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Delicious Easter Ham

There is much speculation as to religious foundations for eating ham at Easter, but a more practical explanation has to do with curing meat before the invention of refrigeration. In the early history of the United Sates, pigs were slaughtered in the fall, allowing the ham to cure over the cold winter months. The meat was fully cured and ready for consumption just as the Easter season approached, and that is why ham was the meat of choice for Easter dinner. The tradition continues today, and that is why many people prepare ham for their Easter dinner.

There are basically two types of cured ham available at your local butcher or grocery store; dry-cured and wet-cured. Dry-cured hams are aged and dried, while wet-cured hams are usually brined by immersion or injection, and usually sold with their brine. Whatever kind of ham you choose to serve for your Easter dinner, here are some tips for serving delicious Easter ham:

  1. Select a ham large enough to feed everyone you've invited for Easter dinner. (A half-pound per person is sufficient.) Rinse the ham and then pat it dry.
  2. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  3. Place the ham on a rack in a roasting pan, fat side up. Score the top of the ham vertically and horizontally, until you've one-inch squares on top of the ham.
  4. At the corner of each square, place a whole clove. Make sure that you push the cloves into the ham securely.
  5. Bake the ham one hour for every two pounds of ham, and baste with a ham glaze halfway through cooking.
  6. To make a glaze, combine 1/4 cup of dark corn syrup, two cups of honey, and 2/3 cup of melted butter in a pan, and allow it to simmer on your stovetop. Glaze the ham every fifteen minutes during the last hour of cooking.
  7. During the last five minutes of cooking time, turn on the broiler portion of your oven so that it will caramelize the glaze on the ham.

If you choose to prepare your Easter ham in this fashion, it will rival the expensive spiral hams purchased at The Honey Baked Ham Company, and your dinner guests will hardly believe that you cooked the ham yourself. This type of ham also lends itself well for leftover sandwiches. If you choose to cook a bone-in ham, save the ham bone to flavor your next batch of pea soup!


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