5 things you didn’t know about Costco’s $550 ham

It takes a real ham enthusiast to know that the steep price of $549.99 is really a steal. This meat is so pricey because it comes from a rare breed of pig that’s raised only in Spain. The typical price point for a leg of Jamón Ibérico de Bellota ranges between $900 and $1,300. It’s even pricey on Amazon. Here are some more Costco shopping tips that will save you lots of money.

5 PHOTOS
All about Costco's $550 ham
See Gallery
All about Costco's $550 ham

$550 is actually a major deal

It takes a real ham enthusiast to know that the steep price of $549.99 is really a steal. This meat is so pricey because it comes from a rare breed of pig that’s raised only in Spain. The typical price point for a leg of Jamón Ibérico de Bellota ranges between $900 and $1,300. It’s even pricey on Amazon. Here are some more Costco shopping tips that will save you lots of money.

It's not just any pig 

To be considered Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, the pig must have at least one Iberian parent. Iberian pigs stand out from the average livestock because of the unique way their muscle absorbs fat to create an exquisite taste.

Iberian pigs are herbivores 

The idea that pigs eat only slop is pretty common, but to make Jamón Ibérico de Bellota, the pigs need a special diet. The de Bellota part of the name actually refers to the strict diet of acorns that Iberian pigs are fed. The diet is what makes the meat so rare and delicious! Find out what makes Costco’s $4.99 rotisserie chickens so good, too.

The Iberian pig is only found in Spain

Products made from Iberian pigs are only available in four areas of Spain: Huelva, Cáceres/Badajoz, Salamanca, and Córdoba. Iberian pigs are typically brought up in the high-altitude parts of these areas, as the environment is said to impact the meat’s flavor. Costco is not only saving us money, but also a long flight to Spain!

There's a cheaper option, too

If $500 is out of your price range but you’re still craving a taste of high society, don’t worry! Costco also provides a cheaper form of Jamón Ibérico called Jamón Ibérico de Cebo, which should cost you only $99. It’s also known for its great taste, providing luxury without breaking the bank! Next, find out the things you aren’t buying at Costco, but should.

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

The post 5 Things You Didn’t Know About Costco’s $550 Ham appeared first on Reader's Digest.

For a list of all the healthy eats nutritionists get at Costco, see the slide show below!

14 PHOTOS
Foods nutritionists always buy at Costco
See Gallery
Foods nutritionists always buy at Costco

Organic nut packets

For Sharon Zarabi, RD, program director of bariatric surgery at Lenox Hill Hospital, one of the best Costco finds is organic mixed nuts. "Nuts are packed with nutrients ranging from heart-healthy fats to fiber, which aids in digestion, and even more so proteins, which help you keep your hunger at bay," she says. She also loves portion controlled nuts from Costco because with nuts, "once you pop, you can't stop."

(Getty)

Kirkland Signature shelled pistachios

Another nutty favorite with dietitians is pistachios. Lauren Manaker, RD, and her family go through Costco's Kirkland brand like they're going out of style. Manaker says pistachios are an excellent source of protein, healthy fats, and nutrients like manganese and vitamin B6—but they are typically tedious to de-shell. That's what makes this Costco option so great. "These pistachios come pre-shelled, so adding it to anything is as simple as opening the bag," she says.

(Getty)

Wild Alaskan canned salmon

This canned fish is a favorite of Zarabi because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. But what's really special about this Costco option is that it's wild. "Most fish canned in the U.S. is farm raised," Zarabi says. "Wild salmon is higher in omega-3s than their counterparts and [they] also eat a more natural diet as they are free to roam the sea." Plus, fish is an excellent source of protein, which helps keep you full.

(Getty)

Single hummus packs

Costco sells single pack servings of non-GMO, organic hummus. Zarabi says that means they are made with the highest quality chickpeas. Really fresh hummus can go bad quickly once opened due to oxidation, so these single-servings are a money saver, too. Zarabi suggests swapping mayo for hummus or using it as a dip for fresh raw veggies. Here are 10 more things you never knew you could buy at Costco.

