• Decide what type of ham you want such as bone in or boneless, dry-cured or wet-cured. There are both ready-to-eat hams and fresh uncooked hams available.
• For fresh hams select one that has a well-marbled lean section with a firm white layer of fat on the outside. For cured and ready-to-eat hams choose one that is firm and plump, rosy pink with a fine grain to the meat.
• Avoid hams that have a greenish cast as this may indicate bacterial growth.
• Always read the label carefully for the expiry date and exact cooking instructions for packaged hams.
• Apply the glaze during the last 30 minutes of cooking the ham. It will add more flavor and a better look to the appearance.
• Most popular glaze ingredients for hams include sugar, honey, jam, marmalade and fruit. Other flavorings and seasonings used are mustard, vinegar, cloves, cinnamon, and ginger.
• If time permits, roast at a lower temperature as it will make the ham more moist and flavorful.
• Do not baste the ham with its own juices during the cooking process as it will make it overly salty.
• When placing a thermometer in the ham, ensure the stem is not touching a bone because this can result in a false reading.
• Avoid sharp utensils that may pierce the ham as it may result in juices to escape. Instead, use other utensils such as large tongs or spatulas for handling the ham.
• Before carving, let the ham rest for about 15 minutes to keep the meat firm.
Below are a few links for Central or Eastern European ham recipes. Happy Cooking!
Baked Fresh Ham (Russian) – Food Network
Easter Ham (Hungarian) – Budapest Tourist Guide
Easter Ham (Ukrainian) – Celnet Recipes
About the Author (Author Profile)
Suzanne Urpecz, creator and editor of The Hungarian Girl. Click on my About page for more info.