dishes are often to be found in their canned versions in Spanish homes, such as the famous fabada asturiana (a bean stew made with Asturian fabes, chorizo, black pudding and pork fat), Rioja-style lentils with chorizo, and beans with pig's ear.

Some traditional Spanish pâtés are also sold as preserves. One such is morteruelo from Cuenca (Castile-La Mancha), made from pig's liver cooked with hare, partridge, rabbit, ham, pig's liver, spices and rustic bread and crushed to form a paste.

In Catalonia, the Basque Country and Navarre, many preserves are made in the French style - duck, foie gras, patés and confits - the result of their proximity to France.

List of food stores in Spain

List of food stores around the world


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Rank of Spain in worldwide trade

3rd (only referred to pâtés and foie-gras),

Total production
YearVolume (tons)*
2012 66,351 
201159,445
201058,443
200962,550
200865,225

(*)General figures N.A., cited figures refer only to pâtés.
Export Share/Total Production (average for the last three years)
1.6%
Spanish Companies (approx. no.)

17 (Source: Alimarket)

Spanish exporters

Do you want to find Spanish meat preserves export companies? Take a look at our Spanish companies search engine.

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