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Preparing a Delicious Christmas Ham

December 17, 2014

416px-StateLibQld_1_110796_Advertisement_for_J._C._Hutton's_hamsFor many the meal of choice for Christmas is ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing, fresh hot rolls and a couple of side dishes. Ham is a dish that is reasonable in price, easy to prepare and good not only in the original meal but there are so many ways to use leftovers that you don’t have to worry too much about hearing groans of “ham again?!’

Ham is among the easiest of meals to prepare. It’s ideal for those who “can’t cook” as there is little preparation. Selection of a good ham means some basic decisions such as do you want a “fresh” or “green” ham that is untreated or do you prefer one that has been smoked or salted. “Country” ham is sometimes saltier than other types of ham due to this. In the 1930s, Pineapple Ham was advertised as a Christmas necessity.

Traditional means of preparing a ham involve a glaze. This is not difficult. Place the ham in a baking dish, then into a 350F oven. A basic rule of thumb for cooking is 20 minutes per pound. Use a meat thermometer in the thick part of the meat to insure it gets to 160F. Make sure this doesn’t touch the bone as it may then not give an accurate reading of temperature.

About an hour before it’s done take the ham out and with a sharp knife and “score” – slightly cut into – the meat. Combine a cup of brown sugar with a quarter cup of honey or maple syrup, and add two teaspoons dry mustard. Mix this together and spread over the ham. You can secure cloves in the ham as well as, if desired, pineapple rings secured with toothpicks to hold in place. Return to the oven for the last hour, insuring that it’s 160F when done.

Some cover in foil while others choose not to. I prefer just the honey/brown sugar or maple syrup as flavoring and it’s so easy to do. Today there are also processed “honey hams” but this basic recipe is tasty enough for holidays as well as Sunday dinner.

When everyone has had their fill cut the rest of the meat off the bone. Cube some and dice some and bag in zipper bags in 2 cup amounts. This can be frozen until needed or stored in the refrigerator until the next meal it’s needed for. Leftover ham is extremely versatile in casseroles,

You might find a particular favoring that you like that is perfect for ham – try it!

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