(Getty)

Kirkland Signature Three Berry Blend

This frozen bag is a blend of blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries. Zarabi loves this Costco item because it's convenient and full of vitamins, fibers, and antioxidants. "They are the perfect addition to smoothies, yogurts, or even my personal favorite, as a frozen treat for the summer," she says.

(Getty)


 

Smart for Life Cookies

For those who need something more starchy to satisfy their sweet-tooth, Zarabi recommends Smart for Life cookies from Costco. These are gluten-free, low in sugar, made with non-GMO ingredients, and clock in at only 100 calories. "The low sugar and high protein content will prevent spikes and crashes in your blood sugar levels, so you won't be craving a second cookie," Zarabi says. "You will satisfy that craving and be good to go."

Protein shakes

The specific brand at your Costco location may vary, but any of the low-carb shakes could be a good addition to your haul. And no, they aren't just for people who want to build muscle. It's actually a perfect on-the-go snack or breakfast for anyone who has a busy schedule. "This is an easy way to add to your regimen, as protein keeps you full and the low sugar content prevents that sugar addiction first thing in the morning," Zarabi says. "[The] best part is they don't need to be refrigerated until they are opened." Plus, they have a relatively long shelf life.

(Getty)

Organic Wholly Guacamole minis

Portion-controlled guacamole packs are a popular pick for Costco grocery hauls, too. Chelsey Amer, MS, RDN, CDN, a virtual dietitian based in NYC, says that Organic Wholly Guacamole minis are a good choice. "These individual packs of guacamole are a great on-the-go snack with whole grain crackers or sliced veggies," Amer says. "The slowly digested healthy fat from avocado will keep you full for hours." Check out all the things you can do (and buy) at Costco without a membership.

(Getty)

Comvita Manuka Honey 5+

Manuka honey is different from your average sweetener. Frances Largeman-Roth, RDN, and author of Eating in Color says this Costco pick has the three key markers that signify manuka honey: leptosperin, DHA, and methylglyoxal. Not to mention, this honey is also proven to help improve sleep, fight acne, and aid digestion, among other cures. "I take a spoonful of manuka daily and add an extra dose when I'm sick or dealing with allergies," Largeman-Roth says.

(Getty)

KIND protein bars

These protein bars are a staple snack for Amy Gorin, MS, RDN. "I love that Costco sells them in a 16-pack of the Crunchy Peanut Butter bars and White Chocolate Cinnamon Almond bars," she says. As a vegetarian, Gorin is always looking for great sources of plant-based protein, and up to two thirds of each bar's 12 grams of protein come from nuts. These bars also get bonus points for coming in a variety of flavorsand not using artificial ingredients, sweeteners, or sugar alcohols.

(Getty)

Kirkland Organic extra virgin olive oil

Finding a high-quality olive oil for a decent price isn't as tough as you might think. Kaleigh McMordie, MCN, RDN, of Lively Table says the Kirkland brand tastes wonderful and, at $16.99 for a two-liter bottle, it's a really good deal. "It's my favorite cooking oil because it provides healthy monounsaturated fat," McMordie says. "I go through tons in my house!" Here are more shopping perks only Costco members know about.

(Getty)

Garlic

McMordie also goes through garlic quickly. That's why she likes buying whole heads in bulk at Costco. "Fresh garlic is the ultimate flavor booster for cooking and contains the antioxidant allicin, which could help prevent damage from free radicals," McMordie says.

(Getty)

Moment RF

Grape tomatoes

Shelley A. Rale, MS, RDN, and her family never tire of these tiny tomatoes. They are the one thing that is always on her Costco list. "They are part of my husband's lunch, a quick snack for any time of day, easily added to a salad when we have one, or added to a cooked dish for dinner," she says. Not only are they filling, but Rale says they are a good source of vitamin C, antioxidants, and lycopene. Now that you've seen some of the best Costco purchases, make sure you know these things you should never buy from Costco.

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

Read Full Story

Sign up for the Best Bites by AOL newsletter to get the most delicious recipes and hottest food trends delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.