Laurie Black explains how to store the Christmas ham to ensure it remains moist and tasty!
Ham has its own little procedures for storage. As it is a cooked and cured meat, it will last for about two weeks if you treat it well.
The glaze on a ham will help keep the meat moist, but if you choose not to glaze, you might keep the rind attached at the shank end and then place it back over the meat for storing.
The best wrap for a cooked ham is a cotton or linen ham bag (avoid synthetic fabrics). The bag should be rinsed in about 2 cups water with 1 Tbsp vinegar added – I use boiling water and leave the bag in the mixture until it is cold – then wrung out. Place the ham on a large plate or tray and slide it into the bag.
Rinse the bag in fresh water and vinegar every three days. If you have two bags you can alternate them, washing and drying in between uses. A clean cotton tea towel or pillow slip will also be effective.
Keep your ham cool. As soon as it has cooled to room temperature after cooking, it should go into the fridge, and from then on it should only come out of the fridge for long enough to carve it, then be returned.
The coolest part of the fridge is usually at the bottom, but be careful about storing a ham here; it is very important that no drips from raw meat can land on the ham. Keep the ham one shelf above any raw meats.
Press a sheet of aluminium foil onto the top and cut surface of the ham to help keep the surface very cool in the fridge, then put the ham in its bag. Replace the foil every three days, too.
If you don’t have the fridge space, slice your ham, then freeze the meat in airtight containers, defrosting overnight in the fridge. Freeze the bone too, ready for a hearty autumn soup.
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This article is from the December, 2011 issue of Taste magazine. For more great food ideas, subscribe to Taste magazine.